Post-COVID era and the US shipping Crisis: Impacts on the Funeral industry

  (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)

To be honest, no one really knows how long the ongoing shipping crisis will last, let alone when it will end. A few months longer? A year more? No one can say.

In other words, every industry that deals in the shipment of cargos might continue to experience delays in delivering their wares. And when we say 'every industry,' know that we're referring to everything from luxury wears to funeral merchandise (e.g., coffins), baby products to semiconductors, food to furniture items, and everything else in between.

In other words, if you’re a business owner or a retailer and you have shipments waiting on the sea, you might have to wait a little longer. 

In another sense, the real victims of this situation can be said to be the direct consumers of products. Since 90% of the world's global trade is shipped by sea, it simply means that consumers will have to deal with the reality of product scarcity, delivery delays, product shortages amidst other supply chain challenges.

This then brings us to the question everyone’s been asking: How did we get here? How did our ports get suddenly packed with cargos and steel boxes? Has it always been like that?

Well, to answer the never-ending questions, it hasn't always been like this. In fact, the situation at the ports right now can be said to be unprecedented. 

It goes to say then that the real culprit here is the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since the virus struck our planet, the global supply chain network has been brought on its knees. Expectedly, this led to a fall in shipping demand. 

But with the development of vaccines, people are now getting back to their lives. The result of this is the surge we see in shipping demands today. Unfortunately, this increase in shipping demand has led to delays, port traffic jams, and blockages worldwide. Now, containers are jammed up in ports due to rising demand and a continuing shortage of dockworkers and truckers.

You wonder then what the solutions are or whether there are plans to lighten the weight of loads at our ports. So far, there hasn’t been much in the way of solutions. Early last month, in October, nearly 80,000 shipping containers were stacked up at the Port of Savannah — 50 percent more than usual.

The impact of the shipping crisis on all industries

Having established that most US ports are currently in an unprecedented state, it’s essential to look at the impacts these packed ports are having on the economy. In other words, how does the US shipping crisis affect all industries – businesses and direct consumers?

1. Christmas is likely going to be affected

According to many experts, the current shipping crisis will affect products being shipped out in time for Christmas and the New Year.

This means that consumers and businesses who have made plans for Christmas may have to endure a sudden hike in prices, as most suppliers of products may likely resort to price hikes to curb demands. 

Expect your Christmas trees, holiday toys, and decorations to cost almost twice their original prices this season.

2. Sudden price hike 

Even now, we see products coming for higher prices than normal. What once cost a few dollars is now being sold for more. And that’s because of high shipping costs that typically get passed down to consumers.

3. Certain industries suffer differently

Certain industries rely on shipping more than others. For these industries, the ongoing shipping crisis has led to a higher shortage of products. And the result of this is that prices are starting to go up than usual.

One clear example of this is the funeral industry. Right now, funeral caskets, coffins, and other funeral merchandise are being sold for outrageously high prices. And even after purchasing, people still have to spend a lot to ship their casket to wherever they want. Due to this, most funeral homes are raising their prices.

For people who can’t keep up with the price hike at funeral homes, going to small casket providers like Trusted Caskets, who still manage the product deficit and offer affordable pricing for families who lost their loved ones at this difficult time, now seem like the next best action.

4. Improvisation becomes a necessity

The crisis has forced many of the top dogs in the shipping business to purchase their own containers and charter ships. With no solution in sight, it’s almost impossible to think brands like Walmart will wait around for cargos to get sorted at the port before they get their wares. 

As reported by BBC, brands like Walmart, Ikea, Home Depot, amongst others, are starting to take these measures.

Costco – a brand that deals in in many products, including toys, computers, tablets, and video games — is also affected by the crisis. To stay afloat, the brand has resorted to chartering ships and renting containers to transport inventory between Asia, the US, and Canada.

5. Inflation is getting higher

Although it's been expected that there might be inflation in a post-pandemic world, nobody really expected the shipping industry to play such a huge part.

According to The Wall Street Journal, supply shortages and higher shipping costs are the biggest contributors to goods inflation.

6. Shipping fees going up

Expect to start paying more to ship your products if you haven't already. This is because delays in getting products off the ports mean time wastage and extra costs. 

Once upon a pandemic, it costs just $6,000 to ship a 40-foot container from Shanghai to New York. Today, in a post-COVID world, it costs about $20,000 to ship the same product.

Now, you can understand why shipping companies are charging you extra, and why the product prices are going up as well.

What is the government doing about the situation?

It's normal to wonder whether the governments are even paying attention to the happenings at our ports. 

On paper, they are. But right now, all we can say is their measures aren’t solving the problems yet. 

So far, the White House has announced that they’re moving activities at the Southern California ports to a 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week schedule to allow more time to work through the backlog. But even with this, there’s still no guarantee the ports will be emptied soon. 

Even if there are additional port workers, what about warehouse workers and truck drivers? Without an additional workforce in these departments to follow a similar routine, there wouldn’t be any difference in the situation.

This article was written in cooperation with Trusted Caskets.