Is the Supply Chain Getting Back to Normal? Probably not any Time Soon!

The shipping industry wants to return to the days of reliable, low-cost transportation of goods around the world.

The global supply chain has undergone such massive disruption over the last few years, and unfortunately, there is not one single factor that is to blame for this situation. When there’s no singular problem, then there can be no one solution and that is the state we are in today.

We’ve hopefully come through the worst of the pandemic that played a major role in the supply chain problems, so it may seem at first glance that any problems associated with the pandemic would also be coming to an end. However, that is simply not the case right now. The world has changed, and it remains to be seen if it will ever return to how it was before. The phrase ‘new normal’ gets bandied about a lot, but there’s a lot of truth in it when it comes to global shipping and supply chain issues.  

While everyone from consumers to retailers and those involved in the shipping industry wants to return to the days of reliable, low-cost transportation of goods around the world, that is something that is not going to happen in a hurry, and it’s likely we’re still going to be experiencing a problematic supply chain well into 2023 and even beyond. There’s a lot of uncertainty as there are a lot of factors at play.  

The pandemic changed how and what we buy so quickly and drastically, and some of those habits remain. The world isn’t geared up for millions of people to change how they do things overnight. Then just as we begin to leave the confines of lockdowns and get back out in the world and into the workplace, a financial crisis hits. With huge price increases for fuel, utilities, and food, exacerbated further by the war in Ukraine and the effects on crops of global warming, causing heatwaves across Europe and beyond. Again, the supply chain is hit hard. The crisis affects consumers and manufacturers, but of course, it also hugely affects those businesses involved in the transportation of goods such as shipping companies, warehousing businesses, and ports. 

The shift in purchasing patterns during Covid caused massive disruption as the shipping infrastructure struggled to keep up with demand. Many thought that demand would reduce, there’s only so much stuff people can buy right? But in fact, it has caused a change in long-term habits rather than short-term. People are ordering in rather than going out, and all that has to be shipped, often globally. 

Now it may seem, on the surface, to be a good thing, if more people are buying more items that need to be shipped. Businesses can grow accordingly, and the supply chain can become smooth sailing again. However, with so many price rises, businesses cannot afford to grow. Many customers won’t accept huge price increases, they’ll slow their spending instead, yet businesses have to deal with increases across the board, with fuel for ships and lorries being a large part of this. This more than eats away at any profits gained from the extra business and leaves nothing left over with which to expand, to accommodate the growth in demand. So, that demand is left uncatered for, with a supply chain that is hugely inadequate and simply cannot cope. Additionally, it is pretty unclear as to what the future holds. No one wants to stretch themselves and expand a business in a particular direction when there are no guarantees that everything won’t change again further down the line. Everyone along the supply chain is becoming more risk averse, and so no one is catering to demand.  

Where are we headed? In the short term, it’s unlikely anything will change. Longer term, well that remains to be seen, hopefully there’s a positive future for us all. Though there’s one thing you can depend on, Columbia Worldwide Movers will always do their very best to provide you with the same high-quality moving and storage solutions you’ve always experienced with us. We will never compromise on our services.  


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