March 2024 Updates on the Global Supply Chain

Mar 27, 2024Market Advisory

With one step forward in the global supply chain, other issues and unforeseen disruptions cause additional challenges.

GDL and DB Come to an Agreement

The German Train Drivers’ Union (GDL) and Deutsche Bahn (DB), the national train operator, reached an agreement regarding ongoing labor disputes that resulted in multiple service disruptions across the network. The five-month dispute centered on demands to reduce working hours and combat concerns related to inflation and staffing shortages.

After negotiations stalled in February, warning strikes commenced early this month. The two sides resumed talks in mid-March and announced an agreement this week. DB agreed to gradually reduce working hours to 35 per week by 2029 without reducing pay. Workers can also choose to work up to 40 hours per week, with a pay increase of 2.7 percent. The agreement includes an inflation compensation bonus and wage increases that will be rolled out in two steps by 2025. GDL also agreed to suspend the possibility of further labor strikes at least until February 2026.

Plan for Upcoming Bank Holidays

Potential labor strikes are only one of many possible disruptions to anticipate when planning logistics and managing supply chains. Extensive effort is made to be proactive and mitigate these disruptions. The agreement between GDL and DB has ended the risk disruptions from labor disputes, but upcoming bank holidays are an important consideration when planning your shipping needs. Upcoming holidays and closures include:

  • May 1st, all over Germany
  • May 9th, all over Germany
  • May 19th, all over Germany
  • May 20th, all over Germany
  • May 30th, some states in Germany

These holidays and other national and international holidays globally have the potential to cause delays and even additional charges when not properly integrated. At TOC Logistics, we constantly monitor trends, current events, holidays, and other disruption risks.

Political Strikes in Finland

TOC and ProTrans’ operations focus heavily on Europe and Asia, managing supply chains to and from North America, but our team continues to monitor events worldwide. While strikes in Germany have ended, the Finnish trade unions announced that political strikes that began on March 11th will continue until April 8th. 

These strikes, in protest of proposed labor reforms by the Finnish government, have brought imports and exports to a near standstill at Finland’s main ports of Helsinki, Kotka, Turku, and Rauma. According to The Central Organization of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK), labor unions participating in the strike include the Automotive and Transport Workers’ Union (AKT), the Finnish Industry Association, the Construction Union, the Service Trade Union (PAM), the Electricity Union, and the Public and Welfare Union (JHL).

Disruptions in the Port of Baltimore

This week has also brought a marine standstill in the Port of Baltimore with the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge. On Tuesday, a container ship collided with a support pillar in the early morning hours, sending the bridge crashing into the Patapsco River.

The Port of Baltimore is a major transportation hub for vehicles, containers, and commodities. According to the Maryland Port Administration, the Port of Baltimore ranks first in the United States for the volume of automobiles and light trucks, handling around 850,000 in 2023. Although Baltimore is not a leading port for container ships, the bridge collapse will likely cause a ripple of disruptions over the coming weeks.


Our capable and experienced team is standing by to assist organizations and supply chains across the globe. Click the button to get in touch with our team.

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