Inflationary pressures will continue to rise throughout the coming holiday season due to enduring disruptions in the global supply chain.
A dearth of supply chain staff stemming from truck drivers to dockworkers continues to plague offloading operations as well as distribution of goods, with fully loaded cargo ships anchored off the coasts of New York and Los Angeles, two of the country’s busiest ports, the Daily Mail reported Friday.
And, the outlet added, the longer the supply chain disruptions continue, the higher prices for various goods will be heading into Thanksgiving and Christmas due to product shortages.
One shipping supervisor told the outlet that the current situation is “extraordinary,” as the paper noted further that the backlog of container ships is substantial off New York’s harbor but worse in Los Angeles, where as many as 73 vessels are currently anchored out at sea and awaiting their turn to be offloaded.
“Many shoppers across the United States and the rest of the world have noticed shortages of everyday products in recent weeks, with Costco recently limiting the amount of toilet paper and cleaning products its customers can buy amid the supply crunch,” the Daily Mail reported. “Plastic products are also becoming scarce. Production of a wide range of electronic devices and cars has slowed down because of microchip shortages.”
Because shortages are expected to continue into the foreseeable future, consumer experts have been advising Americans to start their holiday shopping cycle as early as possible to make sure they can get the items they want on time.
In an open letter this week, a group of international shipping unions issued a stark warning that a “global transport systems collapse” is imminent thanks in large part to enduring pandemic shutdowns and restrictions, which threw the global supply chain into chaos beginning last year.
“We are witnessing unprecedented disruptions and global delays and shortages on essential goods including electronics, food, fuel and medical supplies,” said the letter signed by a bevy of transport union bosses from the International Air Transport Association, the International Transport Workers’ Federation, and the International Chamber of Shipping, among others.
“The impact of nearly two years’ worth of strain, placed particularly upon maritime and road transport workers, but also impacting air crews, is now being seen,” the letter continued. ‘Their continued mistreatment is adding pressure on an already crumbling global supply chain.
“At the peak of the crew change crisis 400,000 seafarers were unable to leave their ships, with some seafarers working for as long as 18 months over their initial contracts,” it added. “Flights have been restricted and aviation workers have faced the inconsistency of border, travel, restrictions, and vaccine restrictions/requirements.
“Additional and systemic stopping at road borders has meant truck drivers have been forced to wait, sometimes weeks, before being able to complete their journeys and return home,” the union bosses noted further, calling on governments to prioritize vaccines for transportation workers and grant them more freedom of movement.
One problem — the cargo ship backlog — stems from another — the shortage of dockworkers and truck drivers.
“As long as cargo doesn’t move off terminals, it does impede the amount that can come off the ship,” Bethann Rooney, deputy port director of Port of New York and New Jersey, told the Journal of Commerce. “Since terminals are at or near capacity, they can’t turn over the ship as quickly because there’s no room at the inn.”
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