Summer’s end appears to be just the beginning of another rash of trade disruptions from Asia to the U.S. and Europe.
The mood among the shippers of ocean freight was summed up Tuesday by Richard Hayne, the CEO of retailer Urban Outfitters: “Our biggest concern right now is actually getting the inventory, not when it’s going to come in or how much it’s going to cost.”
He explained on an conference call that the company has “a lot of product” in Vietnam and is “doing whatever we can to get it in, whenever we can” to pad inventories ahead of the holidays.
With seaborne trade lanes facing port delays and soaring rates, the Philadelphia-based store chain is importing most of its apparel by a much more costly mode of transport — air cargo. “So that’s all going to impact margins,” Hayne said. “Bringing the inventory in as quickly as we can is the most prudent thing to do right now.”
But even freighters can’t avoid pandemic-related snarls. Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport reportedly closed a terminal as officials deal with Covid outbreaks among crews.
Here’s a rundown of some of the other logistics logjams making headlines:
—Brendan Murray in London
U.S. demand for Taiwan's goods soars
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Taiwan’s soaring trade surplus means it is likely to stay on the U.S. Treasury’s foreign exchange watchlist when the next report is released, continuing the scrutiny on the island’s currency policy. The U.S. decided not to designate Taiwan as a currency manipulator in the April report, even though its trade and current account surpluses and intervention in currency markets meant it met the thresholds for that label. Since then, the imbalances have only intensified.
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