Getting Deliveries to Cargo Ships During a Supply Crisis Isn’t Easy

Tough times for maritime businesses

Cargo ships
The logistics behind cargo ships have many facets.
Dominik Lückmann/Unsplash

For an increasingly global economy, cargo ships provide an essential way to move goods from one country — or, for that matter, continent — to another. And for the ship’s crew (which can include 20 to 25 people, as per this article), having their own supply needs replenished when they get to a port can be crucial. So it’s not surprising to know that there’s an entire industry based around addressing the needs of shipping crews.

In a new article for the Los Angeles Times, Ronald D. White explores this industry and the challenges it currently faces given the ongoing supply crisis. At the center of the article is San Pedro, California’s Harbor Ship Supply, a ship chandler that has been in existence for the last 90 years. Its owner, Jeff Crouthamel, described the issues facing his business — and the industry — as relatively broad in nature.

“It’s bigger than a supply-chain issue,” he told the Times. “It’s an employment issue. It’s a trucking issue.”

One logistics expert cited in the article points to the convergence of issues affecting businesses like Harbor Ship Supply, including the supply crisis and the pandemic. And the effect of delays on ship chandlers aren’t the only obstacle that the crews of cargo vessels have had to overcome. Last fall, NPR spoke with a maritime chaplain who offered spiritual comfort and guidance to sailors unable to come ashore. It’s a complex system made up of other complex systems, and the issues affecting them aren’t going to be easy to resolve.

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