Virus variants and disasters threaten global supply chains
Global events are threatening the flow of raw materials, parts and consumer goods, according to businesses, economists and shipping specialists.
The delta variant of the coronavirus is holding much of Asia at bay, prompting many nations to deny seafarers land access. This has left some 100,000 seafarers stranded at sea beyond their stint. Given that ships carry about 90% of the world’s trade, the manning crisis is disrupting supplies of everything from oil and iron ore to food and electronics.
Chinese flooding is restricting the transport of coal from mining regions such as Inner Mongolia and Shanxi, the state planner said, just when power plants need fuel to meet peak summer demand.
Germany has seen a significant slowdown in the transportation of goods. In the week of July 11, as the disaster unfolded, the volume of delayed shipments rose 15% from the previous week.
The manufacturing industry is in turmoil.
Automakers are again forced to halt production due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. Toyota Motor Corp was forced to halt operations at plants in Thailand and Japan this week due to delivery delays.
Stellantis is temporarily halting production at a plant in the United Kingdom because many workers had to be isolated to stop the spread of the virus.
The industry has already been hit hard by global semiconductor shortages this year, mostly from Asian suppliers. At the beginning of the year, it looked like the chip supply shortage would ease in the second half of 2021 – now some executives predict it will last into 2022.
Shaky supply chains are hitting the U.S. and China, which together account for more than 40% of global economic output.
U.S. data released Friday forecast slowing growth in the second half of the year after the second quarter was fueled by early successes in vaccination efforts