Joe Biden issued a new Executive Order on July 9, 2021, aimed at curtailing the skyrocketing transportation costs weighing heavily on manufacturers and retailers. Many organizations such as the National Retail Federation and American Apparel & Footwear Association have asked the White House to address the strain on supply chains. For example, the cost of transporting one shipping container has risen 195% in the past year and that is coupled with new fees and surcharges.
While the transportation industry is one of the more volatile industries, most experts can offer up a detailed 3-month forecast, an approximate 6-month forecast, and a hypothetical 12-month forecast. What many are saying for the remainder of 2021 and even into 2022 is the annual trends we have long witnessed are no longer valid. The question being pondered is, ‘can there be a peak season if the entire industry is already sitting in critical status?” The economy has the throttle set too high in nearly every industry and they all need freight moved. For months we have witnessed a surge in shipping that has remained at the highest level and that surge is expected to remain through all of summer, the fall, and into 2022. If the surge never subsides, how can one measure the peak seasons?
- Chinese New Year:
The annual holiday for many Asian countries will come later than it usually does, but even in times for Covid-19 it will have a major impact on manufacturing and production. Any supply chain that includes countries celebrating Chinese New Year will experience a shutdown of some kind during this period. The holiday officially runs from February 11th to February 26th this year. Shutdowns begin a week before the two-week long holiday and production will return to current levels by the end of February.
With 2021 right around the corner, most shippers are still fully-engaged in trying to finish out 2020’s shipping needs as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. Everyone has done the best they can weathering the freight storm of 2020, but many are wondering if 2021 will bring that much relief or be as volatile as the past 10 months. We at M&A don’t have a crystal ball telling us exactly what 2021 will bring, but we do have a fair forecast of what to look out for in the next year.
Beyond almost every prediction, COVID cases continue to rise as we enter late November, further hindering the economic recovery and reprieve that the logistics industry desperately needs. Even though the economy is trending upward, most companies are still reeling from supply chain disruptions. The coming of Peak Season likely brings a demand increase as much as 50% compared to 2019, which will result in increased rates and transit.