The covid-19 pandemic has rocked the logistics world to its core and has uncovered many vulnerabilities in the US and global supply chains, impacting nearly every industry. Unfortunately, the equestrian community has not been immune to it. Architecture and barn design projects require collaborating with clients to purchase the best and safest material to make their vision come to life, and sourcing products from first and second tier suppliers overseas is a necessity in our day-to-day activities.
Unfortunately, due to the current covid-19 related shipping delays and logistics challenges in the US, many of Equine Facility Design’s (EFD) projects have been impacted as products are still on stand-by.
In 2020, Business Insider exposed the United States’ dependence on global suppliers for many products, and its effect of shipping delays on companies as well as individual buyers throughout the country. Recently, delays have increased even further with the latest surge of Covid-19 and the Omicron variant. With a growing number of worker absences, operations and logistics have taken a hit and are struggling to run smoothly. Last month’s Wall Street Journal (WSJ) release reported increased port congestion on the east and west coasts, with container ships waiting for berth for extended periods of time, and a backlog that could take several weeks to clear. Indeed, the situation seems to be getting worse before it is set to get better. According to the WSJ: “The average wait time for a berth at the busiest East Coast gateway, the Port of New York and New Jersey, extended to 4.2 days last week, according to the port’s data, up from 1.6 days last January. At the Port of Charleston on Thursday, a backup of 19 container ships was waiting offshore for a berth.” Port congestion and backlog, coupled to a surge in demand, has inevitably increased cost for importers, which in turn has caused an increase in product prices, adding frustration to an already challenging situation.
As we work with our clients on project timelines, we strive to find ways to account for these disruptions by prioritizing certain activities and milestones. Demonstrating flexibility in our work and planning can show benefits in mitigating some of the delays throughout each project. While most of the logistics challenges arise from materials being imported, EFD also works with several American-made goods suppliers. Although these providers may not be directly impacted by the shipping delays from overseas, they are still subject to US economic changes, including labor shortages, inflation, and increasing raw material costs.
The severe logistics challenges and shipping delays ultimately impact the timing and costs of completing equestrian architecture projects. From barn designs to renovations, concentrating on all aspects of a project with frequent communication with our clients is integral to the success of our ventures. While we unfortunately have little visibility to a clear solution in sight, we hope that new measures to improve ports’ infrastructure and increased federal funding will relieve constraints in the upcoming months.