Global Supply Chain Disruptions

The Ever Forward is still stuck.

Our story started on March 13 when (sort of like her sister, the Ever Given) 24 feet of mud stopped the Ever Forward from…moving forward. Rather than the Suez Canal, though, the Ever Forward is in the Chesapeake Bay. Loaded with 4,900 containers, the bad news is that she resisted two re-floating attempts. The good news is the buzz at nearby Downs Park. Hoping to get a glimpse of the stuck ship, more people than ever before are visiting. Everyday employees get calls asking, “Can you still see the ship?”

The newest removal initiative is below and above the ship. Because tugboats could not “yank” it out, they’ve begun to dredge underneath. They also hope to remove 500 containers without destabilizing the boat (“a Jenga-like unstacking problem”).

Compared to what we can expect this year, the Ever Forward cargo delay is small.

Supply Chain Disruptions

Whereas “just-in-time” was the typical manufacturing philosophy for years, it no longer is working. Rather than minimizing inventories and getting what you need when you need it, it might be necessary to store more. Meanwhile warehouses have been swamped, unable to accommodate ships that need to offload. We also still have a chip shortage that limits car and appliance production.

But there is much more:

Our Bottom Line: A New Supply Chain

We could be heading to a new normal.

You’ve just bought a Peloton. Will you return to the gym?

You’ve gotten accustomed to working from home in sweat pants. Will you return to the office in business attire?

But it’s not just visiting the gym or buying the clothing. It’s the gym’s suppliers that will have to adjust. As for business attire, dry cleaning establishments are less busy. At the same time, the lunch places, the bars, the shops near work will see fewer people.

Returning to our title, a still stuck ship takes us to disruptions far beyond the Chesapeake Bay.

My sources and more: Having seen the whimsical WSJ update for the Ever Forward, I looked at more serious supply issues at the NY Times, here and here.

Originally published on the econlife.com blog, April 13, 2022.

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Econlife Team

Econlife Team

Located at the intersection of current events, history, and economics, econlife® slices away all of the layers that make economics boring and complex.

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