Today is Happy Friday – because every Friday is a happy day. Did you know that ARC’s Digital Transformation Forum is less than 3 months away? This 26th Annual ARC Industry Forum will be a hybrid event, in person in Orlando, Florida on February 14-17 and online March 7-10. Last year’s supply chain program include two days of sessions by practitioners – executives from companies like Ahold Delhaize, AGCO, and Radwell International– on the real-world problems associated with the digital transformations they have gone through and continue to go through. Please reach out Conrad Hanf (Chanf@arcweb.com) to learn more about attending, speaking, or even sponsoring the event. And now on to this week’s logistics news.
The UN Conference on Trade and Development released a report that states “the current surge in container freight rates, if sustained, could increase global import price levels by 11% and consumer price levels by 1.5% between now and 2023.” Such high import price levels certainly have the potential to incentivize alternative supply chain strategies at the corporate level. At the same time, a 1.5% increase in consumer prices driven by container rates is significant and could indicate a substantial drag on economic growth.
The automotive supply chain has been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. And semiconductors are the most notable bottleneck in these supply chains. GlobalFoundries and Ford announced a partnership this week to create further semiconductor supply for Ford’s current vehicle lineup and cooperate on research and development going forward. Jim Farley, Ford president and CEO, stated “It’s critical that we create new ways of working with suppliers to give Ford – and America – greater independence in delivering the technologies and features our customers will most value in the future.“ It’s no surprise that Ford is taking more aggressive steps to secure the critical parts within its vehicle supply chains. I am unsure about the short-term impacts of the agreement, as foundries take large amounts of capital investment and substantial lead times to expand capacity. But it is a positive sign for the more distant future.
BrightDrop, a new General Motors business focused on electric delivery vehicles, announced that Merchants Fleet plans to expand its purchase to 18,000 BrightDrop electric vehicles. The expanded plan includes 5,400 EV410s, a mid-size electric light commercial vehicle. The EV410 has an estimated range of 250 miles on a full charge and is considered well-suited for smaller payload deliveries or as a last-mile or traditional service vehicle. Merchants Fleet is a privately-held, New Hampshire-based fleet management and fleet leasing solutions company.
SVT Robotics, the developer of the SOFTBOT Platform for rapid deployment of enterprise robot technology, announced that it closed a $25 million Series A round of funding. SVT Robotics has announced pre-built connectors and partnerships including Blue Yonder WMS, Voodoo Robotics pick-to-light, and Vidir Vertical Lift Solutions.
The Port of Los Angeles processed 902,644 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) in October. There has also been a 31% reduction in the number of import containers on Port of Los Angeles marine terminals. Meanwhile, import containers dwelling nine days or more has declined by 35%. October 2021. As of November 18, the Port of LA reported 36 container vessels at anchor/drifting.
British Columbia has experienced days of torrential rain that has cut off traffic at Canada’s busiest port in Vancouver. Flooding has impeded rail service and roads to and from the Port of Vancouver. Extensive infrastructure damage has been reported, such as parts of highways falling into rushing water. Canada Pacific reported that its track remains closed about 100 miles east of Vancouver. The Port of Vancouver update for November 18 stated, “Rail lines between Kamloops and Vancouver remain closed as both CN and CP crews and engineering teams continue to clear debris and conduct repairs at multiple locations.”
That’s all for this week. Enjoy the weekend and the song of the week, Feel it Still by Portugal. The Man