The Global Shipping Crisis & Supply Chain Delays

6 May 2022

New Zealand (along with countries everywhere) is experiencing major shipping backlogs and a global shipping crisis. We all know what it’s like when someone tells us that freight is delayed. It is a ‘yeah right, nice excuse’ moment. But it’s actually true and at some point it is likely to affect you, so we’ve written a small piece to ensure you’re not in the dark.

What is happening?

At the best of times, global shipping is a fragile and delicate dance of a thousand pieces. Add an ongoing pandemic, extreme weather events, and huge demand and it becomes an unsightly dance. What is happening? As an example, the Chinese Government recently placed Shanghai into lockdown. This has resulted in hundreds of container ships stuck at sea, waiting days and sometimes weeks for dock space to unload. Take a look at this graph. From 2017 to 2021, the average number of ships waiting off Shanghai hovered around 150. In late March 2022, this was around 750. That’s a 400% increase.

Things are going to get worse before they get better

With COVID lockdowns in China and the cascading effect this has on ports globally, we can expect this ongoing disruption to add more pressure on global shipping and thus supply chains.
Our freight partners have confirmed that on a scale of 1 – 10, the severity of New Zealand’s supply chain delays and issues could increase to between 6 and 8.

What can you do to minimize potential disruption to your business?
It could be at least a year before shipping returns to normal. While we wait with bated breath for normality to return, here is what we recommend you do to mitigate disruptions to your business –

  • Plan ahead and place larger orders well in advance to avoid any stock issues
  • Let us know of any upcoming projects so we can help ensure you’re not caught short
  • Stay in touch with your Key Account manager and let them know about any expected changes
  • To talk to our team regarding your stock deliveries or stock orders give our team a call

What are we doing to help?

As one of NZs largest importers of bedding & linen, we know we have a key part to play in this industry. Here are some things we are doing to help.

  • We’re planning way further ahead than previously (7-8 months out)
  • We’ve doubled our investment in stockholding
  • We’ve changed our local freight companies to ensure that once here, stock is not delayed any further
  • We’ve built secondary suppliers in other countries so we have options

If you have any questions or queries around shipping, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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