(LifeSiteNews) – China’s COVID-19 lockdown policies are closing businesses and seaports, which may have a catastrophic effect on the global supply chain.
“Asian production networks, hitherto impressively resilient, may be thrown into a funk as Omicron [the latest variant of COVID-19] grips the region,” wrote HSBC economist and World Economic Forum member Frederic Neumann in a letter to his clients. “The risk, then, is that over the coming months we’ll experience the ‘mother of all supply chain’ stumbles: an Omicron-driven stall in factory Asia.”
China is the world’s largest exporter of goods, and Neumann’s warning comes in tandem with the Chinese government’s decision to close Ningbo, its largest port city by volume, and Tianjin, a port-city near Beijing that has a population of 14 million people. While Neumann maintains that businesses and the shipping industry may be able to sidestep to some degree the logistical hurdles posed by the lockdowns, the end result is that the closures will likely result in shipping delays and increasingly empty shelves for consumers in North America.
“With slower moving variants, many governments were able to shield essential manufacturing operations, limiting the impact on the output of essential goods and components,” Neumann continued. “But that will be harder to do with Omicron, which races through populations at unrivaled speed — and even if it presents a somewhat less acute health risk compared to earlier variants, it is still potent enough to deprive Asia’s factory of a critical number of workers during their convalescence.”
China’s ongoing port closures are occurring at a time when the container ship traffic jam off U.S. coasts continues unabated.
“[W]e do foresee the strain to continue for some time still,” said Danish shipping giant AP Moller-Maersk in a January 11th report on the current state of the container shipping industry to its clients. “Unfortunately, 2022 has not started off as we had hoped. The pandemic is still going strong and, unfortunately, we are seeing new outbreaks impacting our ability to move your cargo.”
While shipping delays currently affect most of the world to some degree, the waiting times for ships to berth in North America’s western ports are the longest. For example, two West Coast ports — Long Beach and Los Angeles, the U.S.’s largest seaport — have delays as much as 45 days and 28 days, respectively.
The impending supply chain crisis caused by port closures and consequent shipping container delays is now only compounded by the U.S. and Canada’s decision to implement COVID-19 vaccine mandates on truckers entering each country — all truckers must now have an experimental COVID-19 vaccine in order to cross the border. Estimates range from 12,000-38,000 truckers in Canada alone going off the road for their refusal to comply with the mandate. The cumulative impact of these decisions is yet unknown, but they are unlikely to yield positive results on the pocketbooks and quality of life of everyday citizens.
LifeSiteNews recommends that you take steps to stock your pantry and garage with the items you need to increase your resilience — before prices increase or items become unavailable.