We’ve spoken at length in these pages (most recently two weeks ago) about the supply chain bottlenecks that are hampering our economy and making it difficult for companies and individuals to buy what they need.
Ryan Johnson, who describes himself as “a twenty year truck driver”, gives us an insider’s perspective on why (he claims) “America’s ‘Shipping Crisis’ Will Not End“. It’s a long and very interesting article, outlining all the obstacles and inefficiencies in the shipping process, and I recommend it very highly. It’s worth your time to read it, if only to understand the shortages your local shops and suppliers are experiencing. Mr. Johnson begins:
I have a simple question for every ‘expert’ who thinks they understand the root causes of the shipping crisis:
Why is there only one crane for every 50–100 trucks at every port in America?
No ‘expert’ will answer this question.
He concludes (bold, underlined text is my emphasis):
My prediction is that nothing is going to change and the shipping crisis is only going to get worse. Nobody in the supply chain wants to pay to solve the problem. They literally just won’t pay to solve the problem. At the point we are at now, things are so backed up that the backups THEMSELVES are causing container companies, ports, warehouses, and trucking companies to charge massive rate increases for doing literally NOTHING. Container companies have already decreased the maximum allowable times before containers have to be back to the port, and if the congestion is so bad that you can’t get the container back into the port when it is due, the container company can charge massive late fees. The ports themselves will start charging massive storage fees for not getting containers out on time — storage charges alone can run into thousands of dollars a day. Warehouses can charge massive premiums for their services, and so can trucking companies. Chronic understaffing has led to this problem, but it is allowing these same companies to charge ten times more for regular services. Since they’re not paying the workers any more than they did last year or five years ago, the whole industry sits back and cashes in on the mess it created. In fact, the more things are backed up, the more every point of the supply chain cashes in. There is literally NO incentive to change, even if it means consumers have to do holiday shopping in July and pay triple for shipping.
This is the new normal. All brought to you by the ‘experts’ running our supply chains.
There’s more at the link.
I can only repeat my earlier warning: “The US economy is in imminent danger of seizing up solid“. That’s not an exaggeration. Go re-read that earlier article in the light of Mr. Johnson’s comments, and it becomes even clearer.
Friends, we are facing a situation where serious shortages of basic goods and services may become a reality. If even the simplest supplies (bread, milk, TP, and so on) run out because they (or their ingredients) can’t be distributed due to clogged transport channels, what will happen to the average US consumer? How many people can cope for a few days, or a few weeks, without what they consider to be essentials? How many of them have made emergency preparations to do so? I suspect many have done nothing at all – and they’re not going to be happy at having to do without. Might that lead to urban social unrest, particularly if stirred up by proponents of racial tension and political correctness and extremism?
This is a potential flash-point for all sorts of knock-on problems – even for Big Brother (a.k.a. the “nanny state”) to try to intervene and regulate what’s shipped where and when, and by whom, and at what price. Given the government’s monumental inefficiency in organizing anything of importance (most recently its response to COVID-19), that thought should give you no comfort at all.