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Vivek Vaid - CTOVivek VaidChief Technology Officer, FourKites

As concerns grow about the COVID-19 outbreak, FourKites data shows a strong uptick in essential products in the last month.

Supply chains have been under peak stress due to the COVID-19 outbreak. With Americans hunkering down, there’s been a rush to stock up on supplies at supermarkets and warehouses. And while many stores have reported running out of products like toilet paper and hand sanitizer, data collected from the FourKites platform finds that global supply chains remain resilient even in the face of sky-rocketing demand.

The latest FourKites data found the average shipment volumes of food and beverage products and consumer packaged goods rose 17% and 38%, respectively, from the prior month. That increased pace of activity came against the backdrop of higher demand for products in both categories. CPG items include a range of consumables and require routine replacement, while F&B products – meant for human consumption – include prepared and packaged foods, as well as alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages.

Over the last three weeks, demand for CPG items increased from 4% to 13% to 18%.

Over the same period, the uptick in demand for F&B products was more moderate, climbing 2% to 8%, and then falling back to 7%.

But as the drumbeat of news about COVID-19 got louder, Americans responded by going shopping for provisions in greater numbers. Our data found a 26% weekend spike in demand for F&B products compared with the same period a month earlier. In the CPG category, demand was even higher at 48%.

Taking a more granular look at the data, here are the increases in goods that moved over the last four weeks:

COVID-19's Impact on the US Supply Chain


For additional context, we saw the following year-over-year increases in load volume by industry: 29% increase in Food & Beverage loads; 18% increase in CPG loads; 6% increase in Food Distribution loads; and 6% increase in Paper & Packaging loads.

To be clear, we have seen mass supply chain disruption before. For instance, the Icelandic volcano led to a significant halt in air travel. Hurricane Katrina, and the bankruptcy (on very short notice) of the ocean line Hanjin also wreaked havoc. But the compressed timeline and global scale of the COVID-19 disruption is generating some unprecedented circumstances. Nonetheless, while we’ve never seen disruptions of this magnitude, supply chains have held up admirably. FourKites is seeing that manifest in a record number of loads we’re tracking on our platform.

As the impact of COVID-19 continues to unfold in the weeks ahead, we’ll continue to share with you the patterns we see emerging from FourKites platform data.

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