The Flight to Hong Kong Just Got Longer
The Hong Kong Trade Development Council will have its work cut out for it in getting westerners to return to Hong Kong for toy shows and other trade events. That fifteen-hour flight from New York to Hong Kong just got two hours longer. That’s according to Cathay Pacific, which stated that, due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, they would fly around rather than over Siberia. What has been a very long flight has become a very, very long flight.
A 50% Chance of a West Coast Longshoreman’s Strike
I read an excellent New York Times article on the threat of a west coast dockworker strike. The March 28, 2022, article, written by Peter S. Goodman, is a bit ominous in its recounting of the history of strikes at the west coast port facilities. There are roughly 16,000 workers in the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles who could walk off the job if they cannot come to an agreement with port management this summer.
What particularly caught my eye was this quote from the article:
The last time the union’s contract expired, in 2014, the result was pronounced turmoil at the ports. This time, odds for a deal without drama are “50-50,” declared Jim McKenna, the chief executive of the Pacific Maritime Association, which represents the shipping terminals in talks with the union.“New Supply Chain Risk: 22,000 Dockworkers Who May Soon Strike,” Peter S. Cooper, The New York Times, March 28, 2022
The last thing the consumer products and toy industries can afford is a port shutdown. Keep your fingers crossed.
Shanghai Shuts Down due to Covid Quarantines
China is continues to fight Covid with quarantines and mass testing. The New York Times, in its article, “Shanghai’s Lockdown Tests Covid-Zero Policy, and People’s Limits,” reports that Shanghai will be undergoing a staggered lockdown. Public transportation will halt, and people will be confined to their homes.
These shutdowns prevent people from working and result in delays in manufacturing and shipping. According to Bloomberg News:
China’s Covid lockdowns are likely costing the country at least $46 billion a month, or 3.1% of GDP, in lost economic output, and the impact could double if more cities tighten restrictions.“China’s Economy Faces New Blow From Shanghai Lockdown,” Bloomberg News, march 27, 2022
American Shipper reports that the shutdowns in Shanghai and Yantian have had an impact on shipping in particular. American Shipper writer, Lori Ann LaRocco, writes:
The number of container ships waiting off port limits (OPL) outside Shanghai has increased. As of Thursday, 57 container ships are waiting outside port limits, whereas two weeks ago there were just 27 box ships.“Viewpoint: Keep an eye on Shanghai,” lori ann larocco, American shipper