With the development and rollout of vaccines, people are starting to rejoin society and emerge from local lockdowns. As these lockdowns are lifted, there has been a sharp increase in the demand for products.
The problem is, not everyone around the globe is working at the same pace. Some foreign ports have remained closed longer than expected due to the pandemic. Factories overseas saw lockdowns extend longer than expected. This has caused the manufacturing of goods to be behind schedule amidst a busy buying season.
Where do we look for answers?
China has been suffering from power shortages which have greatly decreased production from its factories. This may make it difficult for consumables for the holiday buying season hard to find.
Furthermore, bottlenecks in supply chain can also be attributed to labor shortages. There are shortages of workers everywhere from warehousing to trucking. There has been a fair amount of finger pointing and rumors on social media blaming truck driver shortages in California due to state regulations. However, experts say that trucking regulations aren’t to blame as a majority of the trucks on the road today are in compliance with these state regulations.
In fact, there are plenty of trucks at these ports. There simply isn’t’ enough space for trucks to drop their empty containers. In order for a truck to pick up a full container, fresh off a ship, they must first off load the empty container returning to port. There simply isn’t any place to put them and some are backing up into residential streets around the ports.
Who is affected the most?
From manufacturing to shipping, these bottlenecks really shine a light on how interconnected industries really are. With so many cargo ships waiting to offload their shipping containers the supply chain disruption is quickly turning into a crisis.
There is a labor shortage almost every step of the way. From manufacturing the physical goods to a crucial need for truck drivers to help offload the container ships at the ports, goods can be held in limbo for weeks or even months.
This only hurts the consumer in the long run. They are the ones that feel the cost hike and prolonged wait times. The US Postal Service has even announced that it has started slowing deliveries in an effort to cut costs.
What can we do to combat this?
While there isn’t a clear definition and most experts will tell you it’s going to get worse before it gets better, we can only try to wait this out. This may not run it’s course until mid-2022.
Some trucking companies are offering triple figure salaries and unbeatable sign-on and retention bonuses. This is making the job market extremely competitive for drivers. It can be said that a CDL is worth its weight in gold right now.
In an effort to combat this as a consumer, without panic buying, it might be a good idea to stock up now. Not on toilet paper, but possibly your children’s Christmas gifts. Get your necessities for your holiday season now before we are seeing empty shelves this November.