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Supply Chain Crisis Mounting in the US

October 22, 2021

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What's happening?

Supply chains are under great stress in the United States, and the situation doesn’t seem to be improving any time soon.

According to a new Bloomberg report, several factors have compromised supply chains this year:

  • American shipment ports and warehouses are chock-full of imported goods. But because the trucking industry is facing a labor shortage, there aren’t enough haulers to pick them up. The industry needs to fill 80,000 hauler vacancies, a 30% increase from before the pandemic. Over 70% of goods transported in the US rely on truckers.
  • The pandemic has increased consumer demand for material goods. Retailers are overordering products to handle shipment delays and meet consumer demand, which is only worsening the crisis. Import volumes in the Port of Los Angeles are up 26% from 2020.
  • Other circumstances, like natural disasters and COVID-19 outbreaks, are exacerbating port delays.

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In an attempt to expedite supply chains, President Biden has asked the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach—which make up the busiest container ports in the Western hemisphere—to operate 24/7. Critics argue that this is unlikely to resolve the situation until there are enough truckers to keep up with shipment volumes.

What's the impact?

Most of the goods in demand from retailers, as well as goods produced in US factories, rely on materials and products imported from Asia. A supply chain breakdown is likely to have an impact on this year’s holiday shopping season, and a goods shortage could cause price spikes for consumers.

Supply Chain Monitoring: the Value of Social Media Data in a Crisis

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The crisis has also created a backlog for American exports, which are at an all-time low since 2002 at the Port of Los Angeles. This could have a larger effect on the US economy if their global customers pivot to other markets as supply chain delays continue.

The crisis has also pointed to a breakdown in supply chain management between the private and public sectors. The Biden Administration is facing backlash from transportation and shipping companies, supply chain organizations, and unions opposed to new government regulations and response efforts.

What can you do?

American supply chain issues have global implications. Whether you’re in the public or private sector, it’s likely that these events have at least had an indirect impact on your operations. 

According to a survey conducted in late 2020, better supply chain visibility is now the top concern for supply chain executives over the next few years—and between problems with consumer goods distribution and the vaccine supply chain, it’s easy to see why.

Part of the solution is having earlier access to supply chain risk information. This will help governments, companies, and supply chain organizations stay better informed and prepared for any fallout. Open-source data can improve your visibility into supply chain risks, especially where on-the-ground information sources may be lacking. 

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Data from social media, news, and the deep and dark web supports security and intelligence teams by providing early warning risk indicators and real-time updates along supply chains. This includes natural disasters, transportation delays, violence, and other events that can interrupt the flow of goods.

Connect with us to learn more about using open-source data for supply chain security and explore some tools that can help.

 

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