Commentary

 By Kipp Jones  October 1, 2021 at 3:45pm

A group of international transport organizations issued a chilling warning of the potential collapse of supply chains in the coming months, and they’re asking world leaders to do something to avert what could be a catastrophe.

Global experts in trade logistics, who know more about getting things from point A to point B than President Joe Biden does about ice cream, are asking authorities to simply let them do their jobs unrestrained after almost two years of coronavirus red tape.

In an open letter released this week, they spelled out the stakes of continued delays caused by pandemic protocols. They asked the UN, the World Health Organization and anyone else listening to intervene to prevent a “global transport systems collapse.”

“Since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the maritime, road and aviation industries have called loudly and clearly on governments to ensure the free movement of transport workers and to end travel bans and other restrictions that have had an enormously detrimental impact on their wellbeing and safety,” the letter said.

“Transport workers keep the world running and are vital for the free movement of products, including vaccines and PPE, but have been continually failed by governments and taken for granted by their officials,” the experts added, noting that they are responsible for a combined $20 trillion in annual world trade.

“We ask heads of government to urgently take the leadership that is required to bring an end to the fragmented travel rules and restrictions that have severely impacted the global supply chain and put at risk the health and wellbeing of our international transport workforce.”

According to the leaders of the shipping industry, nobody is listening, and a global disaster could be the result.

“We are witnessing unprecedented disruptions and global delays and shortages on essential goods including electronics, food, fuel and medical supplies. Consumer demand is rising and the delays look set to worsen ahead of Christmas and continue into 2022.”

The letter also referred to ships stuck out at sea waiting to be unloaded. We’ve seen some of this in the U.S., as dozens of container ships remain anchored near the Port of Long Beach in the Los Angeles area:

More than 70 container ships are stacked up outside of California’s Long Beach port waiting to unload. Talk about a supply chain problem! Take a look.pic.twitter.com/VMfmYEAU4B

— Steve Hanke (@steve_hanke) September 28, 2021

Port of Long Beach executive director: “The situation is in a crisis mode… I would advise the consumers to start your Christmas shopping early.”

The Port of Long Beach is moving to extend operations to 24/7 to help alleviate a backlog of ships.@MariaBartiromo @FoxBusiness pic.twitter.com/frLMldPVPT

— Mornings with Maria (@MorningsMaria) September 27, 2021

Cargo ships are gathered outside of Los Angeles and Long Beach ports, due to shortages of truck drivers and full warehouses.

The backlog could spark shipping delays and shortages around the holidays in toys, gifts, and more. pic.twitter.com/iRSeUUEF5P

— ABC 10News San Diego (@10News) September 23, 2021

New York is seeing similar issues:

Dozens of ships are forced to anchor off coast of New York as they wait to dock in the country’s second-largest port https://t.co/mFDx69ndz4

— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) September 26, 2021

“Around 24 cargo ships and oil tankers are stuck waiting to dock off the coast of Long Island, New York, due to a surge in demand for consumer goods and short-staffed ports.”https://t.co/spm2YSwPRT

— Charles Kenny (@charlesjkenny) September 27, 2021

According to international shipping workers, these backlogs should be taken as a sign that something needs to change — and quickly.

The experts warned that things could soon get worse, as many workers are expected to simply quit.

“It is of great concern that we are also seeing shortages of workers and expect more to leave our industries as a result of the poor treatment they have faced during the pandemic, putting the supply chain under greater threat,” their letter warned.

The workers concluded by calling on world leaders to take “meaningful and swift action to resolve this crisis now.”

While ships stack up in California and New York, Biden and Democrats have spent this week squabbling over their agenda, which includes spending trillions of dollars on “infrastructure” — meaning roads and bridges, presumably.

If the trade situation is as dire as the experts are saying it is, there might not be anyone to navigate those roads and bridges with the goods we rely on if something isn’t done fast.

Surely, those in command know what is happening. The only question: Why is nothing being done about it?

Johnathan “Kipp” Jones has worked as a reporter, an editor and a producer in radio, television and digital media. He is a proud husband and father.

Johnathan “Kipp” Jones has worked as an editor and producer in radio and television. He is a proud husband and father.

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