Afternoon Coffee: Shipping disruptions following Beirut blast; Kodak probe halts pharma supply chain contract; artificial intelligence to improve shipping times for consumers?

Shipping companies diverted vessels away from the damaged Beirut port following a massive explosion there last week in a waterfront warehouse, the Wall Street Journal reported. The explosion, which appears to be an accident from stored fertilizer, killed more than 100 people and devastated Lebanon’s main trading gateway.

Several carriers shifted Beirut-bound ships to other ports in the Mediterranean in response to the explosion and its damaging effects. CMA GGM SA, a French container line, said in a statement it was working “to guarantee perfect business continuity and to maintain the supply of primary necessities to the country,” according to the article.

Kodak loan for drug ingredients halted over insider trading investigation

A potential federal contract for Eastman Kodak to produce pharmaceutical ingredients within the U.S. was postponed after allegations of insider trading developed, CBS News reports.

Kodak, traditionally known for its film products, was set to receive a $765 million loan from the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation to enhance their production of drug ingredients that are in short supply within the U.S., according to the article. The loan was going to help pay for expansion and renovations for two of its larger plants.

Kodak announced Friday it was conducting an internal review related to the loan. The SEC is in the early stages of its investigations, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Logistics companies want to use AI data to quicken supply chain

Logistics companies may soon begin using artificial intelligence data to ship goods ahead of consumers’ decisions to purchase and order the product, according to Supply Chain Dive. Its report said that more than 60% of companies will begin using AI in the next three to five years.

The phenomenon is becoming known as “preemptive logistics,” which relies on a broader industry information sharing system that includes the proper visibility required to send the right type and quantity of goods to a client, according to the article. The report found that the inability to share accurate information between customers and suppliers is a roadblock. In addition, the COVID-19 disruption has proven to be a large challenge for companies.

In an ideal world, shippers would be able to "predict the demand for products, services and solutions before customers even make purchase decisions ... (and) all parties will be able to see where and in what condition the shipments are (age, temperature, vibration, etc.)," according to Ericsson's report.

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