For many, images of the gigantic container ship, Ever Given, turned sideways in the Suez Canal was interesting and perhaps even amusing. For the global supply chain, however, it was yet another disruption to a wide range of industries across the world.
While the canal has reopened, and backed up shipping traffic eased, the impacts of the delays were felt for months. For example, ports on the West Coast are now struggling to accommodate and off-load arriving ships, which adds to transport time. Shipping containers are also currently in short supply and causing delays for products leaving Europe and China. When containers arrive in the U.S. a shortage of truck drivers is creating delays getting shipments from the docks to the final point of distribution.
To avoid delays in container shipping, Irwin works with a variety of domestic suppliers and utilizes air freight to meet critical deadlines. Our manufacturing plants in Michigan and Illinois keeps production and purchasing in direct contact. Materials are delivered to one location, and production is fully under our control.
While the Suez Canal blockage and the covid-related trucker shortage will live on in history books (and internet memes) it’s called attention to some larger shipping concerns that we can learn from.