Port Congestion, Diesel Prices, Shanghai Reopens…Pointing to More Supply Chain Volatility

As sunshine pours through open windows and AC units begin to run, it's clear that summer has hit the United States. While the summer brings many personal opportunities, the travel and produce peak season presents its own logistics challenges. Stay in touch with the supply chain trends of this summer with the following updates.

Record-High Trucking Employment Levels Reported in May

Despite the remaining "help wanted" signs across the supply chain sector, the national numbers are singing a different tune. According to the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (June 3, 2022), May's data reflected a monthly increase of 13,300 jobs, continuing a trend that has seen significant increases in three of the past four months. FreightWaves said that "total employment in truck transportation has risen every month since the almost 80,000-job plunge in April 2020, the first month of the pandemic."

Terminal Congestion Threatens The Start of Peak Season

As financial splurges and summer splashes play across social media posts, it's clear that peak season is in full swing. However, not everything is all fun and games. A June 3 article from Splash247.com revealed that Kuehne + Nagel's seaexplorer ocean freight platform shows that "while congestion is better than it was compared to year-end, it has been getting worse over the past fortnight." Every angle of the supply chain will likely feel the impacts of the port congestion, with global TEU wait times at over nine times the desired amount. Shippers should expect peak season surcharges until the international TWD rates decrease to below one million TWD.

Subtle Diesel Price Decreases Encourage Truckers Across the Nation

On May 30, 2022, the EIA reported a new national on-highway diesel average of a nationwide average of $5.539. Despite the drastic comparison between this price and years past, many are relieved at this number as it represents a third week-to-week decrease in national average pricing since reaching an all-time high on May 9, 2022, at $5.623 per gallon. Transport Topics noted that "The national average price for gasoline, on the other hand, jumped 10.2 cents a gallon to $4.593, as costs increased in every region. The West Coast, less California, saw the biggest increase at 14.7 cents to $5.038."

Department of Energy Announces Investment in Biofuel Production

With lowering diesel prices still higher than most would prefer, many have had their eyes on biofuel, including the Department of Energy (DOE). Transportation Today described the DOE's affirmed interest in a net-zero economy with a $59 million pledge to hasten the production of biofuels to bring sustainable options for "hard-to-decarbonize sectors." It is no surprise that these sectors are primarily found within the supply chain industry, as transportation remains one of the most complicated areas to reduce emissions.

Shanghai Emerges Hesitantly After Extended Lockdown

China's largest city is back to life after two months of a strict COVID lockdown that kept streets and ports empty. While reuniting with family and returning to shopping and work routines provides relief to the city's 25 million residents, some remain wary of potential outbreaks that would force another strict isolation.

Looking at the May factory data, Reuters reported that "the world's second-largest economy shrank less sharply in May as some production resumed, but it was still the second-sharpest monthly slump since February 2020, in the initial stages of the COVID pandemic." Time will tell how long the country will uphold its zero-covid strategy as the rest of the world moves on to cohabitating with the virus.

Optimize Your Operations With The Big Picture Perspective Provided By A Business Intelligence Partner

As employees take advantage of their vacation time to enjoy the sun, supply chain decision-makers must maintain a big picture strategy through the busyness of the travel and produce peak season. By prioritizing actionable analytics, shipping managers can ensure their freight accounting is in good standing amidst the many changing hands across the vacation season. Intelligent Audit can provide business logistics tools and an experienced freight auditing team to make peak season your best season. Start a conversation with Intelligent Audit today to learn more.

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