Coronavirus Watch: Oakland Port, Airport to Remain Open

Date: Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Source: Supply Chain Brian

Oakland Port, Airport to Remain Open (March 16, 8:00 p.m. ET)

The Port of Oakland and Oakland International Airport will remain open during the COVID-19 outbreak, despite a "shelter-in-place" order requiring the closing of all businesses in six Bay Area counties that do not provide essential services.

The port said both facilities are considered essential services, and are therefore exempt from the order.

The Port of Oakland is among the 10 busiest containerports in the U.S., handling more than 2.5 million cargo containers annually. Oakland International Airport serves 14 million passengers a year.

“Our operations are critical to the health, safety, infrastructure and economy of our region,” said Port of Oakland Executive Director Danny Wan. “We will continue to function as a vital gateway for global trade and transportation while doing everything possible to protect our employees, customers and business partners.”

Amazon to Hire 100,000 to Meet Order Spike (March 16, 5:30 p.m. ET) Inc. will hire 100,000 people — and give U.S. workers a $2 an hour raise in an effort to meet crushing demand from customers placing online orders for household essentials rather than going to crowded stores, Bloomberg reported.

Amazon has had difficulty meeting demand triggered by the coronavirus outbreak. The company warned customers March 2 that orders were backlogged since demand outstripped its delivery capacity, and a technical glitch on Sunday further delayed orders from Whole Foods Markets and other Amazon services.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Amazon and our network of partners are helping communities around the world in a way that very few can—delivering critical supplies directly to the doorsteps of people who need them,” Amazon executive Dave Clark said Monday in a blog post. “Getting a priority item to your doorstep is vital as communities practice social-distancing, particularly for the elderly and others with underlying health issues. We are seeing a significant increase in demand, which means our labor needs are unprecedented for this time of year.”

Governments Rush to Secure Ventilators (March 16, 3:00 p.m. ET)

With hundreds dying every day, Europe’s governments are racing to stock up on ventilators, which can save patients with acute cases of COVID-19. The German government last week ordered 10,000 ventilators from Drägerwerk AG, worth roughly a year’s production. Italy is tendering for a total of 5,000 ventilators — at least 150 of which are on their way from China.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday urged British manufacturers across sectors to help with production of ventilators and other medical equipment.

Man Donates 17,700 Bottles of Stockpiled Hand Sanitizer (March 16, 2:00 p.m. ET)

A Tennessee man and Amazon seller has donated 17,700 bottles of hand sanitizer — just as the Tennessee attorney general’s office began investigating him for price gouging.

Grocers Fail to Keep Up With Demand (March 15, 4:30 p.m. ET)

U.S. grocers are changing some of their fundamental operations as coronavirus stockpiling threatens to overwhelm their supply chains. Retailers including Kroger Co., Publix Super Markets Inc. and Walmart Inc. are shortening store hours to give workers more time to restock and disinfect their sites. The WSJ reports the businesses are grappling with stronger-than-anticipated shopping surges and that contingency plans developed for natural disasters are running up against a nationwide emergency. 

U.S. Grants Tariff Exemptions for Medical Goods (March 15, 4:00 p.m. ET)

U.S. trade officials removed tariffs on dozens of medical items imported from China amid the coronavirus crisis — including some protective gowns, exam gloves, patient bags, surgical drapes and medical waste disposal bags. Officials had previously ruled that these items couldn’t get exemptions.

Effort to Ramp Up Sanitizer Production (March 15, 12:00 p.m. ET)

A nationwide run on hand sanitizer is testing manufacturers’ capacity to flex up production. Sales declined 4.5% last year, and the sudden swing in demand as the coronavirus pandemic took hold in the U.S. is challenging suppliers, the WSJ’s Sharon Terlep reports, as factories staff up to boost output of the federally-regulated product. California-based EO Products is running extra shifts and converting factory lines designed for other products to make hand sanitizer, a switch-over that will drag on margins. 

U.S. Suspends Truck-Driving Limits (March 15, 11:30 a.m. ET)

As supply chains showed signs of strain, U.S. highway safety regulators suspended limits on daily driving hoursfor truckers moving emergency supplies in response to the pandemic.

Charter Services Pick Up Amid Capacity Challenges (March 15, 11:05 a.m. ET)

Cargo operators are ramping up charter services as passenger flight cancellations limit airfreight capacity, with several services announcing new routes for shippers scrambling for space.

Coronavirus Takes Toll on Events Hauliers (March 15, 11:00 a.m. ET)

Canceled conventions are weighing on special-events trucking companies, as more conferences, exhibitions and music events continue to be canceled or postponed across the U.K. and Europe. 


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