A supply chain expert is advising parents to order Christmas presents such as toys or bulky electrical goods now, in order to avoid disappointment.
A former UCC lecturer, who runs his own supply management company, is warning of an “extended period of disruption” in relation to the transportation of products across the seas “for the coming years”.
Alan Holland, who founded the supply chain management company Keelvar, which uses Artificial Intelligence to ascertain the most efficient and strategic manner of getting products from manufacturer to customer, said not only would there be empty shop shelves this Christmas, but the UCC graduate also said the available products would be more costly due to the ongoing transportation problems.
Mr Holland explained that relationships between ship carriers and companies shipping goods have become hostile and difficult due to a number of ongoing issues including accusations of breaching contracts, a lack of investment in the sector, and a mismatch between supply and demand resulting in containers ending up at the wrong side of the world when needed.
“Companies that had imported stuff just before the pandemic, are holding on to containers in America and Europe, when they would normally travel back to Asia for refilling and those vessels went back half empty, so there is a shortage of containers in Asia.
“Asia started to manufacture goods again but they couldn’t get them across the seas to the West.”
Mr Holland warned that we are going to see a lot of unusually empty shop shelves.
“You saw the consumer panic buying at the start of the pandemic, but now you have enterprises stockpiling huge amounts of stock because they are worried about how long it takes to get things from one part of the world to another.”
The supply chain expert said small electronic goods have the option of air freight, anything heavy, such as toys, mattresses, furniture, cars, are fairly restricted to ship carriers.
“You (the company) can't be sure you will get it across the oceans in a cost effective manner that the customer will consider buying.”
Mr Holland said the ongoing disruption was going to lead to a shake up in industries and also recommended that parents get their Christmas orders in immediately.
“Toy manufacturers will be affected. They are bulky and a large cost of them is in the cost of shipping.
The UCC academic said that the fallout from the pandemic in terms of transportation of goods, was that Christmas could be difficult to get the things you want.
“Consumer products manufactured in Asia, bulky ones, toys, cars, furniture, tvs, etc, they will be difficult to get.”