As cities like Charleston, SC, continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, repercussions continue to disrupt local as well as the national economy. Specifically, the disruptions the pandemic caused to the supply chain continue. Supply chain bottlenecks all over the world are affecting a wide range of industries, including the auto industry, medical supplies, electronics, household goods, and more. Here, we’ll explore the global supply chain crisis impacting East Coast port cities like Charleston and how its industries are coping.
What’s causing worldwide supply chain issues?
There are multiple factors causing today’s supply chain problems as the world strives to return to pre-pandemic levels of commerce. If you’ve traveled around Charleston, you’ve likely seen “help wanted” signs in business after business. The U.S. is experiencing a labor shortage; that is affecting not only companies that ship and receive goods, but also warehouses up and down the coast. Without enough workers to manage the import and export of goods, the process has become dogged by longer waits. In August of 2021 alone, 4.3 million workers quit their jobs. This ‘Great Resignation’ is affecting a myriad of industries from hospitality and service to industrial and retail sectors.
Since the pandemic, the rest of the globe is also struggling with supply chain problems. When key exporters of electronic parts, for instance, are experiencing shutdowns, even temporary, it has a worldwide impact. For example, China has experienced power outages that have contributed to the supply chain crisis. There is a serious truck driver shortage in Europe. The pandemic has caused many disruptions at the local level, but collectively, these disruptions are perpetuating the supply chain struggle worldwide.
What are east coast cities doing to combat these problems?
Industries and warehouses in Charleston have certainly been plagued by supply chain woes, but according to the latest news, they’re also seeing more improvements than West Coast ports. Why? One reason is that it’s more convenient for ships to reach East Coast ports. Another reason is that port cities such as Charleston have invested in their port infrastructures. In fact, over the last few years, Charleston has invested roughly $2 billion in port infrastructure improvements. It’s not in a better position to manage supplies as they come in. Even though the problem continues, the city is already experiencing increased rates of cargo movement.
As importers look for ways to mitigate the supply chain crisis, they’re increasingly moving freight through Charleston as well as East Coast ports of Virginia, Florida, and New Jersey. Unfortunately, the increases aren’t likely to end the supply chain crisis in the U.S. for months, especially as demand for goods during the peak fall season continues to rise. That demand only leads to higher prices across the supply chain spectrum.
For now, East Coast cities like Charleston have little choice but to ride out the storm. It appears clear that, at least, they’ll hit smooth sailing before the rest of the country if they continue to weather the crisis as they’ve been doing.
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The overall market nationwide and locally continues to improve. If you are a commercial property owner or are looking for the right space, find out how Caldwell Commercial can help. Our property managers and commercial realtors have over 80 years of combined experience, making us a trusted partner for commercial real estate in the Charleston area. Contact us today.