August 10, 2021

For decades, many American companies have relied on facilities in Southeast Asia to manufacture products that are then shipped over for dometic sale. Along with reducing production costs, firms also saved on inventory space through “just-in-time” ordering that allowed them to quickly bring in materials from overseas when necessary. But while relying on long-distance industrial suppliers has always been risky, the worst case scenario for this approach became a reality during the pandemic.

The global economy nearly shut down for Continue reading

Continue reading...

August 6, 2021

Our complex, world-spanning system of global trade relies enormously on shipping containers, metal boxes that range from 20 to 40 feet long that transport nearly every product imaginable. But just like so many of the items that are usually packed into these receptacles, the pandemic has caused a shortage of shipping containers that is reverberating across global supply chains. Despite an upsurge in production of containers and rebounding consumer demand, many manufacturers are unable to prepare products for transportation due Continue reading

Continue reading...

April 22, 2021

Earlier this week, we looked at how pandemic lockdowns led to increased consumer demand as well as supply chain problems that are delaying deliveries around the world. Large-scale disruptions such as the Suez Canal blockage and the traffic jam at the Port of Los Angeles have resulted in wide-ranging financial damage to all sorts of small operators who cannot get their hands on vital merchandise. For instance, one restaurant in Oklahoma must pay $200 for a case of gloves that Continue reading

Continue reading...

April 20, 2021

On any given day since mid-2020, the Port of Los Angeles has had as many as 30 container ships anchored outside and waiting to eventually dock. This video looks at how the pandemic inspired a boom in online purchases while also causing a shortage of shipping workers, leading to the transportation crisis currently taking place at ports across the world. 

Questions:

  1. How did the pandemic lead to supply chain problems that caused traffic jams at major ports around the Continue reading
Continue reading...

March 30, 2021

Last week, one of the world’s most important commercial waterways shut down as a 200,000-ton vessel became lodged in the Suez Canal. After the enormous ship could not be removed immediately, experts started to worry that Ever Given would remain stuck for weeks and wreak billions of dollars in economic havoc. Then yesterday, the container ship was finally dislodged from the canal with the help of high-powered tugboats and an unusually high tide brought on by a full moon.

Now Continue reading

Continue reading...

March 25, 2021

On an average day, at least 10 percent of global trade passes through Egypt’s Suez Canal aboard more than 50 ships. That hasn’t been the case since Tuesday, however, when a 200,000-ton container ship ran aground and became lodged in the narrow canal. Although tugboats and earthmovers have attempted to remove the enormous obstruction, so far their efforts have failed as trade on this vital waterway has come to a halt. 

“I have never seen a container vessel this Continue reading

Continue reading...

March 12, 2020

Yesterday, the World Health Organization officially classified coronavirus as a pandemic, causing the Dow Jones Industrial Average to plummet by nearly 1,500 points. This rapid decline in the market has reversed more than a decade of expansion for the U.S. economy while companies around the world suffer from border closures and shutdowns. As a result, employees in many struggling industries are facing layoffs as business as usual grinds to a halt. 

For instance, the Port of Los Angeles has Continue reading

Continue reading...

January 7, 2020

The holiday season is the most important time of the year by far for the nation’s retailers, with many earning as much as 40 percent of their annual sales during that period. Fortunately for them, 2019’s holiday sales increased by 3.4 percent compared to the previous year. Retailers are especially relieved since Thanksgiving arrived six days later than it did in 2018, which took away crucial time that companies could have used to drive sales. 

To make up for Continue reading

Continue reading...

August 8, 2019

A couple of weeks ago, we posted a video about the rise of rush shipping and its effect on the environment. Along with impacting the health of the planet, the recent push to deliver products as fast as possible has also altered the balance of power in the shipping industry. Over the past few years, Amazon has developed its own delivery network of trucks and planes in order to decrease its dependency on outside shipping firms. As a result, Continue reading

Continue reading...

July 26, 2019

For major online retailers like Amazon and Walmart, few matters are more important than quickly shipping products out to customers. But while free two-day shipping has largely become the norm in e-commerce, all those packages moving across the country can have a major impact on the environment. This video looks at the ecological effects of rush shipping and how retailers could seek to limit its use in the future. 

Questions:

  1. In what ways does rush shipping harm the environment? Continue reading
Continue reading...