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The supply chain remains overstimulated in 2024

These past few years have been quite hectic for global supply chains, starting with the COVID-19 pandemic which caused massive disruptions in the sourcing and distribution of raw materials and finished products and exacerbated many already existing weaknesses and shortcomings, and continuing with geopolitical tensions, labour shortages, and fluctuations in demand. All these events have posed numerous challenges for manufacturers, wholesalers, shipping carriers, retailers, and all other stakeholders in the supply chain.

Nowadays, years after the start of the COVID outbreak, the health crisis may have subsided but many of its negative effects persist, and the management and flow of goods and services across the world remains strained due to a number of factors.

However, as we move forward in 2024, data shows there’s a good chance some of these issues might start to dissipate and pave the path for more efficient and resilient supply chains. So, let’s take a closer look at the supply chain industry, the challenges it’s currently facing, and its prospects for the future.

The Current State Of The Global Supply Chain

The supply chain industry is no stranger to disruptions, having faced numerous hurdles, destabilizing events, and changes over the years, and 2024 doesn’t seem to be any different. Various factors are contributing to the complexities and constant pressure that supply chain teams and managers around the world experience at the moment, including high inflation rates, tensions on the geopolitical front, mass labour shortages, reduced availability of resources, environmental issues, and increasing demand for sustainability.

These disruptions impact every level and area of the supply chain, from sourcing of raw materials to order fulfilment and everything in between. As a result, businesses and organizations across all sectors and industries find themselves in a predicament, as they’re forced to keep up with the rapid change of pace while trying to find new solutions to address ongoing issues that no longer respond to the strategies employed in the past.

Part of the burden that supply chains experience today comes from the transformations in consumer behaviour. In an age where speed and responsiveness play a crucial role in shaping customer satisfaction and loyalty, consumers are holding companies to higher standards than ever before.

E-commerce giants like Amazon reinforce these heightened expectations by providing clients with same-day delivery options and superior services. This means companies big and small have to ramp up their efforts to meet the rising customer expectations if they want to maintain a profitable activity, which implies improving supply chain management and performance by leveraging new technologies, investing in training and development, and implementing effective logistics software solutions like, like the ones you can find at

Supply chains comprise a network of interconnected systems and processes, so when one link in the chain is disrupted, the effects spread out throughout the entire network. The rising inflation rates registered in 2021 and 2022 provide a relevant example in this respect. Despite a considerable drop last year, inflation levels remain stubbornly high in 2024, which coupled with increased e-commerce demand, has led to a spike in warehousing services costs. Statistics reveal that in 2023, costs for warehousing went up by more than 10%.

Furthermore, the Suez Canal and the Panama Canal, two of the world’s key transit routes, have been suffering major blockages, leading to unprecedented challenges in global trade. Issues in the Suez Canal threaten to worsen the energy crisis in Europe since the Houthi attacks on merchant vessels have prevented many shipping companies from operating in the region, forcing them to search for alternatives to re-route their cargoes. The increasing demand for rail and road transport services has resulted in significant delays and mounting shipping costs, which have taken a toll on all parties involved in supply chains.

Meanwhile, the Panama Canal has also been suffering from an environmental crisis. Water levels in the canal are lower than ever due to the prolonged drought in the region, forcing authorities to limit the number of vessels transiting the waterway. Reports reveal that cargo volumes in the Suez Canal plunged by 50% in the first two months of the year, while the Panama Canal registered a drop of 33% in shipping volume in 2024 compared to last year’s figures. The congestion in both canals has far-reaching implications for the world’s supply chains.

The Road Ahead

All the events and challenges mentioned above paint a pretty bleak picture for global supply chains in 2024. However, even though there’s no end in sight for some of these issues, there is hope things might take a turn for the better in the near future.

The companies that survived the COVID-19 pandemic have learned some valuable lessons and are better equipped to respond to imminent disruptions. For example, many providers have implemented new strategies that aim at improving the efficiency of their services. For example, data provided by the Supply Chain Trends & Insights: Innovation shows that 67% of CEOs intend to boost investment in supply chain innovation and disruption detection mechanisms.

New technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, and robotics are also making their way into the supply chain industry, enabling companies to improve agility and address issues such as bottlenecks, labour shortages, and the lack of qualified personnel. It is estimated that by 2027, more than three-quarters of companies will integrate automation solutions into their operations, which should help them reduce risks and enhance productivity levels.

These changes and developments indicate that that the future of supply chains is closely connected to the emergence of technological advancements and innovations that could provide viable solutions for many of the current challenges.