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Lighthouse - September, 2021.

CHAIRMAN’S MESSAGE


I love Sports. And I have found that Sports has a great capacity to mirror life, by means of physically drawing out the passion from within our human nature. With the conclusion of Tokyo 2020, we have witnessed not only some tremendous sporting action, but also the rise of many a champion. And all this in the midst of a pandemic.

On 1 August 2021, an incredible event took place at Tokyo 2020.

Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar and Gianmarco Tamberi of Italy shared the gold medal for the men’s high jump event. Both Barshim and Tamberi had cleared 2.37 meters. However, even after trying three times, they were unable to clear the 2.39 meters bar. When the Olympics officials discussed the modalities to select the winner, Barshim asked to share the medal. The Olympics official replied that this was a possibility, and the rest is history.

“Can we have two golds?” These words of Mutaz Barshim are the most heartwarming moments of Tokyo 2020. Tamberi said, “Sharing with a friend is even more beautiful … It was just magical.” “This is beyond sport,” Barshim added, “this is the message we deliver to the young generation.”

We also saw a great win by Italy as they lifted their second Euro Cup since their first win in 1968. The Italian team headed by Roberto Mancini’s won 3-2 on penalties against England on the English home turf at Wembley stadium.

What is interesting about this win is that the Italian team practices the Catenaccio style of football. Catenaccio’s main principle lies in tight man-marking and the use of an additional defensive player known as ‘sweeper’ (or ‘libero’ in Italian) to form a double line of defense. In Italian, catenaccio means “door-bolt,” which implies a highly organized and effective backline defense focused on nullifying opponents’ attacks and preventing goal-scoring opportunities. It’s not just about one or two-star players, but the entire team of eleven working together. Football fans all too often forget this is still a game of eleven players. Italy doesn’t.

Don’t these sporting milestones teach us a few life lessons?

At CSS, the core values guiding and driving us are teamwork, honesty, clear communication, and a passion for excelling. We believe in nurturing a culture that encourages innovation, creativity, collaboration, and responsibility. We need to maintain these values as we work together as one team, which will help us navigate the changing landscapes. I hope this message inspires you and reminds you of our core values. Let’s work together as one, sharing the responsibilities and the victories as we push ourselves to do our best work on the tough days.

We also celebrated Onam at CSS with much aplomb. Cutting across all differences of race and religion, this unique festival of Kerala brings much joy and hope to all of us. I wish you all a Happy Onam and a year ahead full of togetherness, health, and prosperity in every realm.


CSS PROVIDES EXEMPLARY AUTOMOTIVE LOGISTICS TO KERALA-BASED YOUTUBE INFLUENCER


CSS was instrumental in providing automotive logistics for YouTube Influencer Mallu Traveler. The Kannur-based Shakir Subhan’s globetrotting YouTube vlog, ‘Mallu Traveler,’ is all about worldwide budget travels.

Ford Raptor’s Journey from Dubai to Kochi
The close-fit Ford F150 Raptor was safely shipped from Dubai to Cochin ably executed by the CSS team. The shipment was done under carnet, and the whole process has been documented on the Mallu Traveler’s YouTube channel. This video has reached record viewership levels of 1.2 million views.

Carnet is also known as the passport for goods. This international customs document permits the tax-free and duty-free temporary export and import of non-perishable goods for up to one year.
After securing the carnet for the Ford Raptor, the truck was first safely loaded onto a 20 feet container at the CSS facility at Jebel Ali, Dubai. It was secured with lashing to ensure a safe and secure transit across the Arabian Sea. With a transit time of 5 days by sea from Dubai to Kochi, India, auto-racking and lashing are done for damage-proofing the vehicle.

The CSS office in Kochi provided hands-on support and guidance to see that the vehicle is released without any delays or complications. With our strategic connections with the Customs departments, we guarantee that the whole process remains 100% hassle-free for the customer. Even though there were many minor roadblocks in releasing Shakir’s much anticipated Ford Raptor, we were able to unite the excited owner with his vehicle within a short span of two days.

CSS and Automobile Logistics
The CSS Group’s Automobile Logistics wing has proven its seamless shipments of automobiles from one country to another.

CSS’s Automobile Logistics wing offers effective and environmentally friendly loading of the vehicle. Bitto Babu, Sr. BDM spoke on CSS’s competence and proficiency in handling Automobile Logistics, “With specialized handling of high-end vehicles, we have become a trusted name in the auto logistics field today.”

Our facilities are available in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Bahrain, and Oman, with an exceptionally strong worldwide network. The CSS Group technology team fully manages the end-to-end operations.

Mallu Traveler is a repeat customer as CSS also helped facilitate the shipment of the vlogger’s bike in the year 2020 after it got stuck in Azerbaijan due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The services offered by CSS Automotive Logistics include:

  • Specialized racking of vehicles
  • Carnet for vehicles
  • Auto-racking for loading multiple vehicles in containers
  • Experience in handling luxury & sports cars
  • Large storage facilities
  • Technical services on request
  • In-house documentation and clearance facilities
  • Door-to-door services offered


Festival Of Memories BONDING A BRIGHT FUTURE


Radhakrishnan
ISS Relocations

ONAM is the National Festival of Kerala, celebrated during the Malayalam month Chingam. It is a time to welcome the harvest festival and the homecoming of the Hindu mythological King Mahabali. They are celebrated with get-togethers, traditional performances, floral decorations, Feast, etc.

With CSS Group’s 25th Year celebrations, it is indeed a pleasure indeed to write about a festival which blossoms Memories representing the newest entrant of the Group ISS Relocations….

OrmakalundayirikkaNAM  (ർമ്മകളുണ്ടായിരിക്കണം) is ONAM ഓണം

Memories should be rich to blossom always!!

ONAM is a celebration of a rich Past in the Present for the Future!!!

His slogan was to celebrate the homecoming of a King who ruled Kerala who was undoubtedly passionate about the well-being of his “Prajas” without any discrimination and “equality.”

Togetherness (Onnavuka); Be better (Nannavuka); Celebrate (Aaghoshikkuka); Be Human (Manushyanavuka)

For me, ONAM represents as above.

Competitions within the group frame us to join together; August 19, 2021, was a day of Celebrations & Competitions within the CSS Group.

The Oneness within us challenged each one of us to compete amongst each other, giving us the confidence to win over!

We carry this competitive mindset in Business, Sail through the ripples with confidence. We Celebrate the Oneness as we grow Better day by day.

Last but not least; Thank you “Suja’s Kitchen,” Lunch was mouth-watering!

Happy Onam…


POOKALAM COMPETITION BACK IN FULL FORCE


After a year of hiatus due to the pandemic, the Pookalam competition was back this year. And the enthusiasm and excitement from all our branches were seen.

The intricate design and the team effort was seen in all the arrangements, and we congratulate all the participates. But after all, it’s a competition, and only one can take the trophy.

 


RESCHEDULED EXPO 2020 SET TO ATTRACT 25 MILLION VISITS IN DUBAI


Hosting the World Expo is the most ambitious project for the UAE. The event is also at the heart of the UAE’s plans for diversifying its economy away from Oil. Expo 2020 is special as it is the first with so many countries represented physically and digitally. Dubai is now the melting pot of the world. The Expo 2020 also represents the unique opportunity to experience the post-pandemic world.

Dubai Gearing Up for Expo 2020
Held every five years, the World Expo exhibitions see hundreds of countries using pavilions to show off the latest in architecture and technology. Before the pandemic forced the event to be postponed, organisers had expected 25 million visits during the course of the six-month international fair. It will now run from 1 October to 31 March 2022.

However, despite restrictions on travel, and the recent lockdowns in some parts of Europe, Reem Al-Hashimi, Managing Director general of the Expo 2020, expects a crowd turnout to match the pre-pandemic expectations. She says, “The world has gone through these galactical shifts over the last year but now with vaccines being rolled out, we believe that situation will settle by October, and that the situation will be far more positive by then.”

An Optimistic Outlook
It is an optimistic forecast for an event that relies on tourism, when most of the world has cutdown on international travel. But the various in-person conferences and trade shows held in the city over the last few months has made organisers more hopeful.

Expo 2020 is being billed as the biggest event to be held in the Arab world. For the UAE, the showpiece event comes at a time when it is trying to recover from one of its worst recessions in five decades. Last year, the economy contracted by 6.6% even as the government announced a series of reforms to attract investment and help businesses. Some of those steps have started to show results with the International Monetary Fund upgrading the growth outlook for the UAE to 3.1% for 2021.

The authorities are pinning their hopes on the World Expo to attract tourists in large numbers that would help accelerate economic recovery. Billions of dollars have been poured into the project since the UAE won the bid to organize the international fair in 2013.

Dubai World Expo: Key Facts

  • More than 190 countries are taking part, in the first such event to be held in the Middle East
  • These countries will participate in the Expo – showcasing innovations around the themes of sustainability, mobility and opportunity.
  • The Expo 2020 is expected to boost Dubai’s economy by $33bn (£24bn) and to create up to 300,000 jobs
  • The site covers 4.3sq km, or 613 football pitches, and the Expo site will have its own metro station
  • Uber is said to be testing flying cars during the event
  • Some 90% of the materials used in construction will then be used to create permanent buildings afterwards
  • The spectacle is particularly crucial for the Middle East’s financial hub – Dubai – as its economic model relies heavily on sectors that are driven by consumer spending, like hospitality, luxury retail and travel.

While most experts think it might be a challenge to achieve 25 million visits, there is a broad consensus that the millions who will attend the event will certainly have a significant impact on the economy. “Even if the event is partially successful it has the potential of reviving the economy and taking it back to the pre-pandemic levels,” says Scott Livermore, chief economist for the Middle East at Oxford Economics.

In February, the Tokyo 2020 (Olympics) committee announced that they would go ahead with the event in July regardless of the how Covid-19 situation evolves. Like the Japanese, the Expo 2020 organisers also had no plans of postponing or cancelling the event. “We are applying all the necessary safety measures as mandated by the WHO and following other best practices to allow the event to take place in a safe environment,” says Ms Al-Hashimi.

She also adds that there is a need for people to converge to discuss the next steps to tackle global challenges like the Covid-19 pandemic, and the Expo offers that platform. Dubai also has been one of the few cities to keep its economy open since July last year when most of the world was under lockdown.

Covid -19 Precautions
Despite the recent wave, the UAE has managed to roll out the vaccines at a rapid pace, with more than 75% of the population inoculated. The UAE aims to be one of the first countries to vaccinate most of its population and return to complete normality. This would also help in positioning it as a safe tourist destination. With UAE reaching the status as being the most vaccinated country, the organisers are hoping for the large turnout for the event.

“If the UAE is able to achieve herd immunity, then that would be a big positive for the Expo as it would be able to attract many more tourists, especially during the second half of the event,” says Mr. Livermore.

Role of Expo 2020
Mega-event Expo 2020 offers an international meeting point to not only 190-plus participating countries but also businesses, multilateral organisations and educational institutions. To catalyse entrepreneurial partnerships, Expo 2020’s official business integrator partner Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry has launched an introductory video series featuring the expectations of UAE business leaders titled ‘En Route To The Expo.’

Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry, A Catalyst for Cross-Border Partnerships
“Expo 2020 and DCCI are rallying the local and international business community to connect, network and together find cutting-edge solutions to encourage global partnerships and FDI flows in a post-pandemic world,” says Marjan Faraidooni, Chief Experience Officer of Expo 2020 Dubai.

She highlights the rota of business programming planned by the DCCI, which includes a series of thematic business forums designed and curated together with participating countries and partners that discuss challenges as well as opportunities for both the local and global business communities.

“The Chamber is also bringing on board three of its flagship global business forums – the Global Business Forum Africa, Global Business Forum ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and Global Business Forum Latin America,” adds Faraidooni.

Dubai Businesses to Reap Economic Benefits
Hassan Al Hashemi, Vice President of International Relations at the DCCI, says that business in Dubai is set to undergo a quantum leap with the city hosting Expo 2020, adding that the mega-event will highlight the economic potential of the UAE and other markets of opportunity.

As the official business partner to Expo 2020, the DCCI will play a pivotal role in creating new connections and fostering cross-border collaboration. The Chamber will provide an ideal platform for UAE companies and their international counterparts to network at its dedicated on-site facility at Expo 2020. In addition, it will host and support several high-profile events during the mega event, which aim to expand Dubai’s economic cooperation with promising markets around the world,” Al Hashemi added.

In a post-pandemic era, Expo 2020 will become a prime example of how major international forums can be held safely and successfully. “It will be the first major global event that uses technology and a hybrid format to navigate the obstacles presented by a situation that is unprecedented in modern times,” says Al Hashemi. “Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry is fully committed to ensuring that business functions run smoothly at Expo 2020.”

The non-profit public entity will play an essential role in catalysing partnerships for the global business community throughout the six-month event.


AUTONOMOUS PORT TRUCK SYSTEM INTRODUCED AT ABU DHABI PORTS


The Abu Dhabi Ports and the COSCO Shipping Ports Limited (CSP) are set to build a future together in the region with their first autonomous port truck system. It is the first of its kind in the Middle East. The technologically advanced port boasts of the use of smart automation.

The Deputy CEO, CSP Abu Dhabi – Naser Al Busaeedi, states, “We are proud to be the first terminal in the Middle East to implement an autonomous port truck system following the addition of six Qomolo Q trucks to our container handling fleet. Being efficient and cost-effective, the new vehicles also help us sustain container handling operations for longer periods and continue operating in situations where business continuity is an operational challenge. We look forward to experiencing the full potential of these autonomous vehicles in the coming months.”

The six electric Q-Trucks are produced by Qomolo, the sub-brand of ShangHai Westwell Lab Technology Company. The L5 autonomous freight trucks are equipped with an advanced 360-degree sensory system with traffic monitoring and driving guidance system and are also tasked with supporting the mother vessel in loading and unloading activities within the facility’s container yard. The electric Q-Trucks are powered by a 281kWh battery that carries 80 tons and works in an operating range of 200 km. These trucks can operate up to 44 hours continuously. Enhanced by a temperature-controlled system, the trucks direct vehicle navigation and help transport general and reefer containers. Presently these are on a two-month trial period.

The Head of Ports Cluster, Abu Dhabi Ports, Saif Al Mazrouei, stated, “The addition of CSP Abu Dhabi’s Q-Trucks has not only accelerated Khalifa Port’s position as the Middle East’s leading maritime facility but also serves as a prime example of how innovative technologies can transform the maritime and logistics industries.” “Employing solutions powered by ultra-modern technologies, such as artificial intelligence, Internet-of-Things and electrification can enable businesses to achieve a higher level of efficiency while simultaneously transforming their respective operations to be more sustainable and cost-efficient.

With the innovative Q-trucks entering the scene, they are set to solidify CSP Abu Dhabi and Khalifa Port’s standing as the most advanced maritime facility in the region. The new Q-Trucks deliver reduced transformation and operating costs and a significant reduction in CO2 emissions. Apart from the autonomous port truck system, the greenfield project saw the adoption of the Fleet Management System (FMS) for overseeing the daily activities utilizing Q-Trucks. While simultaneously connecting to multiple systems, the platform provides real-time monitoring and workflow management process.

The future looks bright as CSP Abu Dhabi and Khalifa Ports will continue to explore the potential applications for AI-powered solutions for terminal and port operations.


H.H. SHEIKH THEYAB BIN MOHAMED INSPECTS ETIHAD RAIL’S NEW TRACKS TOWARDS ABU DHABI AND DUBAI


His Highness Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court and Chairman of Etihad Rail, inaugurated the track laying at the railhead in Saih Shuaib, towards Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Supervision Trip by H.H. Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed
The new tracks are on time on the schedule for delivery. As part of the UAE National Rail Network development, this is one of the largest infrastructure projects in the nation. H.H. Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed undertook the supervision and construction works from the starting point of track laying in Saih Shuaib towards Abu Dhabi and Dubai. He took the trip aboard an inspection train designated for supervision and inspection of construction works.

The trip also encompassed the 10-kilometer journey reaching Al Maha Forest. His Highness was informed in detail about Etihad Rail’s procedures and measures to protect the natural habitat and wildlife during the implementation of the project within the forest, including the development of bridges, culverts, and animal crossings.

Under His Highness’ diligent inspection, he noted that the nation’s wise leadership is precious for the development of Stage Two. He also placed on record the invaluable support offered by the local and federal government stakeholders as the company continues to support the developmental goals of the UAE, including those set for the next fifty years.

Strategically Important Project
This project is of strategic importance to the UAE and can revolutionize the UAE’s transport sector. Theyab bin Mohamed stressed that the network forms a vital part of the UAE’s world-class integrated transport ecosystem, strengthening the UAE’s global leading position in the provision of quality transport infrastructure.

Theyab bin Mohamed further accentuated the project’s role in supporting the UAE’s economic growth, connecting key ports with production and manufacturing points and population, which will positively affect the lives of citizens and residents in the country.

The network is significant in providing a modern and sustainable national rail network, bolstering the UAE’s leading regional standing.

During the visit, Theyab bin Mohamed said that the carefully considered and diligent scrutiny of our wise leadership bolsters the UAE’s regional and international positioning.


PREDICTIVE AI WILL REINVENT THE SUPPLY CHAINS OF TODAY


With highly reactive and disruptive supply chains, planning ahead is simply out of the question. They are continuously reacting to the number of orders, the position of the shipment, the state of production, and so on. That is the primary reason why the COVID-19 pandemic took us by surprise. Prior to the pandemic, there were always large-scale shortages, waste, and losses in millions of dollars. The pandemic has not just exacerbated the problem but also highlighted the major flaws of inventory-heavy supply chains.

Predictive Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) has the capability in not just identifying the growth in demand across different nodes in your supply chain, but vastly reduce response and decision-making processes and the time taken to do it. A proactive approach, adopting these technologies is a prerogative to future-proof your supply chains for black swan events like the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Proactive and Lean Supply Chain
Using Predictive AI technology to optimise the various supply chain processes will improve your Supply Chain’s ability to respond effectively across the network to any disruptions, vulnerabilities, and also help you mitigate the effects of Black Swan events.

Knowing demand and predicting how events will affect demand, will aid in the management of all the moving parts of the supply chain, from manufacturing to distribution. This is precisely where a more proactive supply chain has an advantage.

While data analytics is based on past events, predictive analytics identifies patterns, tests assumptions, and employs Machine Learning algorithms to re-evaluate and adapt the model for the most accurate results. AI-powered predictive analytics has numerous applications in all supply chain processes, beginning with Demand Forecasting and progressing to Automated Production Planning, which is based on sensing demand at the distributor level and using that to forecast near-future demand.

This, in turn, has the potential to make production much leaner than the current inventory-heavy production model that is the norm across sectors and verticals. Companies will be able to meet 20%-30% more demand with the same or lower production capacity by applying the lean methodology throughout the supply chain, beginning with suppliers, vendors, and ending with distributors and retailers.

How can Predictive AI be implemented across the supply chain?
Supply Chains assist in making accurate decisions in near real-time and can be widely adopted across the value chain. With numerous applications, AI-powered predictive analytics can provide you with insights that you can use to further optimise various supply chain processes as listed below:

Inventory Management
Once you have insight into the granular demand, businesses can manage their inventory across warehouses, distribution centers, and retail outlets. Supply and demand must be balanced to avoid waste and stockouts. AI-powered solutions can calculate safety stock levels by analysing past trends, market signals, and inventory levels.

Transport Logistics Management
In countries like India, the distribution network has to reach small neighbourhood stores that dot the rural areas. Predictive analytics can analyze traffic patterns, reachability, lockdown constraints, weather, and other events to determine the best route of transportation to deliver products from distribution centers to retail stores.

Lean Supply and Production
Accurate demand predictions can assist manufacturers in prioritising and focusing their efforts on rationalising their product line and lowering production costs. AI can also be used to improve procurement and supply planning by identifying the best raw material supplier.

Promotions and Pricing
The insights gained from demand forecasts will assist you in optimising your promotional activities and pricing models, as well as shaping demand. You can run simulations for multiple scenarios with Advanced Scenario Planning to see how different promotions or pricing models affect your sales and consumer behaviour.

How to future-proof your business
Today’s hypercompetitive and volatile market demands superlative technologies like AI and Machine Learning (ML). Relying on older predictive methods is bound to throw you out of gear. During the pandemic, many companies failed to adapt their predictive capabilities, resulting in excess wastage and stock-outs in manufacturing and distribution. However, companies who have adopted AI and ML technologies for their forecasts were able to optimise their operations to the COVID-affected markets. Such companies have managed not just to survive, but thrive.

A recent McKinsey Report reveals that early adopters who successfully implemented AI-enabled supply-chain management were able to reduce logistics costs by 15%, inventory levels by 35%, and service levels by 65% when compared to slower-moving competitors. The implementation of organisation-wide AI practices will not just make your company resilient and ready for the future but also agile with improved processes in place.

However, simply adopting any AI technology is not the answer. Organisations should focus on integrating new technologies into their existing workflows in a simple and timely manner. The majority of businesses continue to invest in outdated technologies or in costly advanced solutions that take months to implement, resulting in opportunity loss for the organisation.

Predictive AI should simplify the already existing processes and not overburden the system. It should have the ability to stabilise forecasts, and allow businesses to identify opportunities immediately. It should help in facilitating teams to shift their focus to shaping demand. This is how we will transition from a purely reactive to a proactive and flexible supply chain.


INDIAN LOGISTICS INDUSTRY ADOPTS ELECTRONIC VEHICLES, AND THE IMPACT OF GREEN TAX


Despite the global pandemic, the logistics industry has witnessed exponential growth in the last few years. The industry has been incorporating new trends and technological innovations to stay on top of the game.

Logistics Industry Ushers in Electronic Vehicles
The logistics sector has played a crucial role in ushering in the Electronic Vehicles revolution in India. A giant leap for every industry, the logistics industry is driving this significant change for the entire nation. As we work towards sustainable growth, it is important to incorporate environmentally friendly techniques. India joining the World Logistics Passport has spurred the development of the national logistics sector.

Green Tax and the Logistics Sector
Implementing the ‘Green Tax’ by the Indian Government will have a big impact on the logistics sector. Mr. Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister of Road Transports and Highways, announced the imposition of Green Tax on older vehicles to aid sustainable best practices. The scheme expects vehicles to pay 50% of the road tax and applicable for petrol and diesel vehicles.
According to the ministry, transport vehicles older than eight years could mainly fall under the Green Tax radar (at 10-25 % of road tax) right after they receive a renewal of a vehicle fitness certificate. From September onwards, vehicles older than 15 years will be owned by government departments and public sector undertakings.

Working in tandem with the Indian Government
The logistics industry in India will work hand-in-hand with the Government to create a more sustainable future. The Green Tax law comes as a push for the entire sector to have an eco-friendly growth model. With the EV revolution taking place, it should be easy for the sector to adapt to this law to bring the necessary changes All the logistics solution providers already have a plan post imposition and have been working on the same. It shouldn’t be difficult for the logistics sector to adapt to this change and move towards a green economy with new technologies


RISING US IMPORTS FROM ASIA IN JUNE POINT TO A SURGE IN SUMMER IMPORTS


From late July 2021, the ports on the Western Coast of the USA have been preparing for a surge in import volumes as the accumulated backlogs in US imports from Asia have started arriving from Yantian and other Chinese ports.

While June saw an increase in imports, the volumes slightly dipped in May, but import volumes were still up almost 24 percent from a year ago. With retail inventories low, this might indicate that the second-half volumes are unlikely to let up.

From Los Angeles and Long Beach, carrier executives alert terminal operators at these ports to expect a spike in Chinese imports. This will also add to the traditional peak shipping season in the eastbound trans-Pacific that runs from August through October.

US imports from Asia touched a total of 1.52 million TEU in June. This figure showed an 8.8 percent drop from 1.67 million TEU in May.

This June showed the busiest first half ever in the largest US trade lane. Imports from Asia totaled 9.52 million TEU, up 38 percent from 6.9 million TEU in the first six months of pandemic-wracked 2020 and 24.5 percent higher than the 7.65 million TEU imported in the first half of 2019.

SSA Marine, which operates three terminals in Long Beach and the largest container terminals in Oakland and Seattle, was told by its carrier clients to expect a spike in imports later this month and into August.

An adviser to non-vessel-operating common carriers (NVOCCs) has stated that an import surge is on the way now that Yantian is digging out of its backlog. Other Chinese ports that had picked up some of Yantian’s business during the COVID-19 outbreak are also clearing out their backlogs.

“West Coast ports are expecting to be besieged by vessels delayed at Yantian at the same time we enter the peak surge. This comes at a time when NVOCCs are facing possibly the worst backlog of unshipped containers from China ever,’ he further stated. He said Yantian had experienced the worst backlog, but vessels also backed up in Shanghai and Ningbo.

Retailers trying to rebuild inventories

The increased import volumes are largely driven by US retailers trying to build back their inventories. According to the US Census Bureau report, the retail inventory-to-sales ratio, which was down to 1.07 in April, had never dropped below 1.34 in the 28 years before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The terminals at Los Angeles-Long Beach are bearing the brunt of the almost record-breaking import volumes in the last six months. For much of the year, the officials have to navigate problems like vessel bunching, congested yards, long truck queues, equipment shortages, and record rail container dwell times. However, the terminal officials said that the situation has improved over the past two months, and they hope to continue to do so.


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