The Weekly Roar

In this week’s Roar: A big new Supply Chain survey, U.S. trucking in trouble, Asia-Pacific air cargo doing okay, a stuck Panama Canal, and insights into supply chain AI models.

McKinsey has released a new survey entitled the Supply Chain Pulse that discusses how companies are taking steps to manage and improve different processes. 68% of survey respondents stated they want to optimize their inventory levels, with 22% planning to increase inventory, 29% say they want to decrease inventory levels, and 24% are planning to maintain their current inventory levels. Additionally, 67% of respondents plan to improve their supply chain visibility, and 71% expect to revise their planning processes.


Some experts are saying the overall state of trucking is weak. And, that the U.S. market is not in a position to bounce back anytime soon. Large carriers are parking trucks, and there’s an expectation that we’ll see capacity reductions and bankruptcies from independent owner-operators. The best news is that intermodal rail is doing well.

Things are looking a bit better for air cargo on the Asia-Pacific route. For the first time this year, carriers reported an upswing in demand. Recent data shows an increase of 3.2% year-on-year in freight ton kilometers from September. However, it should be noted that the increase is partly due to “comparisons with depressed levels recorded last year. The start of the high-demand season leading to the year-end festive period also contributed to growth,” according to the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA).

There’s been no improvement for the Panama Canal, with its record dry season still ongoing. With the water at unprecedented low levels, the Canal Administration says it’s forced to further reduce the number of daily transits as well as reduce draft limits for ships. The good news is that despite delays, the Authority has been able to keep queues down. Having said that, reduced transits have caused delays for ships carrying goods over the world, leading to higher costs and longer wait times.

Something to think about when it comes to building supply chain AI models. The data that fuels the models are as important as the models themselves. It will take expert knowledge — or the industry will face a “garbage in, garbage out” scenario — to build, maintain, and query each model. In a nutshell, the trustworthiness of AI models is a complex issue that goes well beyond cybersecurity.

For the rest of the week’s top shipping news, check out the article highlights below.