Disruption Report #55: Birth Rate Up, Domestic Freight Rates Peaking, and Hong Kong Maintains Its Quarantine Policy

Birth Rate Up – Biggest Increase Since 2014

The U.S. birthrate increased in 2021. It was purported to be the biggest increase in seven years. However, it is nothing to get excited about.

The increase was very small, only 1%. It only made news because it did not decrease. That’s what it has been doing since 2014, by an average of 2% per year.

Bear these figures in mind as you plan your inventory positions over the next few years.


The trip to Hong Kong has always been a daunting one. A very long flight, followed by several days of jet lag, is not a lot of fun but has been the price we have willingly paid to do business in Hong Kong.

Those now seem very much like the good old days as it is no longer possible to fly over Siberia due to the ongoing conflict with Russia. Avoiding Siberia has turned the flight from New York to Hong Kong into a 17-hour marathon

The other challenging aspect of travel to Hong Kong since the pandemic has been
the mandatory two weeks quarantine for those flying into the city. Any hopes
that it would be going away soon have been dashed. Here is how
Bloomberg News puts it:

Maintaining control | Hong Kong will probably keep mandatory hotel quarantine requirements for incoming travelers until at least the end of June, despite business leaders’ growing calls to join the rest of the world in opening up.

A 17 hour flight followed by a two-week mandatory is a challenge that only a few brave souls are willing to take on. Let’s hope things reverse prior to the Fall.

Domestic Freight Rates Have Peaked

Spot market rates for truckload shipments have peaked. That’s according to a Freightways article, “A major cause of inflation may have peaked; that’s good news for consumers but bad news for trucking companies.”

The article reports that spot-rate prices have dropped one-third since the beginning of the year.  Spot-rate prices are seen as a leading indicator of contract rates. As a result, those are anticipated to fall as well.

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