It’s hard to believe it has been twenty years since the terrorist attacks on the US. In some ways it seems so long ago as so much has changed in the world. And in other ways, it feels like it was just yesterday. I can remember exactly where I was, how I heard about it, and how I went home to watch the news for the next few days straight. I don’t feel it is necessary for me to recount my thoughts and opinions of the tragedy on this platform. But I will ask that we keep all of those affected by this tragedy in our thoughts. And now on to this week’s logistics news.
At the height of the pandemic, many consumers were stockpiling goods as part of a larger trend of panic buying. Toilet paper, paper towels, and disinfectants were nearly impossible to find at times. As evidence mounts that consumers are once again starting to stockpile, likely a result of the variants that are spreading, Costco has reinstated purchase limits on some products. The retailer posted a note on its website Saturday warning of “temporary item limits on select items.” Costco members have been complaining on Twitter about product shortages and purchase limits for several weeks.
The Covid pandemic sent the demand for container ships soaring, and prices for that limited available capacity has skyrocketed. While smaller companies have tried different strategies to get ahead of the shipping crisis, large companies are taking a very different approach. Companies like American Eagle and Walmart have turned to buying shipping companies themselves. American Eagle acquired AirTerra, a Seattle-based shipping and logistics startup. This is only the company’s third acquisition, and the first that was not an apparel company. Walmart, meanwhile, has begun chartering its own ships. Chartering a container ship over the summer reportedly cost as much as $50,000 per day but was seen as a better option.
Companies continue to look for new sustainability initiatives, especially when it comes to reducing packaging waste. As part of its wider effort to improve sustainability of its private label branded packaging, Wegmans has introduced new egg cartons. Previously made from polystyrene foam, the new packaging is made of 100% post-consumer recycled newsprint and paper products. By switching from foam to molded fiber cartons, Wegmans said that it will eliminate 625,000 pounds of foam from its stores annually.