Container Ship near the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge

Ocean Freight Rates from China to US Have Tripled Compared To Last Year

Due to current backlogs as a result of the pandemic, space on container ships from Asia to the US is extremely tight and rates have gone through the roof. Booking space is even more problematic and could easily take 4-6 weeks to get a booking. As a result of the high demand and tight space, eastbound transpacific ocean freight rates are now more than 3 times higher than the same period last year.

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An office chair on top and on bottom, red background. Text reads: "Herman Miller + Knoll"

Paradigm Shifts Evolving In The Office Furniture Industry

The recent announcement of the acquisition of Knoll by Herman Miller shocked the industry and is bound to cause significant consolidation. Will HM and Knoll dealers merge or will some of those dealers remain independent competitors or even switch manufacturers. Economies of scale mean the merger will make some corporate positions redundant, enabling the parent company to cut costs, while salespeople at dealerships also wonder whether their jobs are secure. Dealers for both manufacturers were blindsided by the news. Meantime Haworth stands to benefit from any confusion during the transition while building a powerhouse of strong luxury brands. Interestingly a major dealer recently dropped Herman Miller in favour of Haworth. No doubt the pandemic is behind many changes in an industry struggling with a return to office space while manufacturers double down on their identities as both corporate and home office furniture designers. Expect big changes at Steelcase and Kimball as well while both companies evolve into the new reality under CEOs who have finally broken through the glass ceiling.

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