For a moment, at the end of last year, it seemed like the sun was beginning to set on the pandemic. Container volume at key ports like Los Angeles had reached a new high. The retail industry had booked record annual revenue. It felt like the worst of the global supply chain breakdown was surely behind us.
Three months later, it’s clear we’re sliding backward — fast.
The retail industry faces a long slog as last year’s crisis morphs into this year’s new normal. Chartering ships and paying huge transportation premiums to get goods into stores last Fall was a way to stop the bleeding, but the patient isn’t getting any better.
Container volumes at China’s second largest port, Shenzhen, had already been declining when the city was recently locked down to blunt a new Covid wave.
The war in Ukraine threatens up to 30% of the world’s wheat supplies and 60% of the world’s supply of sunflower oil. It has severed supply lines for commodities like nickel and aluminum.