The global supply chain has been under pressure since December 2019, leading to bottlenecks and delays. At the start of the pandemic it was only due to the closure of ports in China and the Far East, but now port congestion is at its worst in the US and Europe.
Ocean freight prices are at historic peaks because of high demand of ocean services due to China’s October Golden Week, Christmas and Chinese New Year.
“Logistical breakups at shipping ports, driven in part by worker shortages and Covid outbreaks, have doubled the time it takes for some products to make their way from Asia to the U.S,” NBC’s Teaganne Finn writes. Shipping issues become Biden’s latest economic challenge. On Wednesday 13th October 2021 he announced that Walmart, FedEx and UPS will up their efforts to address current supply chain issues. Biden said in his speech, “Never again should we have to rely too heavily on one company or one country or one person in the world, particularly when countries don’t share our values when it comes to labor and environmental standards.” He also said, “Our goal is not only to get through this immediate bottleneck but to address the long-standing weaknesses in our transportation supply chain that this pandemic has exposed.”
Small business leader “Gluth Bohan” the CEO and owner of a chemical distribution company said they have been dealing with delays for over a year now. They are in acute shortage of citric acid, caustic soda, propylene glycol for applications from industrial cleaning to beverages to the suspension fluid for vaccines, all sourced form South Korea and Southeast Asia. She said, “What the public needs to understand is that this isn’t just for items that you get for Christmas shipping. This is for items that you use to clean your clothes or to have liquid oxygen and ventilators at a hospital,”
Small businesses are hopeful that shipping bottlenecks may begin to ease after President’s initiative in which he ordered the congested port of Los Angeles to run 24/7 till next 3 months. But expert opinion are very different. A shipping analyst “Peter Sand” told Yahoo Finance, “We are basically seeing a global all-but-breakdown of the supply chain from end-to-end. According to Sand, trade volume between the Far East and North America is “rising so fast” now, it about 25% higher than 2019 level. The movement of all trade shifted from East to West. He added, “Supply chain issues could last unit the early parts of 2023.” The crisis be extend worldwide. Please note that the United Nations has already warned of a deadly famine around the world in the coming days. “Famine knocking at the door of 41 million worldwide,” WFP warns.
So, be alert and prepare yourself in advance.