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Pandemic's Disruption Of Global Supply Chain And Delivery Of Products Not Likely To End Soon

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Whether it's a certain vehicle or even an electronic device, the pandemic has affected the supply and delivery of many products.

It's a global supply chain issue that some experts say will get worse before it gets better.

It's called the supply chain -- the manufacture of all the component parts in a product, then its assembly as a finished item, and finally its delivery to a store or your doorstep.

"We used to make everything in the United States," local international attorney Dennis Unkovic told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Monday. "Starting about 20 years ago, a lot of products and components were made or are being made outside the United States."

Unkovic, who just wrote a book on the collapse of the global supply chain, says America has become too dependent on foreign suppliers.

"If you make something in China today, unless you put it on an airplane, it's going to take you 45 to 60 days to get here. If you manufacture it in the United States, you can get it tomorrow," Unkovic said.

As more consumers order items online made in Asia, container ships are stacked up in California, waiting to be unloaded.

"We currently got something like two dozen ships that are offshore in Los Angeles and Long Beach," says Christopher Rogers, a London-based supply chain analyst for S&P Global.

"That's leading to delay for the boats being unloaded for three to four weeks in some instances," he added.

Rogers says unpredictable delivery impacts everyone.

"Supply chains are designed to run like clockwork, not kind of get stuck," said Rogers.

Another problem is some parts and products are no longer being made at all, as the pandemic wiped out some foreign manufacturers.

"We think there have been well over a million bankruptcies in China. Now these companies are never coming back," says local Asian trade expert David Iwinski, managing director of Blue Water Growth.

Iwinski says lots of products will be in short supply.

"Any kind of component that involves circuit boards, anything that involves plastics," he said. "Medical devices, consumer electronics, paper goods – as simple things as toilet paper and paper towels – all of these will be affected and household chemicals."

Analysts say the supply chain disruption could last a year or longer even if Americans rush in to make missing or delayed products right here at home.

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