04 June 2020

    Since May 27, curfews have been announced in over 40 cities and 15 states amid nationwide protests against police brutality, inequality, and racism. Major cities include San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City, Washington D.C., Dallas, Miami, and Chicago, while the Governor of Arizona has issued a statewide Declaration of Emergency with a curfew in place from May 31 to June 7.

    The federal government has mobilized its border agencies to work alongside local law enforcement and the National Guard. U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to invoke the Insurrection Act that would enable duty troops to be deployed in U.S. cities, although this has reportedly been opposed internally by the U.S. defense secretary and the Pentagon.

    Amid the protests and riots, retail stores have been forced to close in order to protect employees and property. U.S. retail chain Target has closed six locations in the U.S. until further notice to protect employees whose safety may be compromised. This comes on the heel of extensive closures that retail businesses have been facing due to COVID-19 restrictions and is expected to exacerbate difficulties for both small and large retails stores.

    Widespread protests are impacting package deliveries across the country. Delivery companies, including Amazon, UPS, and FedEx, are re-routing drivers around protests, cutting off deliveries after local curfews, and scaling back operations in response to the demonstrations. The changes are expected to cause delays where protests are ongoing and curfews are imposed.

    Late last week, Amazon was reportedly forced to limit deliveries and shift routes in some cities (including Los Angeles and Chicago) that have been hit by the protests. Drivers were instructed to return from their routes and leave undelivered packages to the pick-up location whenever it was possible to do so. The company also closed some facilities and said drivers would be re-routed to ensure that delivery routes are secure.

    Furthermore, the protests have impacted public transportation availability, and businesses are reporting staffing shortages as employees are unable to get to work due to restrictions and curfews. Due to these restrictions, last-mile delivery of goods is being impacted, and in some cases, afternoon delivery schedules need to be adjusted to curfew times.

    Last-mile shipment deliveries may be on hold by logistics providers if areas where localized protests are taking place are deemed unsafe. As of June 4, air and ocean freight are mostly unaffected, though cargo movement in and out of cities may continue to face disruptions due to movement restrictions from overnight curfews.

    As the situation remains fluid and protests may escalate, organizations are advised to use mapping tools to visualize their transport routes and monitor developing events that can impact the movement of cargo. This can help assess the lanes that may be affected by not just the unrest, but also the curfews and checkpoints that have been set-up, and enable firms to replan shipments proactively where possible in order to mitigate potential delays.

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