A recent Reuters article discusses the breakdown of the Western supply chain as the coronavirus sweeps the globe, resulting in lockdowns and difficulty moving freight through any means.
Air freight has been hit the hardest as airlines shut down services, cutting off an estimated 85% of US air freight capacity that was previously transported in passenger plane cargo space. The result is increased freight costs and delayed transports, with some companies being forced to divert shipments to other methods such as sea freight, in order to avoid paying these increased costs.
On land, transport across borders is also slowing down. There is a shortage of drivers who are willing to cross into hard-hit areas such as Italy, while a lack of staff in the factories limits the ability to load cargo onto trucks. In areas like Spain, basic necessities such as food and shower facilities on the road are becoming hard to find as service stations decline to allow drivers access to them. Longer lines at border crossings are also slowing deliveries, and Poland, Germany and France are all experiencing longer lead times due to border scrutiny.
Ocean freight has also been impacted due to a shortage of crew and containers (estimated in the tens of thousands in Europe and the US), and delays as ships around the world are sometimes denied entry to ports resulting in crews that are stuck on board or unable to change out.
To read the entire article “Western supply chains buckle as coronavirus lockdowns spread,” click here.