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The pandemic has brought the scrutiny of government onto the supply chain as the public deals with the fallout of international shipping disruptions. While the pandemic was a final straw, inherent infrastructure issues that stem back to the 1970s set the stage for the current situation.

“In the 70s, the vessels in play at that time were constructed during the Second World War and refurbished for use in international shipping applications. These ships had capacity for about 1,000 20-foot equivalent containers. Vessels these days bring 25,000 containers on one ship,” said Ruth Moritz, vice president of global relocation at Interstate International, Inc. “So the magnitude of just what one vessel can bring to a port has exploded over the years and port facilities have not grown at the same pace.  Having said that, you’re seeing infrastructure problems at key bottleneck ports like Los Angeles, Baltimore, Charleston, Oakland, Houston and New York.”

That’s paired with a generational shift in the labor force and attitudes toward certain kinds of work. Jobs like truck driver, ship captain or stevedore aren’t viewed as desirable anymore. They’re viewed as manual labor with less flexibility than other types of work. Health and work-life balance are also more of a factor for younger workers who  want to be home every night.

“It’s simply not cool to be a truck driver anymore,” Moritz said. “Today’s generation isn’t embracing that profession.”

Infrastructure shortfalls combined with labor shortages will require government agencies to start taking additional shipping costs into account when negotiating pricing for contracts. Transportation costs have drastically increased within the last 10 years ago, and government acquisition specialists need to understand the market when they put out requests for pricing. If the offered price doesn’t increase, transportation companies will need to continue being more creative in their solutions. That may require agencies to be more flexible as well.

One prime example is the current conflict in Ukraine. It’s caused many overseas ports in Europe, especially in countries neighboring to Ukraine, to close for foreign business. Those established ports used in traditional routing to that region are off-limits, meaning U.S. transportation companies must find alternate routes, be they different ports or ground and transportation.  The re-routing will increase the overall cost of the door-to-door transportation.

On an individual level, she said, people need a better appreciation of the importance of the transportation industry.

“As much as everyone gets frustrated at the number of tractor trailers they see on a freeway when they’re on vacation and have to navigate 95 South…if they have an appreciation of what that truck is transporting, or what it isn’t transporting when it’s not available, I think  consumers would have a little bit more patience on the road when they do see them,” Moritz said. “So for example, if the United States went 24 hours without any sort of trucking – if trucking ceased – our country would see delivery of medical and other supplies being affected immediately. Hospitals would run out of basic supplies within 24 hours, service stations would no longer have ample fuel, retailers would run short on staples like toilet paper, etc. Just in time manufacturing would be jeopardized by a shortage of raw materials, U.S. mail potentially would cease with significant food shortages beginning to occur shortly thereafter.”

And that’s the kind of thing that tends to cause consumers to panic and begin hoarding, which only compounds the situation.

“You saw just that the beginning of the pandemic with the toilet paper shortage. Even though people didn’t need to hoard toilet paper, they panicked and over-bought, so there was nothing left to be had,” Moritz said. “A trucking stoppage would see essentials disappear. Things like bottled water, powdered milk, canned fruits, vegetables and meat. ATMs would run out of cash; as all of it gets there by truck.”

Businesses can also help prepare internally for supply chain shortages, Moritz said. Cross-training staff better prepares workforces to adapt to the ebbs and flows of the market. The more utility employees one company has, the more valuable they are to an organization, and that helps businesses justify keeping people employed if revenue is affected.

To that end, business should also avoid relying too heavily on any single revenue stream. The effects of market imbalances can be mitigated by diversification. Otherwise, companies could be left to make some difficult decisions about whether to remain open.

“I think the one important thing to remember is just to be prepared for change. I think we all know it’s coming and while we all don’t like change, we should be prepared for it,” Moritz said. “One should expect the best, plan for the worst and prepare to be surprised because in a single moment something could change and you will need to bend to it.”

News Source: wtop.com

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Eurovision winners Kalush Orchestra arrive home to ecstatic crowds as they prepare to fight Russians

EUROVISION winners Kalush Orchestra have been greeted by ecstatic crowds when they arrived home in Ukraine.

As they band crossed the border from Poland locals with Ukrainian flags rushed to greet the band, who could soon be fighting the Russians.

7Kalush Orchestra were greeted as heroes on their return to UkraineCredit: AFP 7The band were presented with flowers by fansCredit: Reuters 7Oleg Psiuk gave his girlfriend a kiss as they crossed the borderCredit: Reuters

7Kalush Orchestra won the contest on Saturday with its song StefaniaCredit: AFP

Oleg Psiuk gave his girlfriend a kiss as they crossed the border - a day after he was seen smooching her outside his hotel in Turin.

The band were presented with flowers and people with Ukrainian flags posed for selfies with band.

The six-piece band won the contest in Turin, Italy, on Saturday with its song Stefania - finishing with an astonishing 631 points.

But the all male group - who were given special permission to leave the country to attend the competition - were ordered to return home to their war-torn nation by Monday.

Under Ukrainian law, all men aged 18-60 are banned from leaving the country and urged to join the army or support the war effort.

Psiuk told Rolling Stone the story of how he was called up to fight Russian invaders, only two days after his band were chosen to represent Ukraine.

READ MORE EUROVISION STORIESPRIDE OF BRITAIN National hero Sam Ryder praises 'glorious Ukraine' for Eurovision success

He explained how a soldier barked at him: “OK, first you have to sign this form saying the Ukrainian armed forces are not responsible if you get killed here.

"Then you should go upstairs because our Eurovision entrants are about to hold a press conference. It should be interesting – it’s a really good song!”

In an interview back in March with Associated Press, rapper Psiuk said he had established a volunteer organisation that uses social media to help find transportation and shelter Ukrainians in need.

The brave singer added how the band were "doing everything possible to help our country".

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He praised backing dancer Slavik Hnatenko for his decision to pick up a rifle and fight the Russians with the territorial defence force outside capital Kyiv.

The band’s members are all based in different parts of the country and all have been involved in the war since the February 24 invasion.

Shortly after being crowned Eurovision 2022 winners, the band took to the stage and screamed "Glory to Ukraine" amid euphoric scenes.

Receiving the trophy, the band said: "Thank you for supporting Ukraine. This victory is for every Ukrainian. Slava Ukraini."

“Stefania” was written by Psiuk as a tribute to his mum, but since the outbreak of war it has become an anthem to his motherland.

The lyrics pledge: “I’ll always find my way home, even if all roads are destroyed.”

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has vowed to stage the competition - as per tradition for the competition winners - in Mariupol in 2023 despite the ongoing bloodshed.

Only hours after their historic win, the band released a new music video of its winning hit featuring scenes of war ravaged Ukraine and women in combat gear.

Female soldiers appear to carry children through destroyed cities while Psiuk performs amongst the wreckage of destroyed and burning buildings.

Britain's Sam Ryder came a shock second in the famous competition with his song Space Man.

It is the best result for the UK since 1998 when they finished second.

Britain last won the contest in 1997 and have regularly finished at the bottom of the leader board in recent years.

The UK finished with 466 points, after topping the standings following the jury vote.

'NUKE EUROVISION'

But the dream scenes of Eurovision were followed by depraved social media posts from brainwashed Putin supporters.

In a sickening comment on social media, Russian journalist Yuliya Vityazeva suggested blasting the final at the Pala Olympic Arena with a missile.

She wrote: "Bomb it with a Satan missile."

The RS-28 Sarmat, aka 'Satan 2', can fly over 11,000 miles, carry 15 warheads and has the potential to destroy an area the size of the United Kingdom in a single strike.

Putin has previously boasted that the apocalyptic nuke can "break through any defences".

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While a chilling picture emerged of a missile which had been daubed by Russian soldiers calling for Eurovision to be ‘NUKED'.

Putin's butchers had also reportedly wrote "Kalush, as you asked", "help Mariupol" and "help Azovstal right now" across the bomb.

7The band were voted the best in show at the contest in ItalyCredit: AFP 7Oleg Psiuk will travel home to join up with his volunteering outfitCredit: Avalon.red

7Psiuk gave his girlfriend Oleksandra a big kiss outside his hotel before they leftCredit: AP

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