Supply Chain Management May Shift if Peak Season Fails to Arrive

This article by Jeff Berman explains how the Peak Season may not be nearly as powerful as in the past, affecting the ways supply chains are going to react for the second half of the economic year. The reasons for the slump are many: high unemployement, weak retail sales and decreased manufacturing output among them. Furthermore, the article explains how a recent labor dispute between the Longshoreman's Association and the United States Maritime Alliance has been pushed back to December 29th for resolution, casting some doubt on many supply chains' ability to deliver. The article goes on to cite a recent interview in Logistics Management wherein Paul Bingham explained how this affected supply chains throughout the U.S.: “A big factor in shipping this Peak Season not following normal patterns is the impact of the [potential] threat of the East and Gulf Coast port disruption,” said Bingham. “Because that threat was live and impending soon until last week, shippers had to already make decisions about their contingency plans, which affected routing and timing of some shipments going back earlier in the season.” The consequence of that, he explained, has included acceleration of orders and shipments by some shippers and others selectively diverting cargo to West Coast port services instead of all water services to the East / Gulf Coasts. But that practice will quickly dissipate now although the impact on U.S. port volumes will carry into October given lead times for overseas shipment originations, according to Bingham. Consumers are being cautious, and that means that suppliers, manufacturers, and retailers are not pushing for lots of products and materials through supply chains. While there is certainly still the chance for a stronger peak season, it may come much later than in past years, and depends on a number of considerations previously unimportant to retailers and supply chains.

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