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US Commerce Secretary says there's no denying the supply-chain crisis poses 'a problem'

Oct 9, 2021, 00:38 IST
Business Insider
Associated Press
  • US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said on CNBC that the supply-chain issues pose a "problem."
  • Raimondo said the US is making "slow improvement," but people will feel the impact well into 2022.

US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told CNBC on Friday that US consumers will likely feel the impact of the supply-chain crisis into the coming year.

"There's a lot of work left to do," Raimondo said on CNBC. "We're making slow improvement. But there's no denying that it's a problem. I think we're going to be feeling these effects for well into 2022."

Raimondo's comments come as the largest ports in the US deal with near-record shipping volumes, while warehouses, railways, and trucking companies struggle to keep up with demand. The delays have spurred price hikes and shortages across the country. The amount of time, as well as the cost for shipping goods between Asia and the US has nearly doubled in the last few months.

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"It is disruptive, and that's why we have to stay focused," Raimondo said, highlighting the impact of the global shortage of computer chips, which has shutdown entire auto plants and made electronic goods increasingly valuable.

"Your entire life runs on semiconductors," she added.

Last month, global supply-chain workers warned world leaders that the industry is facing a potential "systems collapse" if local governments do not take action to help workers. That same week, the director of one of the largest US ports said the "situation is in a crisis mode."

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While ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach broke multiple records for the number of ships in the locations, as well as the number of cargo ships waiting to dock in September, the number of vessels has since trended slightly downward.

Raimondo said she's seen "incremental improvement" in the delays, but the crisis is far from over.

The cargo on the ships currently at anchor in the Southern California ports have been waiting to unload for as long as five weeks. Brian Whitlock, a senior director and research analyst for Gartner, said on LinkedIn that the goods on the vessels will likely not be seen until the end of October or November due to the delays at the ports paired with backups at nearby warehouses and trucking companies.

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Several major retailers have warned they may have a shortage of goods going into the holiday shopping season. In September, Nike said it doesn't have enough sneakers to sell for the holidays.

Experts told Insider last month that they do not see consumer demand tapering until late next year as holiday demand, as well as companies' efforts to replenish inventory, continues to strain the global supply chain at a time when it is still combating COVID-19 shutdowns in Asia.

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