Supply chain impact from Japan disaster measured
It was expected, but the financial impact of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that struck Japan in March has finally been quantified.
Japan’s trade balance fell in April for the first time in three months, as infrastructure issues and supply chain problems caught up to the disaster-stricken nation.
There was some good news in Japan’s trade deficit, however. Bloomberg economists predicted a shortfall of over Y700 billion ($8.54 billion), but The Financial Times is reporting the actually deficit is Y463.7 billion ($5.7 billion).
Exports declined by 12.5 percent in April from a year earlier, while imports rose by 8.9 percent due to a higher petroleum and energy demand.
Global icons Toyota, Sony and Hitachi were among the hardest Japanese-based companies hit, while companies like Apple, based outside of Japan, are feeling the effects of supply shortages from crippled Japanese factories.
Toyota lost 170,000 units of production in March, with some analysts predicting the company could lose between 1-2 million vehicles because of the limited production. That would put Toyota’s stake as the world’s largest car manufacturer in jeopardy, with General Motors and Volkswagen ready to move up on the list.
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According to Daiwa chief economist Mitsumaru Kumagai, the export decline is being caused by production bottlenecks rather than a staggering world economy, meaning export levels should return to normal as soon as production recovers.
Imports are expected to remain constant, however, as materials will be needed to rebuild Japan’s infrastructure. Energy demand will remain high, as the nation is still dealing with the loss of electricity generated by the effected nuclear power plants.
Kuehne+Nagel cuts carbon footprint by 70% for Honda China
Around 16,000 tonnes of CO2 has been cut from supply chain of Honda's China-based manufacturing division through a road-to-rail transformation in partnership with logistics leader Kuehne+Nagel.
The programme was developed through KN Sincero, the joint venture between Swiss headquartered Kuehne+Nagel and Chinese automotive logistics firm Sincero, established in 2018.
KN Sincero worked with Honda China to develop an integrated solution to convert much of its domestic long-haul trucking to train lines, using regional hubs to improve supply chain performance and further reduce carbon emissions. The programme delivered consolidations as well as value-added services, including sorting, scanning, repackaging, GPS track and trace, and recyclable container management.
"Kuehne+Nagel has always been a supply chain partner that we can rely on, to help us improve our supply chain performance whilst also achieving our environmental goals,” said Mr. Jiang Hui and Mr. Takuji Kitamura, Joint General Manager of Wuhan Dong Hon, the logistics affiliate of Dongfong Honda Automotive.
After six months of shifting to the road-to-rail model, new supply chain reliability and efficiencies are expected too trip 16,000 tonnes of carbon emissions annually. The carbon savings represent an enormous 70% reduction in total.
"Automotive is one of the most important sectors in contract logistics, particularly in China, the world’s largest automotive market,” added Gianfranco Sgro, member of the Management Board of Kuehne + Nagel International AG, responsible for Contract Logistics. “I am glad that Kuehne+Nagel and Honda share a common vision of service, innovation and sustainability.”
Kuehne+Nagel’s Net Zero Carbon programme
Kuehne+Nagel announced its Net Zero Carbon programme in 2019 with a dual purpose to reduce CO2 output in its own logistics operations, as well as partnering with organisations to minimise their own impact on the planet. Kuehne+Nagel reached carbon neutrality globally in 2020 throughout its own, direct emissions, and is now focused on developing its capabilities to serve partners.
Dr. Detlef Trefzger, Chief Executive Officer of Kuehne+Nagel International AG, said the programme is “a package of measures to fight CO2 emissions and provide sustainable and innovative supply chain solutions – hand in hand with our suppliers and customers”.
As part of the initiative, Kuehne+Nagel established its own nature projects in Myanmar and New Zealand, and invested in ‘nature-based’ carbon dioxide compensation projects to strip harmful emissions from the environment. It is committed to being CO2 neutral for shipments in its network of transport suppliers by 2030.