Supply chain maintained its No. 5 spot as a discussion topic on Big Valley’s Top Conversations in Tech list in May’21. In fact, the topic registered a 5% increase in coverage volume from Apr’21 (from 151,284 stories to 159,060), while year-over-year volume fell 8% (from 151,284 stories to 173,769). However, coverage volume was still up by 65% from two years prior (ranking #9 in May’19).
Once more, supply chains were at the forefront as the industry continued to struggle with unprecedented delays at ocean ports and container shortages, fluctuations in freight capacity and demand, and ongoing shortage of materials impacting a number of sectors.
The Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack and its resulting chaos provided not only a painful reminder of our security vulnerabilities but also a wake-up call on how such incidents can disrupt critical supply chains and everyday life. After all, it took weeks for the gas supply chain in the Southeastern U.S. to normalize, as fuel shipments were disrupted, and consumer stockpiling created an even more chaotic environment.
When it comes to ocean shipping, we continued to experience the fragility of global supply chains. As global shippers were recovering from the delays caused by the Suez Canal blockage, the closure of the Yantian Port – the fourth busiest port in the world – due to a recent outbreak of COVID-19 among dockworkers sent further shockwaves to an already distressed industry and further slowed port operations in neighboring regions.
In response to these challenges, Home Depot made the unprecedented move to reserve its own ship, signaling that shippers are now ready to take matters into their hands. It will be interesting to see how other companies will respond to these constant supply chain challenges and to what lengths they are willing to go to minimize risks and uncertainties.