Shipping firms say supply chain issues will only end once consumer demand falls

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A chief executive at Maersk has said that the ongoing shipping crisis won’t end until consumer demand falls. 

Morten Engelstoft, who manages APM Terminals which is owned by Maersk, said that the sector needed to break out of a vicious circle of high consumer demand married with the ongoing pandemic. 

He told the Financial Times that: “We need lower [consumer demand] growth to give the supply chain time to catch up, or differently spread out growth. Over a long period of time, we will need to recover efficiency.”

Whilst noting that ports need larger investment to improve and grow infrastructure, he added that soaring consumer demand from the US, in particular, was placing strain on the entire system. 

“It’s a percentage of an enormous volume. The sheer size of business going through is so enormous that the amount of port capacity, truckers, warehouses and even labour to man all the equipment has created a bottleneck.”

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The port operator’s comments come days after UK retailers warned of expected Christmas shortages amid ongoing supply issues with supermarkets and large brands including Ikea and Halfords all saying they have shortages of certain in-demand products, from mattresses to bikes. 

Increased consumer demand is being confounded by a global shortage of truck drivers, a lack of warehousing space and delivery delays due to the ongoing pandemic. 

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