(CBS Baltimore) – The supply chain is made up of the many steps that take a product to a customer. But for the moment, the chain seems broken, or at least crimped in places. Store shelves are partly empty, deliveries are delayed and prices are rising. Bottlenecks at many stages of the process prevent consumers from obtaining products. When the supply chain returns to normal is a puzzle. And the economy is paying the price.
A company’s supply chain can begin with suppliers of raw materials and other inputs. Once a product is manufactured, it travels along the network from the factory to a warehouse to a store and finally to the end customer. Various agents, brokers, salespeople, transportation companies and distribution centers can play a key role throughout the process to ensure that a product is produced and reaches its final destination.
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Thanks to a variety of issues, exacerbated by the global COVID pandemic, the supply chain is not acting the way it should. Freighters carrying around half a million shipping containers filled with cargo from various countries in Asia are waiting to be unloaded at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Once unloaded, a shortage of truck drivers prevents these containers from leaving ports on time. Rail terminals, where trucks deliver goods for the next leg of the journey, are backed up by containers awaiting additional transport, which, in turn, also block incoming trains. If these goods somehow make it to a warehouse, labor shortages limit their processing on time.
And these are just a few of the problems.
A global shortage of microchips, exacerbated by winter storms in Texas that affected domestic production, is slowing production of cars and various electronic devices. China, where many consumer goods destined for America are produced, suffers from an ongoing energy crisis that is reducing manufacturing. And manufacturers in many other countries with lower vaccination rates have suffered closures and worker shortages due to the spread of the Delta variant.
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All of this came as a shift in spending, brought on by COVID, dramatically increased demand for a wide variety of products. The situation is fluid and will likely remain so during the holiday season and the New Year.
CBS Local has the latest supply chain news from its markets across the country. We update this list frequently, so check back often for the latest news on the situation.
An in-depth look at the supply chain crisis:
Supply Chain Problems: “There really are problems everywhere”, even for small businesses
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An overview of the impact of supply chain issues on consumers across the country:
Holiday shoppers arrive in stores early due to supply chain issues
The Squeeze: Experts suggest buying locally made gifts to avoid supply chain issues this holiday season
Furniture delivery delays: how supply chain issues lead to backups
Local stores get creative to tackle supply chain shortages
The Squeeze: Supply chain issues cause charities to feel pain ahead of holiday season
Supply chain issues are causing auto parts shortage and wreaking havoc on the auto industry
The Squeeze: Supply chain issues causing headaches and frustration at mom-and-pop retailers in New York City
The supply chain creates a garage door waiting game; Municipal inspectors authorize leniency
Global supply chain crisis affects souvenir and food vendors at Levi’s Stadium
No more wire hangers? The supply chain crisis is now affecting the businesses you least expect
Local small business owners meet to discuss supply chain issues
Supply chain delays disrupt California nut exports
Bay Area grocery stores facing shortage of items on Thanksgiving shopping lists
How to deal with supply chain shortages as the holiday season approaches
‘This is a year like no other’: Local toy stores face supply chain shortages
Due to soaring natural gas prices, consumers are expected to pay around $ 40 more per month on heating bills