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AS THE PANDEMIC SLOWS DOWN, ARE SUPPLY CHAIN ISSUES IMPROVING?

Provided by: - May 31, 2023

By HANNAH POLK

For the Regina & District Chamber of Commerce

Supply chain issues were a main concern during the pandemic and, like COVID-19, its impacts lingered on into the years following.

The three-year mark from when the world shut down has already come and gone.

It has been enough time that large businesses have most likely recovered from their financial losses during the pandemic, yet prices on grocery shelves are still rising and small businesses are still struggling.

So, is the supply chain still to blame for the high price of your ground beef, or are shipping times on the downtrend?

Flexport.com is a website that tracks ocean ships that carry cargo from port to port and provides a report on timeliness of these ships over the months. According to Flexport, the supply chain is recovering well and shipping times are improving by the week.

In a report released on April 24th, 2023, the average time for ships travelling from China to the U.S. was 61 days, which is down from a staggering 110 days at the end of 2021.

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported in February of this year that many American brands are no longer considering the supply chain to be a major concern.

Chris Cocks, the CEO of Hasbro, the international toy-retailer, told the WSJ that supply chain issues are not as concerning to them as it was in 2022.

“We don’t feel like we’re going to have that issue again,” Mr. Cocks said to the WSJ.

“We feel like we’re pretty well ahead of our supply-chain issues, and the capacity of our vendors is pretty good.”

Businesses in Canada seem to be hopeful for their inventory and supply times, too.

StatsCan conducted a survey on supply chain issues for the first quarter of 2023. The results concluded only one in ten businesses expected inventory levels would be an obstacle to maintain over the next three months.

This means 90 per cent of businesses surveyed in Canada believed their concerns with the supply chain were low enough to discount it as an obstacle.

While these numbers provide some good news for businesses, concerns for consumers like food prices are dictated by more than just the supply chain and labour shortages.

Global conflicts such as the war in Ukraine, the inflation of the U.S. dollar, and tax increases on food from China all play a role in how much milk costs at your local Superstore.

For now, unfortunately, you might want to hold onto those coupons for ground beef.

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