Pacific Merchant Shipping Association shares “observations of a new world”

By Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor · April 24, 2020

John McLaurin, President, Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, recently shared “Observations of a New World” with his constituents, noting that prior to the pandemic, the public expected that goods would magically appear on store shelves. Now that expectation has been replaced with different feelings… such as hope, and at times, disappointment.

“But during these challenging times, the supply chain has reacted well and been fairly strong – grocery stores and pharmacies are receiving the necessities of life and making those products available to the public,” observes McLaurin

That isn’t to say that the movement of goods has been without hiccups, he adds. There have been plenty of challenges that range from finding hotel space for long distance truck drivers and rail crews, to sanitizing counters at your local grocery store or cargo handling equipment at a marine terminal – all in a world of limited disinfectants and personal protective equipment.

“While we eat in the comfort of our homes, restaurant closures are a genuine problem for those far away from home, moving goods at all hours of the day and night,” says McLaurin. “And social distancing requires that work teams be divided, isolated and work in separate spaces, buildings and perhaps on separate days.”

But the supply chain is adapting on a shift by shift basis, McLaurin maintains. Challenges arise, solutions are put forward, adaptation takes place and the consumer knows little of what has happened behind the scenes.

“We continue to work as a team – only this time it is done separately and remotely,” he concludes. “Just as the COVID-19 virus is growing and spreading, the world of logistics is changing and evolving at an exponential rate. We have to. There are no other options.”

April 24, 2020