Surging COVID infections across the country are crippling the nation’s supply chains by forcing those in essential industries into isolation.
The lack of workers has resulted in ongoing supply and cost issues, which have been ravaging Australian ports.
Consistent shipping disruptions and the effects of the latest outbreak on the industry are adding further strain on the supply chain, with stock levels diminishing, a lack of workers to replenish the shelves, and ensuing panic buying.
The CEO of Australian freight-forwarding company Verus Global, Jackson Meyer, said it was projected to get worse if the Federal Government didn't step in.
“Our shipping industry is at a crisis point,” Meyer said.
“Our union leaders are begging the Government for help as they face critical staff shortages due to this latest outbreak and a lack of rapid antigen tests, which could potentially see a temporary shutdown of the state’s basic supply chain.
“Shipping fleets are also at global capacity and our supermarket shelves could remain empty for a much longer period if a solution isn’t brought to fruition.”
Industries have called for the manufacturing of rapid antigen tests to be moved to Australian shores, in a bid to ease pressure on the nation’s supply chain.
“Production of these tests in Australia would really help to ease the demand of our imports and help our workforce on the frontline amid record-low staff shortages,” Meyer said.
“Engaging local suppliers and engaging businesses within the Australian community to manufacture these tests, with the possibility to use recyclable materials, will greatly ease the immediate pressure on the supply chains and help support our economic recovery, especially during this COVID peak.”
However, Meyer predicted supply chain issues, along with costs associated with imports and exports, would not be eased until "at least 2023".
“There is no extra capacity going to enter the Australian market,” he said.
“Plans were in place for shipping liners to bring extra vessels onto the trade; however, these companies were unable to secure vessels in order to operate.”