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The supply chain crisis is leaving hundreds of cargo ships stuck outside ports while more and more store shelves go empty around the nation as consumer demand intensifies amid the busy holiday shopping season. Truck and rail freight are also completely congested, falling victim to the slow-arriving cargo from international suppliers and a persistent labor shortage. But the crisis is also impacting supply chains on a local level, with many construction projects having to be put off across several U.S. cities, according to government officials.
Many big urban centers and small towns around the country are similarly struggling with the latest slowdown in the global supply chain, which has been leaving thousands of projects only halfway ready. Some key building materials cannot be found anywhere anymore, and even though companies have started ordering more supplies to fight local shortages, extended delivery delays mean that construction will remain halted for the foreseeable future.
“You’re having delays on any type of materials,” added Dothan Mayor Mark Saliba. “Any infrastructure work involving pipe is hard to get. Electrical supplies are hard to get. Paint has been put on backorders. And it ranges from three months to 1- 1/2 years. Nearly everything we have is delayed.”
Industry experts are warning that the combination of extreme weather this winter plus the emergence of a new virus variant are creating a “logistic nightmare” that will leave gaps on stores shelves until 2023. Even before the health crisis, transporting empty containers around the world significantly increased shipping costs. And the fast spread of a new virus strain is making everything a whole lot worse.
In China, new lockdowns and travel restrictions have sparked another surge in container demand, as manufacturers rush to export household goods before borders are effectively closed. That has set off a cascade effect, prompting intermittent and ongoing shocks across the global supply chain, draining spare shipping and port capacity. In short, if it was difficult meeting consumer demand before, now it has become almost impossible.
With the new port closures, logistics are severely compromised and maritime transportation services are in. And conditions are set to get worse, because another problem is raising concerns too. A devastating water shortage in China may be the factor that pushes U.S. supply chains over the edge.
The country is dramatically short on the water it needs to maintain its economy. A recent report published by The Hill has exposed that China’s per capita water availability is one-quarter of the global average, and nearly 700 million of its citizens are currently living in regions considered highly water-stressed.
China’s water shortages are having a massive impact in electrical power generation, and the nation’s hydroelectric and coal power producers are facing severe hardships due to irregular water access. Chinese officials have responded to the widespread power outages by cutting down on industrial energy consumption, and as a consequence, the nation’s manufacturers are facing another series of disruptions.
That’s where things get tricky for America’s supply chains. The United States imports huge quantities of manufactured goods from China, including 70 percent of Walmart’s store merchandise, and 40 percent of all the clothing items sold around the country. China is also the main producer of key industrial products that we use to finish our domestic construction projects, such as steel, aluminum and
All of this is resulting in the aggravation of the global container shortage, and pushing shipping costs to levels never seen before in all history. Michelle Bockmann, the markets editor for Lloyd’s List, warned that supply costs are spiraling “out of control” due to the latest port closures. Bockmann revealed that spot rates for transporting a single container have rocketed by 366 percent in the past year while longer-term shipping contract rates shot up up by 465 percent.
Andrew Goodacre, the Chief Executive for the British Independent Retailers Association echoed Bockmann’s comments and alerted that costs will be passed onto U.S. consumers.“The inflation in the supply chain is much higher than the consumer inflation you are seeing at 5 percent,” Goodacre pointed out, outlining that the situation is becoming unsustainable and that businesses are likely to pass on a higher share of those increased shipping costs to consumers.
2022 will definitely be difficult year. With the economy slumping, markets crashing, and supply chains breaking apart, we should all brace for some serious challenges in the months ahead. Our country is rapidly collapsing into chaos, and all factors are aligning to change the course of our history.