The TricorBraun Pulse – April/May 2024

A Message from our President, North America and Chief Operations Officer


While supply chains may largely be back to normal, normal today means expecting the unexpected and being prepared for it. Recent escalations between Iran and Israel, severe drought in Panama, election-year uncertainty in the US, and other geopolitical factors are reminders that business as usual is anything but.

In this issue of TricorBraun Pulse, we step back from the microeconomic impacts of supply chain challenges to explore three big trends shaping the economic climate for CPG companies. Our entire TricorBraun team understands how demanding this new normal is for your business, and we are committed to helping you navigate your way forward.  Please contact us to see how we can further support you. We appreciate and value your business—and we’re here to help.






Optionality isn’t just a buzzword, it’s a critical strategy for ensuring supply chain continuity. CPG companies increasingly need a multi-shore approach to hedge against risks ranging from tariffs to transportation disruptions. Not to mention that the more options, the more opportunities to hedge against inflationary pressures in the US and abroad.

There are several reasons why having near-shore and off-shore options has become more important than ever. Major global shipping lanes are under threat—whether from piracy and political instability (the Middle East) or climate change (Latin America). Meanwhile, the demand for bigger and bigger container ships is putting pressure on both sea lanes and ports. 

For example, the recent collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore is expected to impact port operations for months, slowing down shipments of everything from cars to coal and chemicals. The Economist noted that “50 ocean carriers make nearly 1,800 annual visits” to Baltimore and suggested that “if another port experienced a hiccup (because of labor disputes, say, or cyberattacks), the toll on the American economy could be severe.” And we don’t know yet whether the accident will lead to tighter US safety regulations on ocean carriers—which could force ships to make costly upgrades and increase the cost of international shipping.

Learn More

Here’s How Baltimore Ranks Among US Ports:

Industry Groups Call on ILA and USMX to Get Back to the Table For a New Labor Deal:

Strikes at East Coast, Gulf Ports are a Big Labor Risk This Year:

The Impact of the Baltimore Bridge Disaster:



Consolidation is everywhere. From the “friend-shoring” proposal by Nippon Steel to buy US Steel to grocery store mergers, a number of businesses are looking to grow as they flex their economic might and streamline operations. At the same time, others are consolidating operations via plant closings. In the packaging arena, plastic packaging manufacturer Berry Global announced a new round of plant closures late last year; Silgan Dispensing Solutions closed a plant in Kansas to consolidate operations at their plant in Mexico. Lead times in the US are already starting to increase—and more consolidation is likely to come.

Along with consolidation—of businesses and within them—a related global trend to watch is automation. And, right now, the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on manufacturing: from the use of flexible robotics and integrated systems to wearables that can give technicians critical alerts in real-time, AI is already starting to transform manufacturing. In one article on the subject, McKinsey suggests that “AI is defining the Fourth Industrial Revolution.” 

One country that’s put a high level of automation already in place? China. While the #2 global economy by GDP is facing challenges from slowing economic growth, a shrinking labor pool, and other factors, its automation prowess is likely to be key to its future as a reliable manufacturing and trading partner.

Learn More

Adopting AI at Speed and Scale: The 4IR Push to Stay Competitive:

Berry Global Announces Yet More Plant Closures: 
What’s Wrong with China’s Economy in Eight Charts: 

Why Foreign Direct Investment into China is Collapsing:

The US Steel Deal is a Test of Friendshoring: 



While across the US the economic indicators look good, recovery still looks different for different categories of CPG companies. And although it appears inflation is stabilizing, there are signs that all is not perfect. 

Whether you’re in a category with strong growth or still looking for your new normal, consumers continue to have to account in their budgets for high costs for everything from energy to healthcare—which limits both their everyday and discretionary budgets. A key indicator: food prices. While the reasons for high prices are complex, including commodity prices and rising labor costs, the impact on politics and our pocketbooks is clear. The Wall Street Journal recently wrote that the last time Americans spent this much money on food, “George H.W. Bush was in office, “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” was in theaters and C+C Music Factory was rocking the Billboard charts.” 

The Eurozone, meanwhile, is facing very slow growth rates and Japan’s sluggish economy is hovering on the edge of recession. As a result, consumers across the globe are wrestling with how to stretch their hard-earned dollars, euros, and yens.

Learn More

Australia’s Inflation Rate Comes in Lower than Expected:

Europe’s Problems are Far Bigger than a Shallow Recession:

It’s Been Thirty Years Since Food Ate Up This Much of Your Income:

The Cardboard Box Recession is Over. An Out-of-the-Box Economic Recovery is Coming: 

The Top Largest Economies in the World: 




  • We are leveraging our domestic and global scale to efficiently manage your local, long haul, and international transportation, using state-of-the-art technology, to deliver what you need, when you need it.
  • We are continuing to develop our organized planning and execution technology platform to manage ocean and air imports. The new platform provides visibility from Purchase Order release through final mile delivery. It also offers comprehensive data collection to drive service metrics for improved performance management.
  • We are continuously managing routing guides to ensure products are flowing seamlessly across the globe. This includes identifying alternative options to minimize imports into the US East Coast as needed to mitigate the impact of possible work stoppages in 2024.
  • We are developing custom domestic and international supply chains for our customers by leveraging our diverse supply options, high quality suppliers, and large warehousing network.
  • We are working with our customers to develop and monitor stocking programs to ensure steady supply and just-in-time deliveries while leveraging our suppliers’ improved lead times. Ask about a warehousing agreement and how it could help you manage your inventory and hedge against supply disruptions. 
  • We are supporting our customers in customizing or redesigning their packaging to resonate with consumers as they modify their purchasing decisions to achieve more perceived value. Ask us how our design and decorating capabilities could elevate your packaging.
  • We are leveraging our reliable supply of domestic and international glass container manufacturers to support our customers for just-in-time delivery. 
  • We are leveraging our global reach to adjust to everchanging supply conditions and ensure that we’re providing our customers with the best solutions. Ask us how we can optimize your package, including efficient design, localized production, and lower freight costs.
  • We continue to leverage sustainable supply options and share those with customers developing their sustainable brand stories. 


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