The need to know

The need to know for the week ending 13th August 2021

The need to know from Reuters’ global network of journalists

China-U.S. container shipping rates sail past $20,000 to record

Container shipping rates from China to the United States have scaled fresh highs above $20,000 per 40-foot box as rising retailer orders ahead of the peak U.S. shopping season add strain to global supply chains.

Staying alert to ESG risks and opportunities in global supply chain

Few days pass without a new, high-profile news story relating to the issues that fall within the broad concept of Environmental, Social and Governance, or ESG.

White House says it expects supply chain disruptions from Delta variant
The White House said on Friday that it anticipates supply chain disruptions as the Delta variant of the coronavirus spreads around the globe.

U.S. consumer price increases slow in July, signs inflation peaked
U.S. consumer prices increases slowed in July even as they remained at a 13-year high on a yearly basis and there were tentative signs inflation has peaked as supply-chain disruptions caused by the pandemic work their way through the economy.

China's July factory price growth quickens, adds to business and broad economic pressures
China's factory gate inflation in July rose at a faster clip from the previous month and exceeded market expectations, adding to strains on an economy losing recovery momentum as businesses struggle with high raw material costs.

Belgium's Bpost lifts full-year profit outlook again
Belgian postal operator Bpost on Thursday lifted its 2021 outlook for the second time this year after beating second quarter core profit expectations, boosted by mail revenue and sustained e-commerce demand in Europe.

PostNL hikes outlook, plans quicker expansion of parcels unit
PostNL on Monday raised its full-year profit outlook and said it would quicken the expansion of its parcels business, as the Dutch postal firm benefited from a sustained boom in e-commerce driven by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Polish e-commerce platform Allegro scales up expansion after profit beat
Polish e-commerce platform Allegro is moving forward with expansion plans and building its own parcel lockers network, its chief financial officer said after the company's second-quarter results beat forecasts.

Wheat ships queue at French port as rain hits harvest logistics
Ships have been waiting for up to a month at France’s biggest grain port to load wheat for Algeria as a rain-hit harvest has forced exporters to compete for a trickle of supply and reinforce quality checks to meet milling standards.

'Once in 100 years' drought seen affecting Argentine grains exports into next year
A once-a-century drought has lowered the water level of Argentina's main grains transport river, reducing farm exports and boosting logistics costs in a trend that meteorologists said will likely continue into next year.

Analysis: Retail coffee prices to climb as frost and freight costs bite

The most devastating frost in decades in top coffee producer Brazil and record freight costs sparked by COVID-19 causing massive shipping logjams are expected to push retail prices to multi-year highs in the coming weeks.

China's export slowdown in July may signal more bumps ahead
China’s export growth unexpectedly slowed in July following outbreaks of COVID-19 cases, while imports also lost momentum, pointing to a slowdown in the country’s industrial sector in the second half even as easing global lockdowns boost commerce.

German train driver strike strands passengers and freight
A strike by train drivers over pay severely disrupted services across Germany on Wednesday, adding to pressure on European supply chains and frustrating passengers at a time of high demand during the summer holiday season.

Boohoo opens up criticised supply chain to customer viewing
British online fashion retailer Boohoo said on Friday it would give customers the opportunity to look behind the scenes of its UK suppliers’ factories, as it seeks to improve its image after negative publicity over its supply chain failings.

U.S. Postal Service proposes some temporary holiday shipping price hikes
The United States Postal Service (USPS) said on Tuesday it is proposing to temporarily hike prices for some package shipments for the 2021 peak holiday season.

From elsewhere around the web:

Last-mile delivery firms call lack of drivers their main concern. [Freight Waves]

Threat to peak season extra loader services as desperate carriers hunt tonnage. [The Loadstar]

Positive COVID-19 case at Ningbo-Zhoushan prompts further disruption fears. [Port Technology]

Lawmakers propose updates to Shipping Act, drawing shippers' praise and carrier rebukes. [Supply Chain Dive]

Senate Passes Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill. [SDC Exec]

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