In the last eighteen months, supply chains and shipping routes all over the world have experienced significant disruptions. In 2020, wildfires in the western United States forced many companies to pause production. In 2021, more wildfires halted rail transportation in western Canada. Snow and freezing weather in Texas caused power issues and a halt to industries in that region. The Suez Canal blockage caused massive delays in global trade. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause ripple effects of labor shortages, distribution bottlenecks, and record-breaking numbers of online purchases, shipments, and mailed items. Nearly every industry has been impacted at some point, and many are still recovering from these disruptions.
Far less visible to the public eye is a second, yet equally challenging, disruption: the supply chain for actual packaging materials. Many companies are struggling to obtain the materials they need to safely package
and ship their products. A massive surge in e-commerce
sales has put a strain on demand of corrugated cardboard and other shipping materials. Some mills and plants have fallen behind on production due to labor shortages. The plastics industry is suffering from similar slowdowns due to COVID-19 consequences, extreme weather events, and other factors.
Disruptions to both shipping routes and packaging material availability present significant challenges for companies all over the world. After eighteen months of nonstop challenges, many companies are taking drastic action—but responses vary.
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