Worldwide alert and warning for shipping delays

Worldwide alert and warning for shipping delays

Global supply chain issues mean higher prices, longer waits.

If you bought a new couch, car or washing machine in the past year and a half, you have heard a familiar refrain from the store manager.

"It is on back order." Followed with the promise that your new appliance or car would be here in a month or two. That was six months ago.

Why is it so hard to get the products you want?
The world is experiencing a logistics nightmare. It starts with the basics of manufacturing and leads to getting the product to a local warehouse and your front door.

The worldwide shortages and logistics problems we are experiencing begin with raw material production/extraction and component manufacturing delays — and the labor needed for both.

Then, when the products are ready to go, the following link in the chain is broken. International ports in import countries are experiencing unprecedented congestion. Container ships idle offshore, waiting for a spot to unload.

Neither is there sufficient ships or shipping containers in the export cities to carry those high-demand consumer goods across oceans.

Where are all the shipping containers?
They are waiting on a ship anchored at sea. Or, it was filled and is waiting its turn to board.

The demand for space on container ships has led to some retailers contracting for dedicated vessels. This logistics snafu is affecting nearly all international trade — including some promotional products.

According to Business Insider, all of this has caused shipping costs to rise tenfold for products coming out of Asia.

How did we get here?
How did a worldwide pandemic lead to a logistics and transportation log jam?

Many economists and logistics experts say the problems that got us here started before the first covid shutdowns. According to Forbes.com, trade routes were already seeing strains as China and the US got into a tariff battle.

Then, the pandemic hit and shutdowns began. Employers sent workers home, inventories sat unused, and raw material production slowed or stopped.

The trend completely turned around when the US and other consumer countries responded to the covid shutdowns with stimulus payments for its citizens. People started shopping online and in stores.

In the US, buying came from families who upgraded their appliances, renovated the basement for home office space or moved to new states and new homes. High demand for imported goods led to the current bottlenecks.

Finding enough labor is still a challenge for many companies as well.

The promotional products industry is facing the same issues, according to the Advertising Specialty Institute.

As conferences and trade shows return and corporations send gifts to employees working from home, there is a demand. According to ASI, the promotional products industry was up 27.3% year-over-year growth in the second quarter of 2021.

This demand is not just for products made in Asia. Products made in the USA include components coming from overseas. One example is the ink needed for imprinting. According to ASI, while embroidery supplies have not been affected, screen- and digital-printing inks are.

When will shipping capacities increase?
Already, retailers have warned their customers that stores may be short on products for the holiday giving season. Shipbuilders and other logistics professionals are working hard to sort out the issues that got us here, but a fix isn't likely until 2022 at the soonest.

What do customers need to know about ordering deadlines?
Prices are rising and are likely to continue. Retailers fold shipping costs into the price tag for many items, evidenced by rising inflation.

Be more proactive this year. Start shopping earlier. Order in advance, long before you need the product in hand.

If you are looking ahead into 2022 for events and conferences starting back up, you should order with extra lead time built-in. It is scary to buy for a Spring 2022 conference that may cancel later. But an "evergreen" printed product with your company name and logo works for future events just as well.

Contact Logotech and your Account Manager now for your winter and spring promotions. Our staff will help you find what you want. With good planning, it will arrive when you need it.