Professional groups in the logistics industry are swinging into action this week to keep supply chains moving despite deep disruptions from the coronavirus crisis, according to statements from MHI, MHEDA, and the American Logistics Aid Network (ALAN).
Typical freight flows have been snarled across the country by the widespread closures and shelter-in-place policies applied to slow the lightning-fast spread of Covid-19, the potentially deadly respiratory disease caused by the new virus. While those efforts have been effective at making sure hospitals aren’t swamped by sudden peaks of critically ill patients, the travel and work restrictions have also slowed the movement of goods, resulting in empty grocery shelves and shortages of certain medical equipment.
Already, acute stock-outs in stores and online continue across the U.S. as prolonged, heightened consumer demand has caused distribution backlogs slowing resupply efforts, MHI said, citing the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)’s National Business Emergency Operations Center (NBEOC).
According to MHI, private sector supply chains are running at high freight volume but overall capacity remains normal; there are no current shortages reported on the production side. However, MHI said that deliveries are expected to be impacted by state and local restrictions, inhibiting the ability of businesses and supply chains to continue service to affected communities.
One of the most important impacts of the emergency measures put in place to fight coronavirus is a “a dire shortage of personal protective equipment and cleaning and disinfecting supplies” for the medical community, MHI said. In a statement to its members, MHI asked for equipment donations from any company that has supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) on hand, such as:
Companies that can help are being urged to contact MHI or ALAN, using this dedicated online donation form.
Those shortages are being caused because efforts to contain the pandemic also have side effects on the business community, according to ALAN. “Every non-pharmaceutical intervention that’s being used to slow the spread of this virus – including business closures, restricted work hours, and instructions to shelter in place –has major supply chain impacts,” ALAN said in a statement. “And we’ve been working around the clock to help our government, non-profit and business partners find ways to minimize these impacts and keep goods flowing as steadily and reliably as possible.”
Another group supporting efforts to keep supply chains moving with critical supplies is MHEDA, which has compiled a resource page stocked with information on the Covid-19 response.
And for more information and the latest journalism about the impact of the coronavirus crisis on logistics issues, check DC Velocity’s dedicated landing page for full coverage from our team of editors.