‘I’ve Never Seen Anything Like This’: Chaos Strikes Global Shipping

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Tried to buy a dishwasher: 5 month wait. A couple weeks ago went to supermarket: No meat. Want lumber to build a deck? Good luck. Even if you’re willing to pay insane prices, you probably can’t find enough. A year into the pandemic, N95s are still damn near impossible to find, and if you can they cost an order of magnitude more than before when they were $2. Aluminum can shortages, coin shortages, condom shortages. Over 200 drug shortages on FDA’s site right now. Guns and ammo shortages, paper goods shortages, sanitizer and cleaning supply shortages. Want a silicon chip? Good fucking luck. Auto manufacturers shut down on 4 continents because of that shortage. Lots of other industries too. Hence why game consoles are in short supply. Haven’t had Grape Nuts in stores for months. Boats of all kinds are on 6 month back-order for reasons unrelated to chips. Housing supply hitting record lows. Want a new bike? Maybe you can take delivery by September if you order now. Cat food shortages. Power, natural gas, and water shortages across the south, although storm-related, still happening. Medical device shortages. Try to get a veterinary appointment––they’re all booked up for weeks and weeks. Dumbbells going for $2/lb when you can find them. Fine furniture shortages. Resin-good shortages too––try finding recycled plastic patio furniture. When you can, $80 polywood chair from before is $200+ now. Can’t get cold-rolled or hot-rolled steel. Aerospace shutting down over that. Seed shortages for everything from ornamentals to staple crops. This isn’t an exhaustive list either. Shit is fucked up.


> More than a decade ago, during the global financial crisis, shipping companies saw their businesses savaged. > As a mysterious virus emerged in China early last year — prompting the government to shut factories to contain its spread — the shipping industry braced for a replay. Carriers cut their services, idling many of their vessels. Scaling down + inefficiencies during the pandemic + unprecedented demand = current situation. Not too surprising, the only question is will shipping companies scale back up any time soon?


Might be a good time to bring manufacturing back to the country.


I work in the medical device industry (mostly electronic devices) and we’re scrambling to find, test alternatives to components in our circuit boards that we can no longer reliably source


The boats are mostly full and parked outside ports waiting to be unloaded. Boeing 747 freighters and Super Starlifters will be really popular in the lease fleet this year.