April 21, 2022

Before the pandemic, enormous shipping vessels bound for the West Coast of the U.S. from Asia usually took the same predictable and profitable voyages. After docking in either the port of Los Angeles or Long Beach, the ships would unload their cargo and then head up north to Oakland, where they stocked up on agricultural goods from California’s expansive farmland. This cargo would ultimately end up in markets around the world after journeying across the Pacific and disembarking in Southeast Continue reading

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January 20, 2022

Although heavy traffic in U.S. ports did not end up canceling Christmas last year, the supply chain crisis still led to some empty shelves and expensive items as companies struggled to obtain needed inventory. Now that the holiday shopping season is long over, however, some officials are optimistic that the worst has passed as ports in Southern California work through their backlogs and shipping costs drop from their September 2021 highs. But like so many other aspects of American Continue reading

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November 4, 2021

While shoppers managed to buy most of their treats this Halloween despite the current supply chain crisis, unfortunately the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday will be a bit trickier. Like many other consumer products, nearly every component of the traditional Turkey Day dinner will be more expensive than ever before. For example, an executive chef in Arkansas said that he paid over 20 percent more for 25 pasture-raised turkeys than he did in 2020. And according to Norman Brown, director of sweet Continue reading

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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

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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

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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

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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. 


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

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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

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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

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