Undoubtedly, COVID-19 has had a dramatic impact on the supply chain. COVID had led to ongoing shortages of products, widespread price increases, and continued supply chain unpredictability. Indeed, when the world economy reopened after largely shutting down at the onset of COVID, supply chains couldn’t keep up with the sudden huge surge in product demand. New COVID variants and various health protocols have also weighed heavily on logistic networks.
There are signs in some segments of the supply chain that delays are improving. For example, in the port complex of Los Angeles/Long Beach—accounting for about 40% of the freight entering the United States, there have been some improvements since the start of November. Running the ports 24x7, providing a new offshore queuing system and levying “container dwell fines” for containers left sitting on the docks have significantly reduced the number of ships waiting to unload cargo while freeing up more dock real estate with the removal of empty containers.
Domestic manufacturing also appears to be edging forward. The Dallas Federal Reserve Bank’s manufacturing index has revealed that delivery times have fallen while the level of unfilled orders has decreased in the month of November.
Despite these hopeful signs in manufacturing and port efficiency, trucking remains a huge concern. The shortage of truck drivers continues and trucking regulations continue to weigh on the industry. The worldwide shortage of chips has also led to vehicle inflation and shortages. On a positive note, some states including California and Ohio have begun to relax state regulations that limit maximum truck weights in order to provide industry relief.
Going forward, there will likely be additional supply chain shocks including the emergence of COVID variants. It remains to be seen to what effect the Omicron variant will have in further disrupting supply chains and turning back some of the progress made.
With the supply chain facing ongoing challenges and future uncertainties, you can still keep track of your shipments and gain a little peace-of-mind. Whether your shipment is on a truck, boat or plane, DeltaTrak’s real-time data loggers and cloud services can put you in the best position to gain visibility into the condition and location of your shipment. DeltaTrak’s most recent release, FlashTrak Maritime Service, integrates into the FlashTrak cloud-based service to provide container location and ETA even while your shipment is on the ocean.