Afternoon Coffee: East and Gulf Coast Dockworkers Reach Tentative Labor Agreement, Brazil Supply Chains Could Take Weeks to Normalize Following Roadblocks

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Transportation managers are breathing a sigh of relief Thursday as dockworkers at U.S. East and Gulf Coast seaports reached a tentative six-year contract agreement with the port operators, the Wall Street Journal reports. The parties said they hoped to have local agreements that go along with the broader master contract finished by July 10, 2018, which members would then follow with a ratification vote.

Brazil Disruptions 

The logistics situation in Brazil, however, is less positive. Following highway shutdowns by more than 600,000 truckers protesting against rising fuel costs, Lloyd’s Loading List reports it will take weeks for supply chain operations in the country to normalize. The strikes led to widespread shortages of medicine, food and fuel, and Brazil’s economy is expected to contract as a result of the actions.

Microsoft Drowns a Data Center 

Microsoft is taking an interesting new approach to energy savings for its data centers: sinking them deep into the ocean. As Quartz reports, “because oceans are uniformly cool below a certain depth, keeping the machines under the sea would cut down the cooling costs that make up a large chunk of the operating budget of data centers.” Microsfot’s first attempt at this, called Project Natick, has placed a data center 100 ft below the surface of the North Sea near the U.K.’s Orkney islands, fully powered by renewable energy.

Worker Productivity  

And finally, an economic update: The Labor Department said Wednesday nonfarm productivity rose at a 0.4% annualized rate in Q1 2018, less quickly than the 0.7% pace it reported in May, according to CNBC. Growth in unit labor costs, however, was stronger, indicating that inflation pressures continue to build up in the economy.

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