Worldwide Shortages of Everything Are Here
Reports from all over the world of food shortages and shortages of everything else are becoming regular events, not only in 3rd world countries, but 1st world nations like the United States. So, what is the root of the problem, can it be fixed, and how long will that take?
These major food shortages are taking place for many reasons, but one of the major issues is because of employment shortages in every country of dock workers, ship workers, and truck drivers. During COVID shutdowns people were forced to find other jobs to make ends meet, so instead of seeing people coming back to their old jobs, those people already moved on and found a solution. Ship workers throughout the world are not being allowed to get off of there ships as governments see them as a threat to spread COVID-19, especially the Delta variant. The Delta variant of the coronavirus has devastated parts of Asia and prompted many nations to cut off land access for sailors. That’s left captains unable to rotate weary crews and about 100,000 seafarers stranded at sea beyond their stints in a flashback to 2020 and the height of lockdowns. This has cost the jobs of many other sailors who were supposed to take over the next shift when the ship arrived to its intended destination. Due to the uncomfortably long journeys, many are quitting or already lost their jobs due to COVID policies.
These new lockdowns due to the Delta variant are taking place throughout the world, shutting down ports in the process creating massive backlogs of ships at major ports. For example in Vietnam the recent port shutdown led to a back log of 100,000 containers. China’s Ningbo-Zhoushan port, the third largest in the world, also had to shut down operations due to a recent COVID lockdown. Currently what used to take 45 days to get a container shipped, unloaded, and on store shelves, is now taking up to 70 days. Lockdowns and the Delta variant aren’t the only thing causing this massive supply chain chaos. The recent Suez Canal crisis was compounded by deadly floods in economic giants China and Germany which have further ruptured global supply lines that had yet to recover from the first wave of the pandemic, compromising trillions of dollars of economic activity that rely on them. Other man made causes like the recent cyber attack on South Africa’s main ports that caused an eight day delay have not helped as well. Meanwhile in Great Britain the official health app has told hundreds of thousands of workers to isolate following contact with someone with COVID-19, leading to supermarkets warning of a short supply and some petrol stations closing. All of this, on top of food and petrol not making it to gas stations and grocery stores due to a lack of truck drivers. They have now gotten the army to drive trucks to try to make up the shortages.
We are not the only people sounding the alarm of what is coming. Executives around the world of major Grocery and Food chains are sounding the alarm and warning of major shortages of everything coming soon. Prices inevitably go higher as demand rises and the price hikes are starting with shipping. 90% of the world’s traded goods are loaded onto container ships and freight charges have hit all time records. 40 foot containers, which are the main means by which products are shipped on container ships across the ocean, have jumped dramatically over the last two years. For example the cost of a container being shipped from China to the United States went from 2,000 USD in November 2020 to 8,000 USD in January 2021 then to 11,000 by the end of July, and now cost more than 20,000 USD as of October 2021. The latest China to Europe price is currently 14,000 USD. Now that Christmas is coming up, the United States is the world’s biggest cash cow as demand for consumers is very high in the US and is causing shipping companies to shift many of their ships to US shipping lanes because US companies are willing to pay the highest prices.
“Ships can only be profitably operated in the trades where freight rates are higher, and that is why capacity is shifting mostly to the U.S.,” said Tan Hua Joo, executive consultant at research consultancy Linerlytica. Some shippers have reduced volumes in less profitable routes, such as the transatlantic and intra-Asia. This means that rates on the less profitable routes are now increasing fast due to fewer available ships. Therefor everyone is effected. Now most major ports instead of being able to unload ships within 2-3 days it is taking 7-8 days which is why you see 70 to 80 ships waiting off the coast just outside the ports of California and every other major port in the world.
Now, once the products eventually get to stores, we the consumer are paying much higher prices due to these increased shipping costs as well as workers being paid higher salaries to incentivize them to come back to work. All of this is troubling, but it is also an opportunity.
How to invest?
Now is the time to invest in major shipping companies because their stock prices are soaring due to the high demand and high prices they are now able to charge. To be sure, we checked and there is no pattern to suggest the price of shipping stocks always goes up at this time during the year, but is in fact hit or miss, sometimes going down, sometimes going flat, and sometimes going up. Although this is a good time be sure you have food and water for any food shortages that may hit your area, it is also a good time to increase your wealth.
That’s Not All Folks
Food shortages imminent everywhere
Nearly all of the agricultural states in the United States have been facing severe drought and farmers are having to destroy their own crops due to a lack of water. For example about 63% of the United States Spring wheat crop is in poor or very poor condition compared to 6% the same time last year. California alone produces 60 percent of America’s vegetables, fruits, and nuts that Americans consume, and that’s just California. The same is happening throughout South America as well in places like Brazil, Argentina, Peru and many other agriculture exporting nations. And at the same time the worst drought in 250 years in Europe has dug in and continues for the 4th consecutive year resulting in historic losses of crops in the major food producing ares of the EU with yields being meager in comparison to yields in recorded history. Global food insecurity has gone up 6 times higher in 2021 and surging food prices have caused a 40% jump in global hunger. Even the Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris said so in a press conference in Singapore, saying the world should start buying Christmas presents now because there will likely be shortages for many months to come.
China’s Energy Crisis
China is the world’s largest exporter of goods, and 60% of China’s energy is produced by burning coal. China consumes a staggering 50% of the world’s coal. Now it has a major issue of power outages in more than 85% of the country that are lasting for days at a time. Authorities are telling people in the country that such outages should be expected for months to come. This is very troubling, because most people rely on electricity to cook, but especially because winter is coming quickly and there are very harsh winters in the north of China. Local and nearby coal production is way behind local coal consumption.
Coal consumption is increasing at 12.5% per year while coal production is only increasing at 4% per year. To make matters worse, starting in September last year China cracked down hard on regulations for coal mines in order to fulfill its pledge to become carbon neutral by 2060, making a large portion of in-country coal mines illegal overnight which has further hampered coal production. To make matters worse worse, China’s current standoff with Australia who produces some of the world’s most efficient coal, which many of China’s major power plants are specifically designed to burn, has completely stopped any imports of coal from Australia. Even if coal started to be shipped from Australia, it would not be nearly enough to make up the difference needed. Russia, who is also a major producer of coal is currently needing to fulfill its promises to the rest of Europe before it can possibly help with the situation in China. Indonesia, who is one of the world’s biggest producers of coal is going to play a major role in helping China in this crisis, but once again it will not be enough even at the highest capacity of production to fill the needed gaps.
What this means for China and the world is the halting of power not only to its citizens for long periods of time, but also to its factories which the world is currently relying on to fill the demand of orders from around the globe that is being greatly impeded by the current global supply chain bottle neck and employment shortages.
Currently, India’s capital province Delhi is two days away from running out of coal for its power plants as are a vast majority of its other provinces. Lebanon is now in complete blackout after its two main power stations have run out of coal as well, meaning there is zero power outside of personal generators and is said by the government to last at least 48 hours, a possible breaking point in the nation.
There is a race worldwide to see who can buy fuel first to service its citizens as winter approaches. For the nations with less buying power, expect those nations to go without in a big way, and even those nations who do have the buying power to get the fuel have to deal with the supply chain issue the world now faces.
If you have money to invest, along with shipping companies, add coal and natural gas to your investment plan, and oil to a lesser degree because the demand and therefor the premium of prices is going to skyrocket as we enter into the winter months. We pray this has been of help to you, to know how to prepare and how to invest. For more on how to prepare for hard times to come in a practical way continue 》reading here.