Chain Reaction Podcast Supply Chain Critical

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Supply Chain Critical could well describe many supply chains around the globe right now. In this episode Tony Hines takes a look at US food and other supply chain disruptions following President Biden's initiative to get parties around the table to discuss issues. On November 29th the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued an order to discuss what's going on in those supply chains.  The FTC stated “Supply chain disruptions are upending the provision and delivery of a wide array of goods, ranging from computer chips and medicines to meat and lumber.” Price hikes and anti-competitive practices are also under the spotlight. With US inflation at 6.2% and some goods coming in at higher than that for consumers this is cause for concern. Availability of products is also of concern. Ranges have thinned and there are reported shortages in specific categories. “The FTC is issuing the ordersunder Section 6(b) of the FTC Act, which authorizes the Commission to conduct wide-ranging studies that do not have a specific law enforcement purpose. The orders are being sent to Walmart Inc.,, Inc., Kroger Co., C&S Wholesale Grocers, Inc., Associated Wholesale Grocers, Inc., McLane Co, Inc. Procter & Gamble Co., Tyson Foods, Inc., and Kraft Heinz Co. The companies will have 45 days from the date they received the order to respond.”
  In the UK inflation is 4.2% and on the rise. There is also concern about shelf availability for many goods. The Office for National Statistics has been gathering data fortnightly from businesses in the UK. We take a look at some of the findings from the data and what it means for supply chains. The ONS Business Industry and Conditions Survey reports on 'the impact of challenges facing the economy and other events on UK businesses.' The survey is based on responses from the voluntary fortnightly business survey (BICS) including financial performance, workforce, trade, and business resilience. Businesses currently trading who reported that the prices of materials, goods or services bought in the last month had increased compared with normal expectations for this time of year was 38%.   In the last month, 17% of businesses reported they were either not able to get the materials, goods or services they needed from within the UK, or had to change suppliers or find alternative solutions to do so.  A few weeks back we reported the distressed ship Xpress Pearl was on fire and sinking off the coast of Sri Lanka with diesel and other chemicals on board the vessel leaking into the Indian Ocean. Since then it has come to light that nurdles were also on board, Nurdles a small plastic pellets that are used to produce packaging materials. Being plastic they are of course produced from oil (fossil fuel). However, nurdles are not classified by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) as hazardous waste. The damage to the local ecology and economy from the leakage has been devastating to livelihoods of fisherman in Sri Lanka. Listen to the episode to find out more.
1.  250,000 tons of plastic pellets known as nurdles pollute our oceans every year. Trillions of small plastic pellets have been escaping from petrochemical plants into waterways and oceans for decades.
2. The IMO is aware of the problem but so far has not classified nurdles as hazardous waste which they clearly are.