Throughout September and October a scene of dozens of ships anchored off of the central California coastline signified a new peak in the global supply chain disruptions prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The global supply chain, reliant on just in time operations, has been thrown into disarray by surging demand from consumers in the US as the 18-month global pandemic turns a corner.

The stuck ships are the tip of the iceberg

The underlying cause of the extreme port congestion in North America is a surge in consumer demand for imported goods, Global News Canada reported on 25 October. Exports from Asia, which manufactures many of the products consumers are buying in the pandemic, will be nearly 15 percent higher by the end of this year than they were in 2019, the World Trade Organization predicts.

The stuck ships are just the latest in a growing disruption of just in time supply chain operations. Analysts believe the situation is not going to get better anytime soon. Backlogs and elevated shipping costs are likely to persist "at least" through the middle of next year, CNN quoted a Goldman Sachs document to its clients on 25 October.

In the meantime, supply chain bottlenecks have caused a rise in costs, with inflation hitting its highest level since 2008. All this increases the risk to businesses around the world. Those reliant on the global supply chain to obtain or ship goods are directly affected.

Event Registry concept graphic related to the congestion at ports brings quick insights into top developments related to the crisis. Photo: Event Registry

Event Registry picks up signals of the supply chain crisis and its fallout

Event Registry picked up signals of the escalating crisis in the US from news sources around the world. Our tools help you find the latest signals from the upheaval in global supply chains and dig deeper into the information to get relevant and actionable insights for your line of business with us.

See trends (like the top trending concepts seen in the graphic above) and the broader fallout with our media intelligence tool and tap the power of Event Registry’s media monitoring tool to set up real-time alerts that will deliver relevant information to your inbox.

To find out how Event Registry can help your business stay on top in a volatile economic environment contact us for a demo.

Event Registry's event grid for port disruptions. Photo: Event Registry


So what does it all mean for you?

The current episode is likely to have more far-reaching implications for global supply chains. Examining the outlook of just in time supply chain operations, Reuters reported as early as in July 2020 that the global pandemic could spell the end of the business model developed by Japanese car manufacturers 60 years ago.

The shocks to supply and demand in such volatile times are too great to be operating at maximum efficiency in inventory, analysts point out. The ongoing crisis is causing everyone involved to reappraise risks and find new inventory models.

Note: All news articles quoted in this blog were identified using the Event Registry's media intelligence tool

Title photo by Tom Fisk/Pexels