“The disruption of a week of this size is going to continue to have cascading effects … it’s got to be at least 60 days before things get sorted out and appear to be a bit back to normal,” said Stephen Flynn, professor of political science at Northeastern University. “This level of disruption cascaded after every 24 hours,” he added.
The knock-on effects include congestion at ports as well as vessels not being in the right place for their next scheduled journey. Most importantly, it further exacerbates supply chains already reeling from a container shortage amid the Covid-19 buying boom.
Flynn, who is also founding director at the Global Resilience Institute, noted that this is one of the challenges of a just-in-time system. Assembly lines will be idled because parts don’t show up when they’re expected, for example.
“It’s never been stressed this badly before, and it’s going to take a really long time, and they’re just beginning the process of sorting it out … you’ve essentially created this traffic jam that doesn’t allow you just to reset and restart — you have to restack and reset the system and that’s something that’s going to take a lot of choreography,” Flynn added.