Right now birds of all kinds are traveling across the globe as the season’s change and they head to suitable habitats where they can spend the winter months. They face many, many challenges during these journeys – storms, cell towers, windows in skyscrapers, predators, finding food and water, and in some places people with guns. It is a wonder any of them make it.
In the human realm there is a constant migration across all the oceans as huge container ships make journies delivering goods and materials necessary for our day to day lives. But there is a big problem right now in that system of commerce. The ginormous container ship that got stuck in the Suez Canal stands as a symbol of the
current challenge facing companies and businesses around the world. The Covid virus did not just upend our personal lives. The closures and shutdowons that occurred in the beginning have been sending out ripples across economies worldwide.
Container shipping began seven decades ago and it has never faced the roadblocks we see today. There are about 25 million containers in use globally, shuttling goods around the world on some 6,000 ships. While the hassles and delays in shipping have caused financial hardships for companies importing or exporting goods, the crisis has been a boon to the companies carrying the containers. As an example, “two years ago, a 40-foot container cost less than $2,000 to transport goods from Asia to the U.S. Today the service fetches as much as $25,000 if an importer pays a premium for on-time delivery.” These kinds of costs will be transferred eventually to the consumer. So not only will you have to wait longer for what you want, you will pay more for it.
And then there are the labor shortages so many businesses are facing. This applies to the people who work at the docks and in trucking. The ships may make it across the ocean in good time, but once they reach their destination there is no guarantee they will be able to unload their goods. Outside the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach the number of ships anchored offshore more than doubled to 45 from late July to August .Then there were the fires in western Canada that slowed the trains hauling containers. Because of globalization and the complications involved getting everything back up and running smoothly, we are probably looking at another year before it begins to smooth out again.
Word has it the even Santa Claus may have a less than full sack this Christmas. With that in mind you might want to shop early and order your wild bird seed in October or any other bird feed that you want to give as gifts to friends and relatives this holiday season.
By Kate Crowley