St. Louis Supply Chain Interrupted: Here’s Everything You Can’t Get Now

May 10, 2021

Chicken, bottlenecks are popping up the entire supply chain as the pandemic affects shipping, demand, supply and all other levers in the global economy.

According to the writers of CNN Business, the following is hard to come by as to why and for how long.

chicken

The fried chicken wars put a strain on the poultry population. Big chains, including KFC, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Wingstop, are paying “high prices” for chicken, and suppliers are struggling to maintain demand because of the difficulty of attracting workers, the Wall Street Journal reported this week.
That’s a problem for KFC: the revamped chicken sandwich is selling twice as well as its predecessor and is becoming too popular to meet demand. The interest in the product and the scarce chicken supply have made it a “major challenge” for KFC to keep pace with customer orders, according to David Gibbs, CEO of Yum.
Some restaurants have removed chicken tenders and Nashville Hot-flavored chicken products from the menus in some restaurants because supplies were limited, WSJ reported.

chlorine

Summer is just around the corner, but anyone looking forward to a swim in the pool to cool off can experience a major “shock”. A lack of chlorine can make it more difficult for pool owners to purchase the sanitizer tabs.
Chlorine supplies are running low due to a fire at a chemical plant in Louisiana last August that was damaged by Hurricane Laura. As a result, tab prices have skyrocketed. A quick look at Amazon reveals that a 50-pound bucket of 3-inch In the Swim brand chlorine tablets now costs up to $ 169.99, which is about twice the normal cost.
“The extent of the chlorine deficiency is still unknown,” said B&B Pool & Spa Center, a retailer based in Chestnut Ridge, New York, on its website.
What is clear is that pool owners should consider stocking up sooner rather than later. “In terms of retail prices, the fact is that we are seeing an increase across the industry,” said Michael Egeck, CEO of pool utility Leslie’s, during a earnings conference call in February.

Computer chips

In the market for a new car, smartphone or washing machine this year? A global shortage of computer chips could mean you have to wait a while – and pay more.
A growing number of manufacturers around the world are struggling to secure supplies of semiconductors, delay the production and delivery of goods, and increase prices paid by consumers.
Several factors are driving the crisis, which originally centered on the auto industry. The first is the pandemic, which last year plunged the global economy into recession, revitalized supply chains and changed consumer purchasing patterns. Automakers cut orders for chips while tech companies whose products were promoted by Lockdown Living snapped up as many as they could.
The shortage is getting worse, spreading from cars to consumer electronics. With the bulk of chip production concentrated in a handful of suppliers, analysts warn that the crisis is likely to last through 2021.

gas

Millions of people stuck at home for more than a year are expected to be out for much-needed post-pandemic vacations this summer. But good luck finding gasoline.
It is not that there is a threat of crude oil or gasoline shortages. Rather, it is the tanker truck drivers who are needed to deliver the gasoline to gas stations that are in short supply, and that could create pump challenges on Memorial Day.

According to National Tank Truck Carriers, the industry’s trading group, between 20% and 25% of tankers in the fleet will be parked this summer due to a lack of skilled drivers.

“We’ve been dealing with a driver shortage for a while, but the pandemic has picked up and metastasized that problem,” said Ryan Streblow, executive vice president of the NTTC. “It has surely grown exponentially.”

Gas prices, which typically rise at the beginning of summer when seasonal regulations come into effect and require the more expensive “summer mix” of gasoline to combat smog, are also rising.

The national average price for regular gas is already averaging $ 2.94 per gallon, up more than 60% year over year when prices and demand hit rock bottom. The national average could top $ 3 a gallon this summer and turn out even higher if hurricanes hit the Gulf Coast or if other supply disruptions like a refinery fire occur. Friday’s ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline – one of the largest and most critical sources for the supply of fuel – also raises fears of an impending price spike.

Ketchup

The shortage of ketchup – especially in packages that often come with your take-away order – surfaced across the country last summer, and the conspiracy has intensified.
How did it happen? It started when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put off traditional dining service in restaurants and instead suggested more pandemic-friendly options like delivery and takeaway.

Suddenly, coast to coast restaurants were packing appetizers, sides, and cold drinks for a steady group of people working from home and pulling by in their cars. These customers expected spices. Thus, these traditional restaurants came into direct competition with fast food restaurants, which had also closed their dining rooms and increased their orders for ketchup packages.
Demand and prices rose and supply fell. Heinz, the country’s largest ketchup producer, is at the epicenter of the problem and is taking steps to address it. The company recently announced “a 25% increase in production to a total of 12 billion ketchup packages … a year”.

Wood

The real estate slump never arrived and now there is no longer enough wood to feed the red-hot real estate market.

The shortage is delaying the construction of much-needed new homes, making it difficult to renovate existing homes, and causing sticker shock for buyers in an already scorching market.
Random lumber futures hit a record high of $ 1,615 on Tuesday, a staggering seven-fold gain from the low in early April 2020. That’s a big deal given that lumber is the most significant product home builders buy.

The good news is that industry executives expect wood production to catch up with demand – eventually. Samuel Burman, an assistant commodity economist, recently predicted in a statement to customers that wood prices will “drop sharply” over the next 18 months.

Metals

Rare earth elements float. However, they are all prone to price volatility and shortages, the International Energy Agency warned in a report released this week, as their supply chains are opaque, the quality of the available deposits deteriorate and mining companies face stricter environmental and social standards. Another risk factor is limited access to known mineral deposits. Three countries together control more than 75% of the world’s production of lithium, cobalt and rare earth elements. The Democratic Republic of the Congo accounted for 70% of cobalt production in 2019, and China produced 60% of the rare earth elements, while 50% to 70% of the lithium and cobalt elements and nearly 90% of the rare earth elements were refined. Australia is the other power player. In the past, mining companies have responded to the increased demand and increased their investment in new projects. However, according to the IEA, it takes an average of 16 years from the discovery of a deposit for a mine to start production. The current supply and investment plans are aimed at “gradual, inadequate measures against climate change,” she warned.

steel

Steel is just the most recent shortage in the U.S. economy as it recovers from a pandemic that has disrupted supply chains and created sharp fluctuations in demand.

Like wood, the steel industry was surprised by the rapid recovery in demand that began last summer – particularly in the auto industry. “All of a sudden people were buying a lot of cars,” said Tanners, the Bank of America analyst.

And it took some time for America’s aging steel mills to resume production, which they had cut back sharply at the start of the pandemic. Steel inventories dwindled rapidly and deliveries were delayed when steel buyers ordered more than usual.

The good news, for steel buyers at least, is that analysts say all of the U.S. steel production capacity that was shut down during the pandemic has returned.

– CNN Business’s Chris Isidore, Paul R. La Monica, Matt Egan, Tom Foreman, Charles Riley and Hanna Zlady contributed to this report.

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