The TricorBraun Pulse – December/ January 2024

A Message from our Chief Commercial Officer and Chief Operations Officer


While supply chains are largely back to normal, what does normal mean anyway? The new Israeli-Hamas conflict threatens to destabilize the region—and we’re already seeing a rise in Houthi rebel attacks on oil tankers and other vessels in the Red Sea. Severe drought is creating havoc and long waiting times for ships traversing the Panama Canal. And everything from manufacturing labor shortages to US East Coast port disruptions could bring fresh challenges in the New Year.

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. We’re leveraging our domestic and global reach and adjusting quickly to changing market conditions to deliver the best costs and best value available. Please contact us to see how we can further support you. We appreciate and value your business—and we’re here to help.




The Big Picture

The good news is that ocean capacity remains plentiful and recent attempts by container lines to cancel sailings and impose general rate increases have been unsuccessful. New ships are slated to launch in 2024 and 2025, which should provide continued strength for shippers to maintain current contract and spot rates through 2024. The bad news is that the Panama Canal remains at historic low water levels—and ships can wait in line for days or even weeks as the low water levels limit the number of ships passing through the 50-mile waterway. Meanwhile, some shippers are paying exponential rate increases to jump the queue and get ahead of other container ships.  

What We're Watching

  • The US government is touting a new digital information sharing platform designed to reduce inflation by connecting all facets of the supply chain so transportation leaders can identify potential roadblocks and keep track of their goods from origin to destination. As more container ports, ocean carriers, and retailers share their information, the aim is to save money by reducing delivery times and avoiding detention costs. 
  • The International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) has said that dockworkers on the US East Coast should prepare for a strike in October 2024 if no new contract is reached by September 30. The ILA represents over 70,000 dockworkers in 36 ports (including the Gulf Coast). The primary issues are wages and the further implementation of automation at the ports.

Our Actions 

  • 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.

Learn More

Biden Administration Announces Massive Logistics Plan:

ILA Leadership Warns US East Coast Dockworkers to Prepare for 2024 Strike:

Potential for 2024 East Coast Port Strike Kickstarts Supply Chain Contingency Planning: 

Panama Canal Has Gotten So Dry and Backed Up After Brutal Drought that Shippers Are Paying Up to $4 Million to Jump the Queue: 

Supply and Capacity 

The Big Picture

As the supply chain finally looks to be stabilizing, many CPG companies are looking to diversify their supply chains to be better prepared for if and when the next shock hits. This has resulted in a more intentional blend of domestic and international options to ensure continuity of supply. Meanwhile, the US Census Bureau reported that about 1.4 million manufacturing jobs were lost during the COVID pandemic—and US manufacturers are experiencing labor shortages and increases in skilled labor costs. Combined with increases in consumer demand, this has led to some acute supply constraints. 

Our Actions

  • 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.

Learn More

Manufacturing Faces Potential Labor Shortage:

Worker Shortage: Overcoming Workforce Challenges in Manufacturing:  


The Big Picture

The good news is that there are ample supplies available of PE, PP, PET and resins, with PE prices flat and PET prices slightly lower of late. The price of PP is up, however, driven by an increase in the price of polymer grade propylene. Prices for recycled (PCR) resins, meanwhile, are mixed. PCR PET prices are down, but PCR HDPE prices are up—though still about 25% less than a year ago.  Three glass manufacturing plants in the US have shut down in 2023 as the cost to reinvest has grown substantially.

Our Actions

  • We are leveraging our reliable supply of domestic and international glass containers 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. 


The Big Picture

The latest US numbers show that prices are holding steady, with the annual inflation rate now standing at just 3.2%. And Americans have been shopping. Retail data suggests that the consumer spending spree may not be all rosy, however. Consumers are keeping a close eye on their household budgets and trading down for some items. Meanwhile, the annual inflation rate in the EU dropped to 2.4%; in the UK, to 3.3% in the latest numbers. While the recovery is good news for a battered global economy, not everyone is feeling the cheer. Australia’s economy barely grew in the latest numbers, with consumer spending characterized as surprisingly weak.


Learn More

Americans Are No Longer Ready to Shop Till They Drop: 

Australia’s Economy Slows to a Crawl:

Eurozone Inflation Sinks to 2.4%, Below Expectations:

Why Americans’ YOLO Spending Spree Baffles Economists:


Our team is working day and night to help you manage today’s uncertainty, and we’ll continue to harness our expansive resources and industry-leading capabilities to serve you. As your global packaging partner, we will continue to leverage our:

  • Unmatched purchasing power, access, and scale, including a vast supply network of more than 1,000 domestic and international suppliers
  • Financial strength to make investments that support supply
  • Strong relationships with strategic suppliers to increase capacity
  • Stable shipping connections, to move supply even in tough times like these
  • Team of sourcing experts, on the ground throughout the world, seeking new product options and negotiating supply for your benefit
  • Dedicated in-house quality professionals, preventing issues and assuring standards
  • Expert supply and demand forecasting to help you plan ahead, and strengthen continuity of your supply

For more, contact your TricorBraun packaging consultant or

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