Inbound Logistics | June 2022


PORTS OPEN UP Some good supply chain news for a change: Recent numbers show that congestion at U.S. ports is beginning to ease. The May 2022 monthly Port Report from Project 44 shows that congestion numbers improved in April 2022 compared to March 2022 across all U.S. ports. U.S. ports also recorded their best month yet in March 2022, unloading more than 2.5 million TEUs, improving overall import throughput, and capitalizing on the lull. What’s behind the improvements? The slowdown in U.S. demand coupled with the COVID lockdowns in China have led to a drop in activity.

No Packaging Material? No Problem While the supply instability for packaging material has been causing headaches for chief procurement ofcers (CPOs), new research from Gartner says three tactics can go a long way toward helping companies navigate the resulting rising costs, delayed deliveries, and sustainability concerns: 1. Centralize packaging specications and build a packaging supply ecosystem: This allows CPOs better visibility and enables improvements such as harmonizing similar materials, establishing more sustainable alternatives, and uidly switching suppliers in the event of a shortage. 2. Collaborate with suppliers: Working closely with vendors, collaboration can take the form of agreeing on suitable material substitutions, alternative production facilities, incentives, or streamlined supplier onboarding. 3. Segment packaging: Each level of packaging has its own set of risks, so CPOs must factor that into strategies to mitigate supply shortages. Segmenting packaging across the organization provides a better base for decision-making. Once thought of only as the stuŒ of sci-fi movies, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) have become more commonplace in the supply chain, with uses in a range of applications from manufacturing to yard management. Many companies, however, have yet to tap into AI/ML for supply chain usage—but it is becoming more of a priority. That’s the message from research conducted by Symphony RetailAI, a provider of integrated AI-powered supply chain solutions for fast- moving consumer goods (FMCG) retailers and manufacturers, in partnership with Incisiv. The survey reveals: • 87% of FMCG retailers have not yet taken steps to embrace AI and ML. • Data-related initiatives—supported by AI/ML tools—are becoming a top supply chain priority: 82% of respondents say they are focusing on data-driven demand forecasting and 61% cite the need to improve master data management. • 92% of FMCG retailers say that their inability to integrate data from multiple sources prevents them from successfully pursuing AI solutions. • Respondents cite other roadblocks to AI: poor data quality (79%) and a lack of confidence in AI to make good recommendations (31%). • 22% of respondents are concerned about falling behind to the competition due to a lack of an AI-based strategy. AI ROADBLOCKS


Ships per Day 12 10

Mar 2022

Apr 2022


Port congestion reduced on average across the US West Coast, East Coast, and Gulf ports


8 6 4 2 0


US West Coast

US East Coast

US Gulf

Source: Project 44 Port Report, May 2022

Interestingly, the ratio of vessels berthed versus waiting is a mixed bag: The report shows that West Coast ports had more vessels berthed than waiting outside in April, while East Coast and Gulf ports experienced the opposite. .


Ships per Day

US West Coast had more vessels berthed vs waiting outside while US East Coast ports and US Gulf had the opposite


14 12 10





8 6 4 2 0







2.8 3.2




Oakland Seattle

Savannah New York Houston Charleston

LA Long Beach

West Coast

East Coast

Waiting - Apr 2022

Berthed - Apr 2022

Source: Project 44 Port Report, May 2022

18 Inbound Logistics • June 2022

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