Supply chains, interrupted: How Singapore and the world are coping with disruptions

Retailers in S’pore race to replenish festive stocks

With just three weeks to go until Christmas, retailers are racing to replenish their stocks of festive items and fighting the supply chain crunch to do so.

While many are still sweating over whether their merchandise will arrive in time to catch holiday shoppers, some have learnt from last year’s Covid-19 pandemic disruptions and started stocking their inventories early.

For the past 11/2 months, Mr Daniel Chua of Ji Mei Flower has been anxiously tracking his shipments of live Christmas trees from the United States.

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Why a bicycle takes 40 days to reach Singapore

The Straits Times reporters tracked a bicycle order from China to Singapore – before and after – global supply chains broke down.

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China’s manufacturing hub hit by shipping delays

Logistics agent Lily Chen now spends most of her work day wrangling for spots on cargo ships leaving China.

What used to take less than five minutes now occupies most of her working hours, after Covid-19 threw the shipping industry into chaos.

When the world shut down during the pandemic last year, shipping firms cut down on cargo routes.

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Truckers in demand in US, but there aren’t enough of them

If freight trains rumbling across the great American plains are the sinews of the supply chain in the biggest market on the planet, then trucks are its life blood.

Normally, an estimated 3.5 million truckers driving 16- and 18-wheel behemoths stitch together America’s supply chain, a complex web from ports to warehouses to chain stores.

But trucking does not pay enough to compensate for the long hours at the wheel across this vast country. Add the Covid-19 pandemic to the mix, and the plethora of factors has contributed to a shortage of roughly 80,000 truck drivers – up from 61,000 in 2018 – industry analysts say.

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S’pore set to weather disruptions but global supply chain reset a concern

Exports seem to have defied supply disruptions stemming from the pandemic but persistent stress on global supply chains may have ramifications down the line for a trade-dependent economy like Singapore.

Inflation is the immediate threat, of course, but another longer-term risk looms for Singapore, given that it is mainly a producer of intermediate goods and components.

If the global sourcing networks for such inputs undergo an unexpected and unfavourable reconfiguration, there may be a painful economic adjustment needed here in coming years.

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