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These days, everyone seems to be talking about a “global economic recovery”, but the truth is that more problems are emerging with each passing day and the global economy is still very far from what it was before the onset of the health crisis. Even though consumer demand is still booming, supply chains all over the world are in a state of total chaos. Shortages of essential parts and products are making things extremely difficult for hundreds of thousands of manufacturers and the process of shipping products overseas has become insanely expensive, oftentimes resulting in horrendous delays. On top of that, a historic shortage of workers is aggravating the supply chain crisis even further while retailers struggle to restock their shelves for their customers in a timely manner. This level of disruption is something that we have never seen before. The crisis is getting so severe that even CNN is admitting that things are bound to get worse.
A recent CNN article described that “the vast network of ports, container vessels and trucking companies that moves goods around the world is badly tangled, and the cost of shipping is skyrocketing”. And that’s extremely upsetting for retailers and consumers. After 18 months into the health crisis, “the disruption to global supply chains is getting worse, spurring shortages of consumer products and making it more expensive for companies to ship goods where they’re needed,” the article reported. Unresolved issues, and the emergence of new problems including the Delta variant, means that consumers are about to face even higher prices and fewer choices this holiday season.
Here in the United States, many experts have been sharing very bleak predictions about the upcoming holiday season, citing a global shortage of containers and severe port congestion as the main drivers to shortages and shipping delays. “Name almost anything and it seems like there’s a shortage of it,” one industry executive said. “Retailers are struggling to replenish inventory as fast as they’re selling, let alone prepare for holiday demand. As we’ve been forecasting for months, shoppers are going to see some bare shelves during the holidays. And if you buy most of your presents online, get it done early. Delivery time may be four to six weeks,” he warned. Of course, the US is not alone. On the other side of the ocean, in the UK, recent reports describe that the country is facing “worst supply-chain crisis since the 1970s” and that could potentially “ruin Christmas”.
Right now, one of the greatest problems the British are facing is an unprecedented shortage of workers. Business owners are urging for more workers to be allowed into the country because they believe that will help to ease the crisis. Numbers released by the Road Haulage Association suggest that the UK needs another 100,000 truckers to continue to deliver goods to stores. Here in America, we have been dealing with similar issues. At this point, all retailers across the nation are struggling to find truck drivers to hire. According to Benjamin Walker, the senior vice president of sales at Sysco, finding new drivers is “next to impossible,” and at the same time, freight costs are rising daily.
But even if we had enough truck drivers, we would still be facing widespread shortages. One of the main reasons for it is the global shortage of computer chips. Industry executives have been alerting that the semiconductor shortage is causing major headaches for American manufacturers across thousands of industries. And given that Asian factories are being shut down once again due to the rapid spread of the Delta variant, all manufacturers who need these tiny chips to get their products running will face more disruptions in production this year. In the US, automakers alone will make 1 million fewer cars this year because they’re unable to get all the computer chips they need. Apparently, American consumers will have to get used to facing shortages for the foreseeable future. Even our vice-president is warning that is only going to get worse, as we discussed in yesterday’s video. But warnings don’t seem to convince most Americans. In any case, when they start to realize that empty store shelves and shortages are here to stay, they will have to wake up to this new reality. Our entire economic infrastructure is being shaken to its core, and our society is just starting to notice that the “invincible” U.S. economy is not that invincible after all. The coming holiday season is definitely not going to be “normal”. And don’t expect things to “come back to normal” in 2022 either because we are headed to crazy times, and they are only going to get crazier.”