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CEO says supply chain issues show no signs of ending, leading companies to get creative

Several ship to shore cranes stack shipping containers on-board the container ship Maersk Semarang at the Port of Savannah in Savannah, Ga.
Several ship to shore cranes stack shipping containers on-board the container ship Maersk Semarang at the Port of Savannah in Savannah, Ga.
Credit Stephen B. Morton / AP Photo

Supplies to build a house, manufacture a car and even some holiday gifts may not be available at the moment because of ongoing supply chain issues.

The worldwide problem has container ships backed up on both coasts.

Pervinder Johar is CEO of Blume Global, a supply chain technology company with offices here in Atlanta. He recently joined WABE’s “All Things Considered.”

As to why the supply chain snags continue, Johar says it’s taking too long to unload containers from ships.

“At the Port of Savannah, we’ve never really had backlogs of ships waiting,” said Johar. “Now the ship comes in, it needs to unload all the containers, they all need to be put on a rail or on a truck to get to the distribution centers. There all type of reasons, but that backlog has continued. And right now, it doesn’t look like anything will improve, at least well into 2022.”

Johar says part of the blame lies in a labor shortage. He says there also continue to be inefficiencies that are caused by a reliance on what he calls “manual labor.”

“I’m still surprised at how much of the communication between an ocean carrier, a freight forwarder and a trucking company happens via e-mails and phone calls,” he said.

He says companies, some of which are headquartered in Atlanta, are looking for alternatives to traditional shipping methods, trying to bypass the delays.

“You saw Home Depot chartering ships for the first time to move goods in for Halloween,” said Johar. “Coca-Cola did the same thing, so now they’re chartering their own ships. So people are being creative in trying to figure out ‘how do I get my goods into stores?'”