supply chain woes

Cars can’t get chips.

Brexit is grinding food and gas supply in the UK.

Experts say DO YOUR HOLIDAY SHOPPING EARLY. Thanks, but no.

Many companies which manufacture the small small things that go in other things are experiencing labour shortages due to the pandemic, which adds to the mess

Transportation costs for goods is skyrocketing.

Weak investment in gas and oil is making it easier for weather events to further disrupt supply and impact demand.

Power supply issues in China are ongoing and will not get better. The problem with industrial power supplies to factories etc. is that when you need power to melt plastic into molds and it stops, you lose the entire run of plastic. I mean you can melt it down again with a little shaved lead – lead is a great plasticizer ha ha – but the colour and the finish will change and then you have to resell it in a different market where there isn’t as much fuss about how much lead there is in the plastic. Or you have to scrap it. And prices go up.

War between Taiwan and China is getting closer – 38 Chinese jets made an incursion into Taiwanese air space recently and the Chinese are making it clear that the South China sea is theirs and other claims will be ignored with prejudice. Alas, that means a global war, and it will be really strange to see American Pumpkin Spice moms getting upset when they can’t get their Christmas Chatchkes thanks to war in the South China Sea.

Shipping containers are scarce, because after the shutdown, when demand started up again– thanks to economic stimulus packages — it started up so fast that the supply chain has quite literally never caught up from 2020. Fewer containers are in circulation because NO ONE WANTS TO PAY the diesel to get them back from where they carried masks to Africa. Nothing is being shipped back so they are still in African ports. I can’t believe this bullshit, but there you go. That boat getting grounded in Suez didn’t help and something similar is almost certain to happen again as the conditions that caused that grounding have not been corrected and very large boats are still being allowed into the canal.

Shipping costs for a SINGLE CONTAINER FROM CHINA TO THE US WEST COAST HAVE GONE UP BY 13 TIMES SINCE 2020. This is making it cheaper to ship empty containers even if there’s demand because companies with capacity can’t afford the offloading time (many ports are hopelessly snarled because COVID killed or reduced their staffing levels at the same time that the jolt provided by the stimulus happened); they’ll get more money at the Chinese end if they dead head it. So eventually those empty containers in Africa will be worth the cost to transport empty but that hasn’t happened yet.

Anyway. It isn’t time to start hoarding, that never helps, but the baloney alarm is really close to going off. Pandemics have always made for violent social and political change and this one’s no different.


Matt Buckley sculpted this octopus

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Born when atmospheric carbon was 316 PPM. Settled on MST country since 1997. Parent, grandparent.

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