10 Top Datasets for an Inside Look at the Supply-Chain Logjam


  • The pandemic has slowed the global supply chain for goods, from food to furniture.
  • Hedge funds are closely monitoring the situation as the busy holiday shopping season approaches.
  • Insider zeroed in on 10 of the most-mentioned datasets for tracking supply-chain hit stocks.

With the manufacturing and delivery of goods facing logjams around the world — resulting in delays of everything from furniture to food — hedge funds and other so-called smart-money investors are desperate to get a handle on how this could affect their trades.

It’s resulting in growing demand for big-picture data on everything from computer chips to ocean freights, hedge fund managers and data providers tell Insider.

“They’re looking at geolocation data. You know, what is the average wait time at the ports, and how long are our containers sitting at the ports, how long are trucks sitting at the ports to load,” explained Craig Fuller, CEO of FreightWaves. FreightWaves is one of several data providers that tracks the movement of cargo from factory to store.

Before the pandemic, Fuller said less than a dozen hedge funds were clients; now it’s “a much larger multiple of that,” with two or three funds a day reaching out.

“It’s all about the supply chain right now and so we’re seeing an unprecedented amount of activity,” he said. 

With the holiday shopping season fast approaching, the supply-chain crunch is going to be a focus for everyone from politicians to executives to grandparents shopping for Christmas gifts. Already, President Joe Biden has promised that Los Angeles’ port will operate around-the-clock to break through the logjam. Companies have used the phrase “supply chain” thousands of times in earnings calls already this year.

“Supply chain is taking center stage on earnings calls as the supply chain is a disaster,” Scott Mushkin, an analyst at R5 Capital, told Bloomberg. “Honestly, there is a chance the system breaks down during the holidays.”

There are straightforward trades funds can make — like shorting a retailer reliant on computer chips because semiconductor production fell — as well as interconnected ones being tracked by sharp macro minds. Supply-chain data is critical for measuring the ripple effects of a vast global logistics network.

“It’s important for firms to have at least a general landscape of how companies are connected with respect to upstream and downstream relationships,” said Chris Petrescu, the founder of data consultancy CP Capital and a former data executive at ExodusPoint.

Insider talked to a half dozen industry experts to get a sense of what datasets are best at monitoring supply chains across the globe. Here are the 10 data vendors that top funds are relying on.

1. ClipperData

shipping containers

A container cargo ship in Rotterdam Harbour on April 4, 2021 in the Netherlands. Rotterdam is the largest shipping port outside of Asia.

Niels Wenstedt/BSR Agency/Getty Images

Billed as the top commodity data company, ClipperData tracks oil, chemicals, grains, and other commodities while they are at sea. Users can see where individual ships are, what they are carrying, and where and when they are set to dock.

2. FreightWaves

Read More: 10 Top Datasets for an Inside Look at the Supply-Chain Logjam

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