The Shipping Industry and Global Supply Chain is Still Picking Up the Pieces

May 12, 2021

The shipping industry has been in what some could call a rough ride. When the pandemic struck and everyone was staying at home safe, certain items went into high demands such as toilet paper, disinfectant spray, other cleaning products, and of course, food. But that meant a lot of other products weren’t being bought up—people weren’t retail shopping like they used to.

Consequently, this affected everything else in the world of shipping as the economy essentially ground to a halt. First a lot of ships were left to linger around, waiting for their supplies to be bought up. Then, the truly massive Ever Given ship was pushed by a strong gale and wound up stuck in the middle of the Suez Canal, causing a backup of more shipping. Even still, the economy is fighting on and is trying to get up to speed on everything once more. Unfortunately, the global supply chain is taking yet another hit as climate change is affecting not just the United States, but everyone else across the planet.

Every Event Has Far-Reaching Consequences in the Global Supply Chain

In reaction to recent flood disasters affecting shipping, the CEO of Mandarin Shipping, Tim Huxley, had said on CNBC on July 26, 2021: “Rarely does a week go past without something new”. Those words couldn’t be more right as the global supply chain seems to run into more and more issues, even as the world is trying to get back on its feet after being rocked by the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the main issues is that the pandemic is still ongoing, it is far from over, and with people still catching COVID, some ports across the globe are experiencing disruptions as people must be quarantined and delays happen. But for every port that experiences a disruption like this, it affects everything else—and it all builds up.

Europe and China Are Wracked with Flooding Issues

From Germany to Belgium, whole areas of Western Europe are under siege by disastrous flooding. Even the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Luxembourg have all been hit. With so much flooding occurring, numerous important railways used for shipping have been cutoff, throwing the European supply chain into chaos.

But it doesn’t stop there—China has also been experiencing flooding that hasn’t been seen in a long time. In the Chinese province of Henan, for example, certain areas including the capital of Zhengzhou were flooded with a year’s worth of rain in a matter of three days. In the city of Zhengzhou, at least 25 have been counted amongst the dead due to the floods, but there are more missing that have yet to be counted.

The Global Supply Chain is Fragile Right Now

This is just a glimpse into the struggles that the global supply chain is facing, and it really shows how much a pandemic and climate change can affect everyone’s lives. Without proper joint investment in bolstering the global supply chain and its many modes of transporting goods, it will be a tedious climb back up to where we were while trying to face down climate disasters and a virus that’s still harming the lives of many. But it doesn’t have to be gloom and doom. Governments are taking action against climate change—though whether fast enough depends on which country you’re assessing. Meanwhile, those same governments are also trying to increase vaccination rates to slow the progress of the COVID-19 virus, and in hopes of preventing yet more mutations by cutting off the spread.
What’s clear is that a multi-faceted approach will be needed to achieve a recovered, improved, and stronger global supply chain.

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