The need to know

The need to know for the week ending 22nd January 2021

The need to know from Reuters’ global network of journalists

U.S. manufacturing output accelerates in December

U.S. manufacturing output increased more than expected in December, but disruptions to the supply chain as the relentless pandemic keeps some workers at home could slow production in the months ahead.

U.S. retailers told to target forced labour in China after cotton import crackdown

A crackdown by the United States on cotton imports from China’s Xinjiang region is a “big red flag” that should spur retailers to ensure their supply chains are free of forced labour involving Uighur Muslims, according to a senior U.S. customs official.

Trump administration issues interim rule on secure technology transactions

The U.S. Commerce Department on Thursday issued interim rules aimed at the securing the nation’s communication and technology supply chain that would prohibit certain transactions with Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela, North Korea and Cuba.

Walmart head of U.S. e-commerce to retire

Walmart Inc Chief Executive Officer of U.S. e-commerce Marc Lore will be stepping down from his role at the end of the month, a regulatory filing showed on Friday.

India's Reliance moves into fashion and lifestyle e-commerce
Reliance Retail Ltd, the retail business of India’s energy conglomerate Reliance Industries Ltd, said on Saturday it planned a quick roll-out of its newly launched fashion and lifestyle e-commerce business.

Panama Canal LNG vessel bottleneck could last until March

Congestion delaying LNG shipments via the Panama Canal is expected to last through the peak demand winter months, traders close to the situation said, although the canal’s regulator said it had made changes to speed up transit.

Feed fight: African consumers hit as Asia gobbles up rice supplies
Tightening global supplies of basic foodstuffs and disruptions to shipping caused by the coronavirus pandemic are driving up the cost of rice, the most important staple food for billions of people worldwide.

ANALYSIS-Jack Ma's reappearance fails to soothe all investor concerns

Jack Ma’s 50-second video reappearance may have buoyed Alibaba Group’s shares, yet it has done little to resolve the Chinese e-commerce giant’s troubled relationship with regulators that is making some investors hesitate about owning its stock.

Exclusive: Alibaba-backed logistics firm Best weighs sale in strategic review - sources

New York-listed Best Inc, a Chinese logistics firm backed by e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, is considering a sale as part of a strategic review, six people with knowledge of the matter said.

Polish locker company InPost valued at 7 billion-8 billion euros in IPO

Polish parcel locker firm InPost has set its price range in an initial public offering (IPO) in Amsterdam at 14-16 euros per share, which implies a valuation at 7 billion-8 billion euros, confirming an earlier Reuters report.

Union Pacific quarterly profit beats on higher shipment volumes

Union Pacific Corp, one of the largest U.S. freight railroad operators, on Thursday reported better-than-expected quarterly profit, bolstered by higher shipping volumes of grain, refrigerated food and beverages, and retail goods.

Malaysian medical glove exports face more delays amid shipping container shortage
Malaysia’s medical glove makers face weeks of delays in delivering products to customers abroad due to a global shortage of shipping containers, hampering their ability to meet demand during the coronavirus crisis, industry officials said.

Pfizer says it has second doses of COVID-19 shot on hand, expects no U.S. supply problems

Pfizer Inc has been holding on to second doses for each of its COVID-19 vaccinations at the request of the federal government and anticipates no problems supplying them to Americans, a spokeswoman said in a statement on Friday.

France may demand rapid COVID-19 test from Irish truck drivers: Irish minister
France is considering requiring rapid COVID-19 tests from Irish truck drivers operating on a logistics route that has become key since Britain’s exit from the European Union, Ireland’s transport minister said on Sunday.

Britain to give COVID-19 shots to key vaccine supply workers
Britain on Tuesday said it would give COVID-19 shots to up to 2,000 people working in vaccine supply chains, after AstraZeneca requested protection for its workers trying to deliver an ambitious vaccine rollout programme.

McKesson to replace some Moderna COVID-19 vaccines due to low temperature

McKesson Corp will replace some Moderna Inc COVID-19 vaccines in the United States after they arrived colder than the low end of the required temperature range, the company said on Wednesday.

Software data shows freight groups avoiding UK, prices rising

An increasing number of freight groups rejected contracts to move goods from France into Britain in the second week of January, while prices rose, according to data that shows the impact of Brexit and COVID-19 on UK trade.

Topps Tiles to stock up ahead of Brexit

Britain’s biggest tile retailer Topps Tiles Plc said on Tuesday it would increase inventory of its important products to protect against supply chain disruptions from Britain’s exit from the European Union.

Delivery costs for Northern Ireland-Britain trade set to rise, hauliers say

The cost of transporting goods to Britain from Northern Ireland is set to rise as a result of the new post-Brexit regulatory border between the two parts of the United Kingdom, haulage firms said on Tuesday, with one planning to hike prices by 12%.

Truckers exempt from California rest-break laws, 9th Circuit holds

In a loss for California labour officials and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, a federal appeals court on Friday upheld the Trump administration’s determination that federally regulated trucking firms do not have to provide drivers with meal and rest breaks otherwise required by state law.

From elsewhere around the web:

Give seafarers COVID-19 vaccine to avoid crew change crisis, says ICS.[Port technology]

U.K. Businesses Drowning in Red Tape Under Brexit Border Rules. [Bloomberg]

Cybersecurity: Your freight depends on it.[Freight Waves]

Digital simulation predicts 20-day wait in 70,000-truck queue to Dover.[The Loadstar]

How supply chains adjusted demand forecasts during the pandemic.[Supply Chain Dive]

Creating Opportunities for Equality Along the Supply Chain.[SDC Exec]

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