Fixed-wing drones that are launched by catapults and recovered using this arrestor system (from Zipline)

Drone Manufacturer Asks FAA To Approve Unmanned Medical Supply Flights In Response To Pandemic

Zipline is offering to setup a drone-based supply chain across the US for distribution of emergency supplies such as medicine, PPE gear, test kits and even blood to ease supply chain blockages. The drones are launched by catapult and recovered by an arrestor system. The company has been operating the drones to deliver emergency medical supplies to remote locations in Africa for several years.  Medical supplies are dropped by parachute to healthcare workers and rushed to areas suffering severe shortages.

Read more at:
https://www.aopa.org/news-and-media/all-news/2020/april/13/zipline-pitches-drones-for-us-coronavirus-relief

(Photo credit: From Zipline via AOPA: Zipline created these fixed-wing drones.)

Port of Rotterdam

Critical Cargo Bypassing Bottleneck at Ocean Ports Aboard Chartered Passenger Aircraft

Bottlenecks in the global supply chain are being bypassed by repurposing passenger aircraft for critical cargo.  With retailers worldwide closing shop, warehouses becoming backed up with undelivered goods, increasing trucking restrictions and driver shortages, importers are being forced to delay delivery of goods that can’t be sold or stored. This clogs ports with containers and slows critical food and medical supply chains. Ocean carriers are rerouting containers to transshipment ports and yards close to destination so they can reach markets more quickly when business resumes, while keeping major ports unclogged. To keep food and medical supply chains flowing, critical cargo is moving on passenger aircrafts that have been idle since the travel ban.

Read more about how the ocean and air transport industries are adapting to the crisis at:

https://www.joc.com/air-cargo/idle-passenger-planes-take-mini-freighter-roles_20200317.html

https://www.joc.com/maritime-news/carriers-warn-supply-chain-chaos-if-cargo-stacks-ports_20200407.html

(Photo credit: IAPH/International Association of Ports and Harbors)

White Water Boat with cargo with "Houston Express"

Manufacturers Who Cut Inventories And Profit Margins To The Bone Are The Most Vulnerable To The Current Crisis

In order for western manufacturers to remain competitive, many components are sourced from China. When China delays manufacturing, western manufacturers’ ability to finish their products and deliver them to market is impeded. To compound that problem, inventories are typically stockpiled for just 15-30 days due to cost-saving inventory management methods such as “just in time delivery”. That spells double trouble for manufacturers and consumers alike.

Read more about how the current crisis is impacting global supply chains at:
https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/03/supply-chains-and-coronavirus/608329/

(Photo credit: Julius Silver)

 

Cargo trucks on a road with cars behind them

Trade Continues Despite US Border Closures with Canada and Mexico

Recent announcements of US border closures with Canada and Mexico state that the borders remain open for trade. Canada’s Transport Minister Marc Garneau explained that truck drivers, train and airline crews are exempt from the restrictions.

Read more about the border closures at: https://www.ttnews.com/articles/us-canada-agree-close-border-remain-open-trade
&
https://www.ttnews.com/articles/us-mexico-border-close-amid-spread-coronavirus

 

(Photo credit:Trucks on the road. (John Sommers II for Transport Topics)

Back of aircraft being loaded. Aircraft marked "Polar"

Passenger Travel Ban From Europe Causes Severe Disruption Of Air Freight Industry

Some US importers are unaware that the travel ban for passenger flights from Europe will impact their air cargo shipments. The reality is that over 60% of air cargo is carried by passenger aircraft. As a result of the travel ban from Europe to the US, shippers are competing for space on a handful of freighter aircraft, pushing up rates, delaying cargo and diverting traffic through non-European airlines.

Read more at:
https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-travel-ban-is-expected-to-snarl-trans-atlantic-airfreight-11584040963