Something strange has happened over the past few months. The supply chain has somehow become part of the general zeitgeist. A lot of industry professionals can probably think back to years ago and their attempts to explain to their friends and family what it is they do (“I make sure things move,” being one of the most common). But now, everyone seems to not only know about the supply chain, but they all have strong opinions on how it should be “fixed,” too.
Is it good to be recognized and finally get to stop telling our elderly relatives what the hell supply chain management is? Absolutely. But this seems to have come at the cost of people outside of the industry coming up with solutions that may or may not be addressing only a part of the problem.
Let’s take a look at some of the most recent attempts to get the supply chain moving.
The Ocean Shipping Reform Act
We know, we know. You’re probably watching this story like a hawk. But, for those of you who focus on modes other than sea, here’s a quick summary:
- Everything is still backed up at the Ports of LA and Long Beach.
- The Senate is getting involved again and is trying to address the backlog of ocean freight by “modernizing the Ocean Shipping Reform Act” through OSRA22.
- The bill is incredibly controversial. Some ocean freight companies see this as something that will aggravate the issue. Meanwhile, some freight forwarders think it’s a first step towards progress.
As we all know, everything in the supply chain is connected. The main point of contention on this bill is simple—will addressing the hurdles identified in OSRA22 alleviate the backlog, or will logistics continue to be bogged down by other issues the supply chain is facing? Is it addressing the symptoms or the cause?
What the Truck is Happening?
These past few years have bled together with a seemingly constant refrain of, “trucking capacity is down,” or the popular remix, “there’s a shortage of truck drivers.” Here we are in Q1 of 2022, and the song seems to be stuck on repeat. Things haven’t gotten better.
A few weeks ago, the Canadian government decided that all American truck drivers entering the country needed to be vaccinated and all non-vaccinated Canadian truck drivers needed to have a negative PCR test and quarantine after crossing the border.
Since that mandate, protests have popped up across the country. Considering that Canada was already short about 20,000 truck drivers before the mandate went into effect, this string of protests is making the matter even more desperate. That pressure is substantially impacting North American supply chains, and it may get worse if the United States follows a similar path.
The mandate prioritizes truck driver and public safety against COVID, but it also aggravates the symptoms of the truck driver shortage that have impacted so many other aspects of the supply chain, like the backed-up ports and heightened prices.
Your outspoken uncle might believe he has the answers, but you know there are no easy fixes in the world of supply chains. Our team is dedicated to alleviating the confusion, controversy, and contradictions surrounding the logistics industry, which will help produce creative and sound solutions. But until the world is ready to address the causes, we will continue to relieve any symptoms we can.