Not to be overlooked, of course, are employment and staffing-related issues, too, which tell the story of many sectors, with companies of all sizes struggling to get the people they need in key positions.
It is fair to say that any one of these topics could merit a column of its own, no question. But, considering the fact that many people really did not even have a basic fundamental understanding of how supply chain and logistics worked, prior to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, these topics, and others, are more likely to be viewed by most people with a supply chain- or logistics-focused lens than ever before.
It is true economic concerns are out there and ring true, regardless what type of industry stakeholder you may be: shipper, carrier, 3PL, forwarder, broker, consultant, or something else. How can they not, given the decent number of signals we are seeing on the current state of the economy?
What’s more, there are other issues, with a supply chain and logistics focus, that also weigh heavy on people not in the field, too, including: China’s economic reopening, which could bring about significant levels of angst and frustration, with U.S.-bound ports likely to bear the brunt of the impact, in the form of what could be elevated levels of port congestion, at a time when port throughout, to a point, has ostensibly improved, in recent months, as well as the ongoing port labor negotiations on the West Coast between the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, with their current contract set to expire at the end of the month and a less than rosy track record, in terms of getting a deal brokered on time, in recent years.
This is not meant to have a “doom and gloom” theme, to be honest. A lot of takes on the economy can be taken in different ways. For example, for all of the talk about waning demand, retail sales continue to show growth and many ports continue to point to import gains, driven by strong consumer spending. But, at the same time, there are signs of reduced consumer spending, and, in turn, demand, with people worried about high gas prices and inflation, and some major retailers concerned about bloated inventory levels and taking steps to get out in front of it however they can.