The supply chain is improving, but challenges persist
Low river levels along the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers are causing some issues for farmers and other shippers searching for alternative options to get their goods to port before winter.
Before entering higher education, a professor at SIU-Carbondale worked as an import-export manager where he was responsible for importing about 100-million dollars in products annually.
Greg DeYong is currently working to establish a Center for Supply Chain Management and Logistics within the College of Business and Analytics.
He says goods are being shipped, but at a slower rate.
“The barges are running a little emptier, so they ride higher in the water. There are some stoppages for dredging and such. But, there haven't been any major shutdowns on the river."
Recent rains have improved the situation, but water travel won't be back to normal until spring.
That's means many shippers are looking to railroads to pick up the slack, but an article in The American Prospect indicates they don't have the capacity to be a reliable alternative.
DeYong says inventory at retail stores is good as we head into the final days of the Christmas shopping season.
He says while that's good news, the high cost of diesel fuel is driving up the cost of shipping.
“That's going to really drive a lot of costs that come through the supply chain from the logistics providers down into the products themselves because somebody has to pay for all that expensive diesel fuel that the trucks and trains and barges, everybody's burning."
DeYong says while shippers are dealing with higher costs to move their goods, they will eventually have to pass those increased costs on to their customers in terms of delivery surcharges.