The need to know

The need to know for the week ending 2nd April 2021

The need to know from Reuters’ global network of journalists

Ship backlogs from Suez chaos could take months to clear, container lines say
The stranding of a container ship in the Suez Canal has created disruptions in the global shipping industry that could take weeks and possibly months to clear, top container shipping lines said.

Suez blockage sets shipping rates racing, oil and gas tankers diverted away

Reeling from the blockage in the Suez Canal, shipping rates for oil product tankers have nearly doubled this week, and several vessels were diverted away from the vital waterway as a giant container ship remained wedged between both banks.

New Suez crisis adds to pandemic supply worries for European, U.S. retailers

A stranded container ship blocking the Suez Canal threatens to make it even more difficult for European and U.S. retailers to keep products in stock during the coronavirus pandemic.

Suez Canal blockage adds strain to global supply chains

A stuck container vessel in the Suez Canal, which has blocked the flow of goods through the narrow channel, will add strain to global supply chains already stretched by rebounding economic activity and tight shipping container supplies, analysts said on Friday.

For this Amazon van driver, AI surveillance was the final straw

For Vic, an Amazon driver since 2019, the company's decision to install a four-lens, AI-powered camera in his van was the final indignity. This month, he quit

Euro zone factory activity soared in March but supply issues loom

Euro zone monthly factory activity growth galloped at its fastest pace in the near 24-year history of a leading business survey last month, but supply chain disruptions and renewed lockdowns in the region may rein it in soon.

UK car output falls 14% in February amid COVID-19 hit

British car production fell to its lowest February level since 2010 after an annual 14% drop as lockdown measures, global supply chain problems and new customs processes hit the industry, a trade body said on Friday.

China's March factory activity growth lowest in almost a year

China’s factory activity in March expanded at the slowest pace in almost a year on softer overall domestic demand, but underlying economic conditions remained positive even as input and output inflationary pressures intensified for manufacturers.

U.S. trade war pushing China to steal tech, talent, Taiwan says

The China-U.S. trade war is pushing Beijing to step up its efforts to steal technology and poach talent from Taiwan to boost China’s semiconductor industry’s self-sufficiency, the government of the tech-powerhouse island said on Wednesday.

Boohoo cuts number of UK suppliers

British online fashion retailer Boohoo on Thursday revealed a major consolidation in its supplier base as it published a full list of UK manufacturers to meet a pledge on transparency.

DHL wants to tap accelerating business-to-business e-commerce trends

DHL Express should profit from higher demand for shipments as trade between companies follows digitalisation trends that already dominate business-to-customer sales, the courier services subsidiary of Deutsche Post said on Tuesday.

Poland's InPost sees strong growth in 2021 as e-commerce boom continues

Polish parcel locker firm InPost on Tuesday predicted further growth in sales and profitability this year, saying it expects a boom in e-commerce sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic to survive the lifting of lockdowns.

Business-to-business e-commerce boom only just beginning: DHL

Courier services company DHL Express forecasts the global market for e-commerce between companies will grow by more than 70% to $20.9 trillion by 2027, it said in a study released on Tuesday.

Amazon calls on India not to alter e-commerce investment rules
Amazon asked the Indian government on Thursday not to change e-commerce foreign investment rules until investigations into its business practices had been concluded, two sources familiar with the discussions told Reuters.

Volvo shows off self-driving, electric truck with no cab

Sweden’s Volvo, the world’s second-biggest truck maker, presented a new self-driving electric truck on Wednesday, which it said should help respond to the boom in ecommerce and a shortage of freight drivers.

Aurora, Volvo are latest partners on self-driving heavy trucks

Global heavy truck manufacturers are lining up technology partners to help build out self-driving systems for long-haul freight that could see widespread commercial service well before self-driving robotaxis.

Honda agrees to sell British car plant to logistics giant Panattoni

Honda has agreed to sell its only British car plant at Swindon in southern England to logistics giant Panattoni, a company spokesman said on Saturday, as the new owner reportedly plans to make a large investment at the sprawling site.

At logistics firm Geodis, driving forklifts can be an office job

French logistics firm Geodis and Silicon Valley remote driving software startup Phantom Auto Inc on Wednesday announced a partnership for developing remote-controlled forklifts, a move that can make forklift driving an office job.

From elsewhere around the web:

'Suez 2'? Ever Given grounding prompts plan for canal along Egypt-Israel border. [The Guardian]

Brexit is causing havoc for the UK’s legion of dropshippers. [Wired]

Where are those shoes you ordered? Check the ocean floor. [Wired]

COVID-19, One Year Later: How DMV Closures Impacted Last-Mile Delivery.[SDC Exec]

Walmart, H&M among retailers in US most exposed to Suez Canal disruptions.[Supply Chain Dive]

Port of Amsterdam eyes ‘transition to sustainable society’ in new Strategic Plan.[Port Technology]

Suez bypass: Good luck finding an air cargo alternative.[FreightWaves]

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