After hours of tugging by boats, the Ever Given Container Ship was freed and is floating away from the Suez Canal for the first time in close to a week. This comes as a relief to locals and authorities. Even so, experts are wary of the damage the non-access period may have caused.
Since the unexpected blockage of the Suez Canal was ongoing for days, it could worsen effects to the global supply chain, experts warn. Over the previous year, things have already been rocky, as COVID-19 hit, leading to shortages in toilet paper, paper towels, masks, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes and certain foodstuffs. Then, as more and more people retreated to their homes, online shopping boomed, leading to staffing shortages and many frustrated customers.Read More »
How will Recent Events Impact the Global Supply Chain?
Although the Canal is no longer blocked, the past blockage threatens to put the world into another precarious situation. The mid-size cargo ship that blocked the canal, and the long amount of time it took to remove it, could make the supply chain’s situation even worse. This could lead to delays in things like toilet paper (yet again), furniture and coffee beans/bagged coffee to the U.S. Roughly $10 billion worth of goods passes through the Canal daily, about 10% of the world’s total trade of items in total.
With no other way to ship goods from Asia to Europe, imports to the U.S. from Europe could be very delayed, even as goods begin to flow freely in the coming days. Empty shipping containers might not be able to make their way back to Asia quickly as well, which could worsen the pandemic-fueled shipping boom and ultimate delays for customers.
U.S. import goods usually come from Asia via the Pacific Ocean and California, but predicted delays could push back things getting from even Europe to the U.S.
Toilet paper companies have already said that the situation has gone on long enough that toilet paper delays are almost inevitable at this point. Coffee may be impacted, too.
A furniture boom has also taken place due to people being stuck looking at the same things for months on end in their homes. California ports are already backed up, so this will just intensify things.
Oil and natural gas prices are also expected to increase from the Midwest to Europe. Gas prices have already surged in Texas, which was hit hard by a once-in-a-lifetime winter storm, where much of the state suffered damages and lost power.
The network has been clogged even as the pandemic shows signs up easing. Demand has only increased. COVID-19 vaccines are taking up shipping space. Workers keep calling in sick, leading to shortages. Some U.S. companies have had to close, reduce their works paces or operate on limited hours, making things move slower.
Congested ports mean it will take longer to get to trucks, since workers are unavailable to move them. That means an even longer wait for consumers.
As for what consumers can ultimately expect, keep up with the news. And if you need gas for your car, new furniture, toilet paper or coffee, get it now rather than procrastinating; it will likely be a long time until you get them, if not. But resist the urge to hoard, others need them, too, possibly more than you do! At least we can now breathe a collective sigh of relief that the Ever Given Container Ship has gone on its way.
Explore Games and Apps