COVID-19 has changed every part of our lives…. especially the global supply chain. But what does that actually mean for you? In short, the way that companies source, manufacture, and then transport their goods and services across the world has changed. Depending on the specific supply chain, this can mean shipping delays, resource shortages, and price increases.
But, have no fear, EarthHero is working hard to ensure the best holiday experience for you in the face of these global challenges. We’re working closely with our 215+ brands to have our products available – although there may be delays. Our advice? Shop early, and shop sustainably!
Join us as we dive into why our post-COVID world is having supply chain issues, and what it means for you as you shop with EarthHero this holiday season!
What You’ll Learn
- The role of labor shortages, container shortages, and transportation shortages
- Why the cost of products have or are rising
- How to ensure your holiday shopping is stress-free
Transportation + Container Shortages
To understand how the pandemic has affected freight transportation, we’re going to break it down a little. The main types of freight transportation are air, sea, rail, and land (mainly car transport). When shipping overseas, companies usually prefer to use sea transport as much as possible because it is cheaper and can transport more in one load than air travel can. However, there’s been a shortage of containers in major shipping companies globally. The issue is not that there aren’t enough shipping containers… it is that they are in the wrong places. When the pandemic started, shipping companies from Asia already en-route dropped off their goods (inside containers) in ports across the Americas – but then were not able to load those containers back up and return them to Asia.
By the end of 2020, consumers began shopping more heavily again, and ports became quickly overwhelmed due in part to reduced staffing, as well as the increased consumer purchasing. Pair that with untimely traffic jams, like the Ever Given vessel being stuck in the Suez Canal for 6 days, and it was the perfect storm. Containers began to pile up at import centers, leaving export centers with not enough containers – making it difficult to get the necessary goods from source to consumer. And while leaders in the container industry are working hard to create more containers, it still isn’t fast enough to immediately fix the container crisis.
These transportation and container issues are global – and are impacting nearly every company on the globe. Plus, a lot of EarthHero’s brands are small businesses, making it difficult for them to compete with multi-billion dollar corporations when fighting for the already limited spots available per container, and limited transportation resources once the container arrives. Not only are there are less available spots, but the spots that are available have increased in price. As a result, some businesses (at EarthHero and beyond) may be forced to suspend production or have a delay on shipping.
Once a company is able to get containers, and have their goods arrive at the correct ports, there are also shortages around supply chain labor – specifically freight truck drivers. Right now, in 2021, there is a historic truck driver shortages of 80,000, and it is estimated to increase to 160,000 by 2030. There is no single cause of this problem, making the solution pretty complex. The COVID-19 pandemic caused many drivers to leave the industry, and training schools trained less new drivers during the pandemic as well. The average age of drivers is high, which has led to a high number of retirements each year. Plus, many drivers are leaving the industry to look for jobs with better pay, benefits, and better working conditions. This, coupled with also nuanced elements, has led to an all-time high shortage of truck drivers. So, even once goods are shipped internationally, national transportation is delayed by lack of long-distance drivers.
With the decrease of available shipping containers, as well as the role of inflation, there has been an increase in the costs of many goods. On average, getting a spot on a container is almost double the cost it was in 2019. Plus, every country had different responses to COVID-19, which also impacted production and manufacturing worldwide. The lockdowns within countries means that companies now, for maybe the first time ever, can’t access certain materials or ingredients needed for production. In response, companies are being forced to look elsewhere for a substitute that may cost double or even triple the normal price!
For our brands, this one is huge. EarthHero takes sustainability seriously throughout every step of the process, which includes the harvesting of the material/ingredient as well as how the workers are being treated. For some companies, there is no alternative. They have to work at the speed and cost of their manufacturer, which can change overnight. This is why you may see some of your favorite products as unavailable or more expensive than before.
EarthHero + Holiday Shopping
Our world is more interconnected than ever before. And the impact of COVID-19 reached every person, country, and company on the planet – no one was exempt. In terms of the global supply chain, things like labor shortages, transportation delays, and rising costs are all very real issues that came out of the COVID-19 pandemic. But – this does not mean you need to change your sustainability journey. It only means you need to be aware of the current state of our supply chain, and support sustainable brands that are navigating this new system. When we shop sustainably, we are voting with our dollar. This shows the world that eco-friendly products are the future, and shifts companies towards meeting consumer demand for sustainable goods. Although the global supply chain is struggling, it is more important now than ever to show your favorite ethical companies you care.
Many of EarthHero’s world-changing brands source their materials and ingredients locally to their manufacturing centers whenever possible, allowing them to be less dependent on mass import processes and more flexible. This means less delays, and awesome products to your door even faster. Beyond that, we also have many businesses that make their products right here in the USA from USA resources, meaning they don’t have to deal with international shipping at all.
We are working very closely with our brands in an effort to have all of our holiday products available in time and throughout the holidays. However, in reality, we are expecting delays. Why? Because EarthHero and our manufactures cannot control many parts of the process.
And as we near the holidays, we want to ensure you have the best experience possible – and get your green gifts on time. Because of this, you might log onto EarthHero and see more ‘Waitlist’ or ‘Pre-Order’ items, alongside details around when those items will be available for you. We also have shipping times on every single product page – and most EarthHero items ship same business day.
For the best holiday experience, we recommend our customers start planning their holiday shopping now, and shop early this year! Whether it’s with EarthHero or elsewhere, this is a good year to order early if you want the best selection of products without the stress of shipping delays.
Ready to start now? Find all of our Green Holiday Gifts here!