COVID continues to slow supply chain, largest disruption since WWII

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – As we approach the holiday season, shipping delays and emptying store shelves show how the COVID-19 pandemic continues to heavily impact the supply chain.

The supply chain is a network of companies that work together to deliver products to consumers. Any break in the chain, like we are seeing now, may cause shipping delays and product shortages. 

KOIN 6 News spoke with Dr. Carlos Menathe Nike professor of Supply Chain Management at Portland State University. Mena said right now, two types of industries are being hit especially hard:

1) Industries with complex assemble products like cars, electronics, or furniture because only missing component can prevent the final assembly of the product.

2) Industries that depend on very specific resources, particularly scarce natural resources. For instance, there are concerns about the production of batteries for electric vehicles because they require materials that are in short supply such as Lithium and Cobalt. Scarcity is also contributing to price increases, which ultimately lead to inflation.

Mena also said that all supply chain stages and sectors are suffering right now, but one area that’s particularly critical is logistics and transport because it acts as the glue that keeps supply chains together. 

We’ve seen problems with bottlenecks at ports affecting sea freight, a shortage of drivers affecting road freight, and a shortage of containers affecting both. These challenges are affecting most supply chains.

According to Mena, the major issues will resolve themselves over the next few months barring a new variant and further shutdowns. 

Mena said the COVID-19 pandemic has created a very unique disruption because it has affected supply and demand in every country for a very long time. The world has not experienced a disruption like this since World War II, and that’s probably why nobody was prepared.

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