Demand, Ocean Rates, and How Dukal is Working to Create a Resilient Healthcare Industry


Demand, Ocean Rates, and How Dukal is Working to Create a Resilient Healthcare Industry


At the beginning of Covid-19, global trade found itself at a standstill. As the American economy rebounded, American consumers, unable to spend on travel or dining, bought goods at staggering levels. Thus, requiring the now static shipping business to grapple with a sudden change of pace - amid a global pandemic.  

In response, companies needed to locate container ships and the many empty containers largely stranded throughout the United States. Many steamship lines canceled their sailing trips during the outbreak of  

Covid-19, creating an imbalance of empty containers throughout the world. This gap in available containers was just the beginning of the dominos to fall and cause the crippling demand/space/rate crunch we find ourselves in today.  

In March, the Ever Given, one of the largest container ships globally, blocked the Suez Canal for nearly a week. Adding to the growing global shortage of containers, ships now found themselves out-to-sea while awaiting the blockage to be cleared. Then, to add insult to injury, there was a Covid-19 outbreak at the Yantian Terminal in China in May 2021, causing one of the busiest ports in the world to shut down from May 25-27. Additional Covid-19 lockdowns and natural disasters have continued to strain shipping efforts into the summer months.  

So, where are we now? 
Container rates continue to surge to record levels because demand continues to exceed the availability of 20 and 40-foot containers. China's trade boom shows no sign of letting up, with exports hitting the third-largest record in May 2021. Even before peak season, the Port of Los Angeles is operating at about 160% capacity. 

Source: FreightWaves

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What's the outlook? 
U.S. consumers have plenty of extra spending power after saving more during the Covid-19 crisis. With peak season, back to school, holiday purchasing, and restocking already underway- there is no end in sight to the demand and the record ocean freight rates.  

Dukal's response to the 2020 global pandemic 
2020 certainly tested the entire healthcare supply chain.  

As a New York-based company, Dukal felt a personal and human need to be part of the solution. 24/7 communication with some of the largest healthcare systems in the country, our company worked tirelessly to protect PPE inventory while offering transparency and trust amid a healthcare crisis. This constant dialogue helped Dukal successfully serve our end user, not only in New York but nationally, as the virus and need spread. We are incredibly proud of Dukal's high level of execution and humbled, seeing firsthand the time and effort from all levels of the supply chain (i.e., factories, freight partners, distributors, and providers). Our combined dedication allowed our communities to continue to be served, despite the most strained national health crisis of our lives. 

How Dukal is creating a resilient healthcare industry in response to Covid-19? 
At Dukal, we are working to ensure a resilient healthcare industry.  

In discussions with providers, we've learned that many see a limited view of the total available product options in the market. Dukal's 30+ years serving healthcare with over 3,000 high-quality products positions us as a great partner to drive cost savings and/or provide a supply safety net of critical supply categories to health systems. 

Dukal's Guaranteed Inventory Program ensures providers have the inventory they need when they need it.  

Supply chain vulnerability was top of mind for supply chain executives coming into 2021. As a result, providers continue to focus on minimizing supply chain risk going forward. Dukal is dedicated to supply redundancy and diversification globally. Dukal continues to look at our supply chain and constantly evolve it to ensure that we stand ready to provide the absolute highest level of service to our customers, whether political shifts, natural disasters, or another global pandemic. 

After the sacrifices and unwavering dedication of everyone serving U.S. healthcare during Covid-19, we owe it to them and all they serve. 


> For more information about Dukal's Guaranteed Inventory Program, contact your local Dukal sales rep or email us at

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