Ocean Freight VS. COVID-19: Update

Ocean Freight VS. COVID-19: Update

Covid 19 has greatly affected freight, from air-freight prices skyrocketing to reduced ocean freight capacity.

 Uneeda brings in hundreds of containers from overseas annually, and we continuously stay on top of the Transpacific cargo market.

So what is happening?

With the initial hit of COVID, air-freight capacity was reduced as about 40% of air freight is moved via commercial airliners.

 As airlines canceled flights, they removed air-cargo capacity. This has since recovered a bit, but we are still seeing elevated air-freight rates.

The vast majority of material is transported by ocean freight, which has been affected by COVID-related issues as well.

When demand for ocean freight decreases, the carriers remove some ships from service and cancel the sailings. This is called a “Blank Sailing.” This reduces the capacity, which keeps rates high as supply lowers to meet the lower demand. It also means fewer ships on certain routes, so cost and lead times increase.

 There were a significant number of blank sailings in March, April and May which reduced the capacity coming eastbound into the US. This is expected to continue through July.

There was also a large push to prioritize PPE which took up additional space. This ultimately lead to a backlog of containers in Asia, extending shipping times.

Now, we are seeing carriers push for General Rate Increases to re-coup profits from canceled sailings. There is also a push to implement Peak-Season Surcharges as early as June 15. Combined, this could cause increases of over $1,000 per container in June alone.

In the short term, we expect to see reduced capacity and increased cost related to ocean-freight for at least June and July. Carriers are continuing to keep the ocean-freight capacity low to keep profits higher and combat the slowdown in global shipping.

What does this mean for our customers?

You should continue to plan far in advance on orders coming from overseas. As we always advise, it is better to have your material waiting at Uneeda for you ahead of time than for you to run out.

No matter what happens with ocean freight, we stand by the prices we quote and you will not need to worry about fluctuations in the market.

Once you submit a PO to Uneeda you are locked in on price. We urge customers to monitor their inventory and plan well in advance so that we can make sure material is here before it is needed. We make sure anything in our pipeline is scheduled properly;  mitigating any chance of cost increase or delays.  

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Welcome to Our Blog!

Welcome to Our Blog!

What’s this about?

Welcome to the Uneeda Bolt and Screw blog page! Whether you’re a customer, potential customer, vendor, or simply conducting research, this blog spot will have useful information for you. Stay tuned for cutting edge industry information, technical information articles, fun facts, or trending topics.

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The Scoop On Stainless.

The Scoop On Stainless.

A question we are often asked at Uneeda Bolt is: “What are the differences between the types of stainless steel?” or “Why would someone use stainless steel over steel parts, and what kind should I use?”

Let’s start with steel. There are multiple classes of steel: from Carbon Steel and Alloy Steel, to Tool Steel.

These steels have very low resistance to corrosion in most instances. Some coatings that are applied over the raw material can aid the fastener in surviving harsh conditions for a little while, but ultimately, they are rated for a limited number of hours in a salt spray lab.

When customers ask for corrosive resistance properties beyond what steel can provide, we often inform them about stainless steel. Like steel, there are many different alloys/grades of stainless steel. Each one varies by hardness and corrosive resistance properties.

400 Series S/S – 400 series can be heat treated. Heat-treated 400 series has great hardness properties, but much less corrosion resistance than other types of stainless steel listed below.

Self-tapping, self-drilling, and other fasteners that require hardness are often made from this grade of stainless steel because it provides the strength required in most applications, while still providing better anti-corrosion properties than steel. Many people choose to zinc plate their 410 stainless as well: zinc plating acts as a lubricant when installing, creates a barrier between the raw material and the application material, as well as being sacrificial in order to improve weathering properties. 400 series is magnetic; this is important because many original equipment manufacturers rely on magnetic bit holders in assembly.

302-304 S/S (18/8) – Often referred to as 18/8 stainless, this material is a general term for any grade stainless between 302 and 304. It gets its name for being an alloy containing 18% chromium and 8% nickel. This stainless steel is much more corrosion resistant than the 400 series previously mentioned. While this grade of stainless steel will not “rot,” it can bleed rusty color due to impurities being brought to the surface during the manufacturing process. This why 18/8 stainless should always be passivated.

Passivating removes the impurities and reduces the chance that color will bleed from the hardware (every 18/8 screw that Uneeda provides has been passivated). This type of hardware is often used in wet, outdoor environments. Because it is softer than 400 series stainless, it can only be used in certain applications where shear, tensile, drill, and cut strength of the fastener is a non-issue.

302 HQ (XM7) – Similar to 18/8 in corrosion resistance, this stainless steel is 300 series with 3% copper added in order to improve the material’s cold-working/forming ability. Because less work hardening occurs during the manufacturing process, these parts are softer because they are less subject to work hardening, yet tougher (even in insanely cold temperatures) than its 18/8 cousin. Deck screws are often made from 302HQ because it is less likely to snap during installation.

316 S/S – Also known as “surgical grade stainless steel,” this material is used often in environments next to bodies of saltwater, body jewelry, restaurant counters, and surgical tools. The reason this stainless steel is used in harsh environments where salt, chlorine, and other aggressive chemicals are used is that 316 stainless steel does not bleed its color and will never show any signs of rust under any circumstances. Can you imagine if a surgeon was operating with rusty scalpels and forceps? Like 18/8, this grade of stainless is extremely soft. This is the most expensive option when it comes to stainless steel fasteners.

If you have more questions pertaining to stainless steel, contact us! We will answer to the best of our ability.

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Pricing Factors: Exchange Rate

Pricing Factors: Exchange Rate

Relative to the US Dollar (USD), the Taiwanese Dollar (TWD) has strengthened in recent months.

The current exchange rate of around 30TWD per USD is the strongest the TWS has been since June of 2018.

In the past 6 months, we have seen the TWD increase in strength by about 4.1% from early August of 2019 to early February 2020.

Whereas material or labor costs only affect a portion of the cost of fasteners, the exchange rate affects the cost of fasteners with a 1:1 ratio.

Uneeda tracks exchange rates daily to mitigate risk and stabilize our pricing, as about 95% of all material is purchased through Taiwan.

Overseas material is paid for upfront at the time of order, so we look to optimize ordering when exchange rates are favorable to the USD.

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Cutting Tools, Drills Bits, and Driver Bits

Cutting Tools, Drills Bits, and Driver Bits

It’s no secret that we provide nuts, bolts, and screws, rivets, washers, stampings, etc. However, most customers don’t realize that we also provide a full line up of bits and cutting tools to install the fasteners we provide.

Uneeda Bolt and Screw is a proud master distributor of Drill America Cutting Tools, Drill Bits, and Driver Bits!

Drill America is a manufacturer of high quality, USA made tools and bits (as well as a high-quality import line, your choice!). We have been providing Drill America bits for decades and trust that they are the solution for practically all of our customers cutting, drilling, or driving needs.

This truly makes Uneeda Bolt and Screw the “one-stop-shop” for all of your fastener related items. Why buy your screws and bits from two different companies? Buy them all under one roof, with support under one roof, while consulting our fastener experts with hundreds of years of collective fastener experience. It’s a win-win!

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How to Count Screws: Weigh Counting

One of the most common questions we are asked is how we count such large quantities of fasteners and how accurate we are.

The answer is simple: Fasteners have always been weight counted.

Decades ago, fasteners were weighed using manual balance ratio scales. One piece in a sample tray was equivalent to 100 or 1000 pieces in a fill tray. Although fairly accurate, it took time for the scale to balance out and settle. If the sample used had an anomaly in weight that would affect the count as well.

An old manual balance ratio scale.

Today, all products at Uneeda are counted on GSE German Engineered and American Made Electronic scales that measure to 1/10000 of a pound. These scales allow the use of multiple pieces as a sample to create a much more accurate count. The scales are so sensitive that fans cannot be used in the warehouse as they significantly affect the weight count!

A new GSE scale that we currently use at Uneeda.

We confirm all of our scales’ accuracy each morning and have them professionally calibrated as needed. As an ISO 9001:2015 certified distributor, we also have the scales certified and calibrated at least once annually.

We invite you to come visit our facility and bring any item you would like counted, be it our material, another supplier or any unrelated material. This service is offered to everyone free of charge. Feel free to contact us at any time to set up an appointment.

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Pricing Factors: Nickel

Pricing Factors: Nickel

To keep everyone in the loop with what we are seeing in the market recently, we wanted to offer an update on two factors we are keeping a close eye on. We have been going back and forth with factories overseas for the past few weeks as we see prices are increasing a bit.

Specifically, the price of Nickel has increased about 50% since January 2019 and many of the mills that make the wire for screws have been rejecting orders for wire. If the price of Nickel continues to climb, they will be able to charge more for the raw material. This will especially affect 18/8 stainless steel parts, which have a relatively high Nickel content. China Steel of Taiwan, which has a closed-market for Taiwanese steel wire, confirmed that they expect to keep prices for steel wire stable for Q4 2019.

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Uneeda Bolt and Screw: More than Just Bolts and Screws

Uneeda Bolt and Screw: More than Just Bolts and Screws

Uneeda Bolt is often associated with nuts, bolts, and screws (we wonder why…). Customers often don’t realize that we do much more. We work along-side our customers to create solutions to their issues. Sometimes, this means creating custom parts or selling them items we wouldn’t usually handle. We like to think this is what sets us apart from our competition.

While we provide countless customers with specialty and custom parts, we also stock items that most people wouldn’t think to call us for:

Cable Ties: we are a distributor for ACT cable ties. These are by far the best cable ties (also referred to as zip ties) in the industry. They are made right in Connecticut, USA.

Wire Nuts: also from ACT, we have access to an extensive line-up of wire nuts.

Castings & Stampings

Plastic Injection Parts

Rivets: We carry a wide variety of blind rivets. We also provide rivet tools and services. We are a POP-Certified repair shop.

Fittings: Uneeda can provide a broader variety of fittings than you can find in a big box store.

Drill Bits: Need drill bits? We have you covered. Uneeda is a USA drill bit distributor, including Drill America brand quality bits.

Taps & Dies: We don’t just sell products with threads on them, we can also sell you the tools to make your own threads!

For more information on any of our products or line-ups, click here for the “products” section of our website or contact us!

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