By Chris Connell :: January 2, 2021
2020 is drawing to a close, and we’re looking back over one of the craziest years. It was a challenging time, including a pandemic that forced the world to operate in what we hope is a “temporary new normal.” Still, some beautiful moments of family and community kept us all going in even the darkest of times. This year we celebrated anniversaries, birthdays, successes, and the quiet translated into found moments among the people we love.
This year started with some good news as the U.S. and China finalized negotiations on the first phase of a trade deal. Hot on that agreement’s heels came news of the Coronavirus or COVID-19. While it didn’t become a shelter-in-place reality until mid-March, it dominated talks as early as February. Almost like dominoes, commodity by commodity, airlines grounded passenger flights, and the new term of “belly charters” to manage the PPE cargo entered our vocabulary. In the early days, we only expected a few weeks of disruption rolled into a major tear-down of schedule air cargo lift in our near, middle and looks like the longer term.
The lockdowns caused sea carriers to blank sail, leading to months of equipment issues and rolled bookings for many who didn’t have a plan in place. The equipment and space problems pummeled shippers and logistics professionals when people didn’t stop shopping. Instead, homebound customers turned their entertainment budgets to shopping budgets, leading to the most extraordinary import surge we’ve seen on the U.S. west coast – further exacerbating the equipment and shipment troubles as space dried up and boxes faded from sight.
Besides the pandemic, we also made it through civil unrest; elections; a continuing dialog on the importance of social justice the passing of RBG, Kobe, Eddie Van Halen, Chadwick Boseman, and Alex Trebek; wildfires; murder hornets; Quibi; the pentagon released UFO images; and the Tiger King. If 2020 was a seasonal dramedy, the overarching narrative might have been COVID-19 this season, but we had enough to keep everyone tuning in.
CFI talked about the dangers surrounding our food supply chains in the first of two three-part blog series. The pandemic reminded us that every facet of our logistics is interconnected. When that initial panic-buying subsided, and people could access their staple goods, we moved to talk about mental health. Our CFI Cares series tried to shed light on our team’s emotional needs alongside the professional alterations we needed to make. We turned our focus to giving back, raising awareness, building camaraderie, and saying thank you to our work family.
Nobody would call 2020 a great year, but we’re working to come away with a better understanding of our job and our team, making us feel great about what we have done together. Nobody can know what 2021 will bring, but I’m proud to face it as a CFI team no matter what we face.
Take a collective breath, appreciate what you have accomplished in these trying times and let us get back at it for 2021.
Thanks again for your hard work and support in 2020.