Associated Press: Kevin Ketels on global supply chain shortages

As the holiday season approaches, many businesses are concerned about inventory. This year, store shelves at businesses may be a little sparse because of bottlenecks in the global supply chain. The global supply chain has been impacted by a multitude of problems, from factories having to close due to COVID-19 surges, lack of containers to ship items in, backups at ports and warehouses, and a shortage of truckers. While bigger retailers like Walmart and Target have the power to buy their own containers, use air freight, and take other steps to make sure they get inventory, smaller retailers are at the mercy of vendors, who are increasingly suspending delivery guarantees and sometimes not communicating at all. In addition to a surge in shipping costs, vendors have reported delays because of backed up shipping ports. Kevin Ketels, a lecturer in global supply chain management at the Mike Ilitch School of Business at Wayne State University, said that normally there’s no wait for container ships to unload and that such delays are major.

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