Large Corporations & the Supply Chain
What do Costco, IKEA and the Home Depot have in common? Answer – these companies are so wealthy that they can afford to charter their own cargo ships and jets to keep their store shelves stocked with the items their customers want.
Vancouver’s Small Business Owners Importing Goods
Small business owners don’t have the deep pockets that large transnationals do. Chartering planes and hiring out cargo ships to bring them the goods they need to keep their customers happy isn’t an option. The shipping companies at this time are further disadvantaging small business owners by charging them higher rates and taking more time to deliver their goods.
Vancouver’s Small Business Owners Exporting Goods
During this time of great supply chain disruptions, local businesses are discouraged from shipping their goods to foreign markets. According to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the demand for imports is so high that prices of goods are going up. All the while Canadian exporters are having difficulties getting access to shipping containers to move their goods to foreign markets. Today, shipping companies prefer to ship back empty containers because of the time it takes to reload containers with merchandise for the export markets. This is another hindrance for Vancouver’s small businesses during the pandemic.
Dollar Tree, CEO, Michael Witynski recently discussed the challenges of overseas shipping in the Covid era. Witynski recounted a time when a container ship was denied entry into China because a crew member tested positive for Covid. This required the container ship to return to its home base where it had to change out its entire crew before it could go back into China. One positive covid test delayed the trip by two months.
Returning to Normal
Shipping experts expect that the container shipping industry will return to normal by 2023. That due to Covid protocols in place around the world, combined with record levels of cargo being shipped, these slowdowns are to be expected, albeit temporary over the long term.
Elaine Allan, BA, MBA
Technology and Business Blogger
Vancouver, BC, Canada