With ports clogged, some retailers seek alternative supply chains – Reason.com

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With clogged ports and harassed supply chains ahead of the holiday shopping season, some major U.S. retailers are taking unprecedented steps to get merchandise on store shelves. This includes chartering their own freighters to import goods.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Walmart, Target, Costco and Home Depot are among the major retailers taking the “if you want something done right, do it yourself” approach to importing merchandise. Worker shortages and COVID-19 protocols have significantly slowed trans-Pacific transport – it now takes around 80 days to transport items from Asia to the United States, roughly twice as long as before the pandemic, the Newspaper reports.

While some politicians are quick to blame the global trading system for the current supply chain problems America is experiencing, it is clear that many of the bottlenecks are domestic issues. For example, major ports in Europe and Asia operate 24 hours a day, but US ports are operating at around 60% capacity because they close at night and on Sundays. Even when dozens of ships are waiting to be unloaded, rigid union rules governing the hours of dockworkers and truckers make it difficult to meet growing demand.

By chartering smaller private vessels to transport their goods, retailers like Walmart hope to bypass backlogs by disembarking at smaller ports along the east coast. It will cost more – and those costs will be passed on to consumers – but it’s better than running out of stock during the Christmas rush. The Home Depot, for example, relies on charter vessels to deliver only a small percentage of its overall inventory with a focus on high-demand items like plumbing supplies, power tools, vacation decor and appliances. heating, the Newspaper reports.

Getting goods ashore is only half the battle. There are plenty of other bottlenecks to overcome, such as a 25-mile freight train backup that occurred at a major shipping facility outside of Chicago earlier this year. At the port of Savannah, Georgia, The New York Times reports that workers “lack places to store things” when unloading ships, scolding both land and sea transport.

Frustratingly, it is not at all clear how long it will take to resolve this Atlantic’s Derek Thompson called “any shortage”:

The coronavirus pandemic has scolded global supply chains in several ways. Pandemic checks have sent hundreds of billions of dollars to Americans with cabin fever during a fallow period in the service sector. Much of this money was spent on durable goods, especially household items such as furniture and home improvement materials. Many of these materials have to be imported or transit through East Asia. But that region faces the Delta variant, which has been considerably deadlier than previous iterations of the virus. Delta caused several shutdowns of semiconductor factories across Asia as demand for cars and electronics began to rise. As a result, these stops along the supply chain are slowing down just as Americans demand that they work in overdrive.

None of the problems facing supply chains are endless or intractable, it’s just boring. As the NewspaperThe report says the profit motive is doing its best to keep goods flowing by getting companies to think outside the box. And the current mess is in some ways an illustration of how truly remarkable the modern world of global commerce really is – something you can only fully appreciate when it’s not working quite well.


FREE SPIRITS

It’s the second Monday in October, which means it’s time to celebrate… America’s most confusing quasi-national holiday. President Joe Biden issued a proclamation on Friday declaring October 11 Indigenous Peoples Day, meaning the federal government will join dozens of cities and states in honoring Native American contributions today. Of course, federal workers will have a day off because October 11 is Columbus Day, at least according to the Office of Personnel Management.

Which one is it? Why not … either? Christopher Columbus is not a hero or, at least, he is not an American hero. Italian-American communities should be free to celebrate her legacy however they wish, of course, but raising it to the level of having your own federal vacation has always seemed more than a little odd. We force George Washington and Abraham Lincoln to share, but Columbus gets his?

And although Native Americans have been unmistakably neglected throughout American history, the co-option of Columbus Day as a way to recognize Native American accomplishments will always be at least a little embarrassing – and hardly compensates for the centuries of abuse inflicted by United States.

Creating new federal holidays isn’t a bad idea – June, for example – and surely there are other dates on the calendar that could become Indigenous Peoples Day (or the weekend?) At the square. And anyone upset by Columbus’s removal from the rotation should research the origins of the holiday: President Benjamin Harrison declared the first Columbus Day in an effort to end violent discrimination against Italian immigrants. Federal holidays always have a political angle. But the only thing accomplished by the current mess is the creation of more water for the crop wars, which is the last thing America needs.

Federal bureaucrats should have to work today. National unity demands it.


FREE MARKETS

The Biden administration is considering an executive decree that would include new regulations for cryptocurrencies and the appointment of a “crypto czar.”

Bloomberg reports:

The proposed directive would task federal agencies to study and offer recommendations on relevant areas of crypto, affecting financial regulation, economic innovation and national security, said the people, who asked not to not be appointed to discuss plans still under consideration.

The initiative will also aim to coordinate agency work on digital currencies across the executive, the people said. The plan would push departments that have paid little attention to crypto to focus on it.


QUICK CUT

• Southwest Airlines canceled thousands of flights over the weekend. The airline blamed the problems with air traffic control and a staff shortage. Despite widespread speculation on social media that Southwest pilots were refusing to work due to the airline’s vaccination mandate, the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association said there was no “official or unofficial action. official “in progress.

• A US Navy nuclear engineer has been accused of attempting to sell secret information about US submarines to an unidentified foreign nation.

• Obama’s campaign genius David Shor has said Democrats are heading for annihilation in 2024.

• The shutdown of nuclear power plants has forced some places to rely on dirtier options to support renewables.

• Even oatmeal is getting more and more expensive.

• A Courage Profile of Representative Steve Scalise (R – La.):

• Democrats threw a lot of money at voters in hopes of buying their loyalty. It doesn’t seem to have worked.

• When Facebook and Instagram went down for several hours on October 4, traffic to Pornhub increased.

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