Ultimately, the current state of supply chain congestion is an issue of supply and demand caused by the global pandemic which created a sudden shift from typical consumer purchasing tendencies. With lockdowns effectively shutting down dining out, travel, and all kinds of entertainment venues, consumers looked for at-home alternatives for just about everything.
COVID Variants Slowing Return to Standard Consumer Activities
Making matters worse, COVID variants continue to stymie the transition back to traditional activities and import demand has remained elevated to such a point that retailer stock has dwindled in the US, nearing historic lows.
Retailers are given no other choice but to add to the already soaring demand as they seek to restock shelves in time for peak buying seasons. This massive shift in consumer habits is still lurching, in fits, back to something resembling normalcy. For now, the demand for imported products from Asia remains elevated to the point of outstripping the supply chain’s ability to maintain its own supply.
Issues Throughout the Supply Chain
Bottlenecking at ports has become a major issue for the global supply chain, with some of the busiest ports facing the most hardship. Not only have ports continued to suffer from congestion issues, but landside transportation has also experienced bottlenecking.
Trucking, an industry that was already experiencing trouble recruiting new drivers, has been directly impacted by COVID regulations in addition to dockworkers and carrier crews. While US ports have received a lot of coverage for their sorry state of affairs, the US hinterland transportation systems are experiencing their own strains.
With trucks and railways struggling to empty clogged ports, congestion is expected to remain an issue through at least the first half of 2022. The industrial real estate industry is booming as companies seek to increase warehouse capacity, but warehouses can’t be erected overnight. The same can be said for shipping vessels as well.
Until demand levels off or capacity is increased to bring supply up to the new levels of demand, expect continued supply chain disruptions. Lean on a reliable logistics partner, like ClearFreight, for help navigating today’s troubled waters of international logistics. Contact the experts at ClearFreight to hear how our supply chain solutions can help make logistics easier for you.