Since the onset of COVID-19, shortages of products have been common.
Many shortages were the result of the pandemic, including unexpected increases in demand, and facilities shutdown due to sick workers. With the re-opening of the economy, shortages have continued. Demand spikes, coupled with organizations being unable to re-staff enough workers, has led to product shortages in areas such as lumber.
However, not all disruptions in the supply chain are directly tied to the pandemic. Recently, the Colonial Pipeline was shut down due to hackers. This pipeline is one of the largest in the world, stretching from Houston, Texas into the northeastern United States. Its 5-day shutdown led to gasoline shortages along its length.
Another disruption to supply chains is being caused by a crack in the I-40 bridge in Memphis, Tennessee. The crack has forced the closure of the bridge for months, and temporarily shut down barge traffic on the Mississippi River. Traffic from this bridge has been diverted to the I-55 bridge, backing up traffic. Memphis hosts FedEx’s largest hub, and is a key artery for many supply chains.
Disruptions such as these illustrate weaknesses in the US infrastructure that can disrupt supply chains.
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