• Patrick Healy, Assistant Opinion Editor

Beyond the Dome: Supply chain problems to continue post-pandemic

The world held its breath earlier this year as the Suez Canal blockage held up nearly $10 billion USD in trade. But the supply chain is also breaking down in much subtler ways. From ports closing after a COVID-19 case to labor shortages at warehouses, a surge in demand has been unhappily met by a lack of supply.

As ships queue in ports, large retailers such as Target and Costco have turned to chartered ships to ship their own goods. Companies and other countries had little recourse when Chinese authorities shut down a port following a single COVID-19 case. This is all happening before the peak of the retail season: Christmas.

Most economists and corporate leaders say holiday shoppers will find less selection and higher prices. Even as vaccines — also impacted by supply chain issues — roll out, many factories will have permanently closed. Auto manufacturers have been especially hard-hit because of a global chip shortage.

Though the big brands will see profits decrease, small businesses who can’t afford to ship their own product will take a longer-term hit. Consumers are advised to order products now, especially large items that often lose priority to smaller and pricier products such as iPhones.

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