If you look hard enough, you can find song lyrics to fit almost any situation. But this title from a Bon Jovi song from a decade or two ago seems to sum up the constant state of flux those managing supply chain operations experience. External shocks come and go, but the need to remain resilient and flexible in managing the day-to-day remains.   

So far, in 2024, we continue to see organizations grappling with significant demand and supply imbalances, marked by an oversupply of transportation asset capacity, leading to depressed pricing and ultimately creating financial risks for providers. Meanwhile, trade flows in North America and Europe are transforming as the impact of nearshoring is starting to be felt. Amid these structural shifts, we continue to see unpredictable disruptions, such as the sudden and drastic situation brought about by Houthi rebel groups targeting merchant ships in the Red Sea, now causing vessel delays and rate increases. Looking ahead, other ongoing disruptions, such as labor disputes and the imminent East Coast port contract renewal later in 2024, promise to add more complexity to the ever-shifting landscape. 

While our crystal ball can’t predict the next global crisis coming around the corner, we do know that monitoring trends and a critical set of metrics is necessary for informed decision-making. We are launching the monthly Supply Chain Market Pulse to combine many data points in a single report. We’ll also take the opportunity to highlight special topics of interest at various times of the year. Alongside this month’s edition, we’d like to share our recently published annual report on the container shipping industry, Appetite for disruption. Read on to learn how carriers have evolved their strategies and tactics to weather the cyclical downtimes in the industry and profit from the disruption endemic to the business.

Here's to smoother sailing ahead.