Global Problem 2022: Is this the new normal?

Here we are in February 2022, and we are still leading many of our global stories with terms such as “port congestion”, “lack of containers”, “widespread labor shortage”, “hyper capacity -reduced” and “skyrocketing rates”. .” These obstacles have all culminated in the “global supply chain disruption” we have all heard so much about.

This month we feature our annual Global Logistics issue designed to help readers better manage this whirlwind that has taken so much productivity out of our operations. The goal is to better understand where we are in terms of global services and technology and to help shippers control what they can control when transporting goods during this time.

LM’s European correspondent, Dagmar Trepins, takes us around the world to give us insight into current realities in some of the world’s busiest ports; shares the latest ocean freight volumes and projections; provides an update on some global service extensions; and points to the possibility of a new group of mega-services taking shape in China.

“Early forecasts suggest that the seemingly endless chain reaction of roadblocks will keep us mired in a rut for at least the first half of this year,” says Trepins. “However, we are starting to see some ‘relief’ of congestion at a few key port gateways.”

Trepins points out that while the pandemic has certainly exposed the vulnerability of global supply chains, his sources say it may have been the wake-up call the world needed to spur investment in transport infrastructure, software and automation.

“Although there is still much work to be done, the global logistics industry has proven its ability to provide flexible and creative solutions, and has demonstrated a high degree of flexibility and close cooperation between all parts of the world in response to the crisis,” adds Trépins.

Managing Editor Karen Thuermer reports that the challenges facing ocean shippers have caused them to test the limits of these “flexible” relationships, as many have worked with their third-party partners to divert shipments to other ports of entry. , new modes of transportation and even higher-priced, alternative providers to get the job done.

“As our key contacts at Drewry suggest,” says Thuermer, “it is now more important than ever for shippers to strengthen carrier relationships and business continuity plans. But a good first step is to optimize internal operations and improve volume forecasting, in other words, better control what you can control before the next shock hits you.

And while we still can’t eliminate all of those negative terms, global trade has made a strong comeback in 2021. As editor Bridget McCrea reports in her annual GTM software update, trade worldwide jumped 23% to $28 trillion in 2021, surpassing 2019’s pre-pandemic total of nearly $3 trillion, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

“The UN report indicates that in the third quarter of 2021 alone, world merchandise trade set a new all-time high of $5.6 trillion,” McCrea said. “So while these continuing challenges portend another uncertain year, consumer demand for the products does not appear to be abating, in fact it is stronger than ever.

About the Author

Michael Levans, Group Editorial Director Michael Levans is Editorial Director of Peerless Media’s Supply Chain group of publications and websites, including Logistics Management, Supply Chain Management Review, Modern Materials Handling and Material Handling Product News. He is a 23-year publishing veteran who started at the Pittsburgh Press as a business reporter and has spent the past 17 years in business-to-business press. He has covered the logistics and supply chain markets for seven years. You can reach him at [email protected]