Supply Chain News

Supply Chain Failure News

Maybe the title should be “Supply Chain Failure, Famine Watch and Inflation News”

Why did I write this? In an online discussion I threw a crazy estimate out that there was a 5% to 30% chance that the shelves will be bare for WEEKS if not MONTHS. 

A reader asked –

Just curious how you figure those odds. Thanks!

That got me thinking… why do I think the odds are so high?  Well here goes…

There are a LOT of reasons I think we are likely to see a moderate increase in empty shelves – and even a chance for a severe to possibly catastrophic breakdown in the Jan/Feb timeframe. The list below includes references.

Supply Chain News
Supply Chain News

And just so you know this isnt intended to be some alarmist rant. Be reasonable, be prepared, have a backup plan, but above all; plan for GOOD TIMES and BAD TIMES. Your FIRST preparations should support both good/bad times. Skills to make you more money, food, water, first aid skills and gear, backup gear etc are something you will use in good times and bad. For related info read

Latest News Updates

MAY 2022

May 23: A growing number of food items up 20% over last two years

May 21: Russia predicting famine (after WHO already predicted it)

May 20: bit of good news! Indonesia lifts palm oil export ban. but the bans expand else where

Food protests in Iran 300% increases in flour costs – and india seeing increases although not as bad

General downturn possible across the board…

More Africa famine talk – and it isn’t even fall harvest yet.

May 16: Elon Musk says recession for 12-18 months (i think still an optimist)

May 12: US farmers under pressure and on the front lines of food inflation amid price spikes

May 11: Price spikes eventually affect food costs —

May 9: Wheat prices increasing… again. Spring Wheat Hits 14-Year High On World War 3 & Weather Woes as do natural gas prices US Gas Prices Soar As Europe And Asia Scramble For LNG

Financials don’t look great either. Germany’s Top Banking Chief Warns Of Bankruptcy Tsunami Amid Stagflation Threats

Markets are starting to show the real risks

May 8: Diesel used by American truckers is up 75% and just hit an all-time high “Outright panic buying of diesel” The World Is “Crying Out For Diesel”; Product Tankers Could Win Big really… really hoping we see Feds allow more US oil production – this is getting out of hand. (maybe reverse the Feb 2022 lease denials/delays).

May 6: Baby food availability? Not so much.

Corn/Wheat etc are not looking great (weak year for USA). That would be ok, if the rest of the world wasnt seeing drops and Ukraine already out of the picture. and China Corn futures high – and drought is visibly impacting US crops and in Brazil slight downturn

Even more pressure on already low diesel stocks

A bit of good news – 1.7mil acres of USA farmland moved out of conservation back into production

India (amid heatwave) is pushing for crop diversification, additional planting and providing minimum price guarantees to protect farmers

Ukraine might be able to ship out wheat! This is big news, but ONLY if they can get it out (which doesn’t look good, no trains and no ships.

May 5: Inflation in Turkey up 70%.

Labor Costs Spike, productivity tanks –

May 4: On the food front, I was hoping India might pull our collective butts out of the fire… guess that is looking less likely.

APRIL 2022

April 28: Things are not crazy enough, lets just add some fuel to the fire? “Oil Spikes” and

April 27: The China ship backlog is getting more obvious and is impacting more businesses:

April 22: Inflation, fertilizer, parts and fuel costs are hitting farmers hard.

April 21: More weakening of the USD

Another chemical plant fire this one in Russia

oh and World Bank warns of ‘human catastrophe’ food crisis

April 19: More bad news about foods.

April 18: Excerpt “yields could drop 10% in the next season, translating to a loss of 36 million tons of rice, or the equivalent of feeding 500 million people.”

Editorial 4/18/22: The lock-down of 40mil to 100mil Chinese is going to ripple across the markets and supply chain, how bad is the unknown. The supply chain was just starting to recover but then we got Ukraine and now China with self imposed lock-downs. Add in the number of farmers going out of business, inflation, secondary market problems (critical equipment parts delays causing commodities shortages) and we are in for some very rough times.

Corn Hits $8/Bushel and the chaos hasn’t even started yet.

Pretty much everything spiking (and the bad crop info wont hit till later):

April 17: And we are not even in the middle of it yet.

April 16: Aaaaannnnd we are back again…. “COVID” strikes again. China has a MASSIVE backup of container ships due to a April COVID lockdown of 30mil to 60mil+ people. No one is sure how many people are locked down and jumping out of buildings, but the ships are visible from orbit and at least some are visible in the maritime tracking systems (remember china turned off tracking on their ships so the graphics are only a portion of the ships. If you have not stocked up – your options are quickly shrinking.

Bloomberg reporting basically we are back in the mess again. For real-time shipping info click here:

April 15: Amazon to raise costs 5%

Spiking food prices some over 30%

Global prices up for food:


Sorry but it is just more bad news. We continue to see market trouble. Lots of signs of: impending food shortages, worsened supply chain problems (diesel and air fuel), increased lag on semi-conductors, and materials issues across the board.

Get ready for a ROUGH ride (we are not through the worst yet). Also this will be slow – likely taking 18months at least more likely 24 to 36 months. It feels like an extremely slow train wreck. A train wreck with some people trying to keep it from happening while other people are tearing out the tracks.

FOOD: A scary but accurate summary of current problems affecting the food supply. And it doesnt list everything 20 Facts about the Emerging Global Food Shortage that should Chill You to the Core

If you don’t have a bit of long term food storage I STRONGLY recommend it (but get what you EAT and eat the oldest first and keep rotating your stock).

Oh and if there was not enough pressure on CORN, the feds are allowing sale of E15 blend fuel this summer which will increase demand for CORN (food turned into fuel)

CURRENCY: We could also be seeing the beginning of the end for the US dollar as the foundation for international trade. Squeezing Russia financially when they hold durable goods including oil, precious technology metals, food and fertilizer. The squeeze combined with pinning the ruble to the gold/oil standard creates a crack in the concept of the US dollar being pinned to the price of oil (effectively oil backed).

The balkanization of currency would result in huge market changes. Supply chain challenges as each trade would be a BARTER more than a currency exchange. We could be seeing a HUGE change in markets because of this (effectively the end of US/oil money)

Good summary of the coming financial mess

Editorial: Combine these events with the ongoing use of Keynesian economics. FYI Keynesian economics is a theory based on belief not on facts. It doesn’t actually work – and is bad planning. Hopefully reality catches up BEFORE seriously bad economic fallout and we scrap the Keynesian economics and go back to Classical proven models of simple supply/demand and then improve those instead. Cutting off someone who has the supply from someone in demand WILL NOT WORK long term – markets exist regardless of “theory” or “belief”.

Miscellaneous supply chain failure news:

MARCH 2022

March has brought, pretty much across the board bad news. The combo of Ukraine war, supply chain and “bad luck” is not helping the situation. China has reduced output (bad weather), Russia and Ukraine are likely 50% or more out of the picture.

We also have huge problems with fertilizer availability at least 10% loss already. A number of fertilizer companies are completely sold out.

Public Acknowledgement. The general media isn’t really covering this much. Even though President Biden said food shortages are “gonna be real”, no one is taking real action at the govt level, other than banning exports in some countries. China did buy up a LOT last fall though.

A bit of good news. India and Argentina are reporting better crop numbers. India crop production levels will be a HUGE variable in the next 12 months. Any bad weather or further pinch on fertilizer is going to be a major problem. There are people working to improve the situation, so not all hope is lost.

The “Fed”. The federal reserve is being backed into a corner being forced to raise interest rates when the market is unstable due to covid, supply chain and war. This situation creates pressure on the value of the dollar.

Combine these financial pressures, with massive federal spending with, the fact that the middle east, may for the 1st time ever start trading oil for something other than USA DOLLARS is a huge deal. We are entering uncharted times.

Inverted Yield Curve. This has historically indicated a recession to follow. So we have confirmed inflation, likely recession, war and supply chain chaos. Not a good combo.

Diesel Fuel. Another major challenge is diesel fuel. UK, US, Germany and other countries are running short on diesel fuel very quickly. This is a double whammy affecting supply chain AND farming.

Brits are seeing food shortages and we are not even in the middle of the mess.

100,000 Italian farmers might go bankrupt because of fertilizer and other costs.

March 2022 News Links:


Inflation. Yup crazy high inflation on the way. Truck Snow Plow blades went from $10k in 2021 to $16k in 2022. 7% is FAKE. See crazy spikes for fertilizers etc. Prices for ballistic helmets are up 10%. More Inflation news

China has been given permission by the WTO to impose retaliatory tariffs on the US. Brace for impact – two areas inflationary pressure AND supply chain pressure.

Critical industrial materials Shortages

There are increasing shortages in raw materials including: nitrogen, urea and fertilizer as examples.


Nitrogen availability is down as is skyrocking price for glyphosate- cause pressures on already razor thin produces. (SHORT TERM DEMAND PRESSURE LONG TERM SUPPLY PRESSURE)

Urea Shortage

China is the world’s biggest producer of urea, and supplies are running out (or China is holding up new production). Urea is used in a TON of stuff from farming to diesel engines. (SUPPLY AND DEMAND PRESSURE)

Russia piling on Fertilizer

Russia is through fuel on the fire regarding fertilizer This results in people buying up what we have now knowing we will have less in the future. (SUPPLY AND DEMAND PRESSURE)

Nickel Shortage

There is a shortage in raw nickel which is a key component in batteries.

Shortages of other Farming Supplies

Other supplies: (SUPPLY PRESSURE)

Fertilizer Inflation Contributing to Higher Food Prices

Chemicals and Fertilizer prices SPIKING. $86,844 jumps to $171,345.

We are Losing Farmers

Wisconsin alone lost 500 farms 2019 to 2020 and the pressure looks worse for 2020-2021 and into 2022 (take that nationwide).


Supply Chain Chaos

The global chaos in supply is well documented and reported. If you aren’t aware here is more info

In the graph above people are reporting the peak is ending – my gut is NOT by a long shot. Definitely better in some spots worse in others, but we are NOT OUT OF THE WOODS. Also the inflationary pressures will create supply side limits, that we haven’t even figured out yet.

There are a lot of simplistic responses to the supply chain issues.

There is nothing wrong where I am! People saying this are sticking their head in the sand, and being intentionally blind to the obvious problems. There are HUGE market changes occurring and some will likely shake out and others will create permeant change.

Unload faster! There’s are a fixed amount of cranes to offload, and fixed number of operators. So add more shifts! there are a finite number of qualified operators regulated to the numbers of hours they can safely work. Working 24×7 has helped but not completely.

Well reroute to other ports! It is happening but adds shipping time, shipping distance, cost and those ports are not empty either. Also, there is a global problem (it isn’t just California, although California is leading the way in screwing up shipping). And the infrastructure expects 30% to 40% to come through California shifting that to Texas and Florida isn’t easy.

There is a backlog of containers on land just send more trucks! There is a shortages of truckers. Oh and truck chassis are regulated in California so old trucks cant legally operate even if they work in ALL OTHER STATES. Oh and more regulations on operators, truckers and equipment and vehicles. The USA is between 10,000 and 80,000 truck drivers short.

The backlog is decreasing?

Not really. The reports are there are fewer ships waiting, but that is only because they are not being allowed into the area. They are farther out to sea (effectively a 2nd less visible waiting area).

Shipping Graph From MXSOCAL-UBS
Shipping Graph From MXSOCAL-UBS

Cargo Ships Wait Off Coast of Mexico as Supply Chain Delays Worsen Jan 24 2022 190 ships of all types were waiting in line to dock at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports on Jan. 19. In mid-October, the number was about 170. It is NOT getting better.

Port of Vancouver Closed

The Port of Vancouver is damaged, and may be closed or at least crippled. The Port of Vancouver is the 2nd largest port on the West Coast. This is more than 1/12th of the entire west coast supply chain OFFLINE. Very bad. (SUPPLY PRESSURE) UPDATE 1/24: they are partly back in production but still repairing, and have had additional flooding since this event.

Canada/US Border Trucking Backlog to INCREASE

An unknown number of truckers are walking away because of the new Jan 2022S US/Canada border vaccine requirement. This will add even more pressure on food supply.

The supply chain mess is DEFNINTELY not over – but should theoretically start to look better IF they don’t keep losing people.


Want to see the realtime shipping fun? Here is a link to realtime shipping information as of 12/10/21 it is looks better than it was last July BUT we cant be sure because China turned off transponders.

China Turned Off Ship Transponders

To make things even more confusing, a lot of the shipping data disappeared because China turned off transponders on many ships.

Chicago Trains are Backed Up

Just like the ports the major rail hubs are backed up, for similar reasons – trucking & labor. (SUPPLY PRESSURE)

WHO “helping”

In the middle of the pandemic DURING the supply chain crisis they are pushing for local food production. Right NOW, and it is already being implemented in some countries. I personally am not against self sufficiency, but not allowing food trade during a crisis is a recipe for more problems.

Reference articles:

Russia and Ukraine

Russia has been playing with supplies of gas, fuel and hinting at invading Ukraine. They hacked Ukraine power grid around Christmas in two years. If they do something it will likely be in the same timeframe. (Supply and Demand Pressure)

New “politics” in California

The rules regarding max hourly work, who can enter ports and what trucks are allowed on the road – are causing yet more chaos



Record number of people leaving workforce. Add in the jab requirements and people refusing (significant and underreported – look at the impact on airlines and they haven’t hit all the deadlines yet). Across the board, people are NOT joining the workforce in critical positions.

Not sure where this is going… but it results in (INDIRECT PRESSURE ON SUPPLY AND DEMAND)

Medical Staffing Crisis

There are organizations across the USA firing medical staff because they are unvaxxed. One estimate is that NY alone has fired in excess of 1300 medical professionals.

This isnt really “direct” supply chain but it adds to the overall risk factor, and increases odds for staffing pressures. The staffing pressures result in general inflation pressure.


The CPI says 6% or 8%.  For the working class we are seeing more like 20% because of food and fuel.  This creates problems that bleed into supply chain again.  (INDIRECT)  It makes suppliers and distributers unsure.

Erratic price spikes create risk and cause suppliers and consumers to react in ways they believe will protect them from that risk. Normally increased demand would cause a supplier to expand operations. But right now, inflation and COVID create a situation where they would rather raise their rates than take on risk in the middle of a fluctuating situation, with an increasingly unknown outcome.

Increased demand with no change in supply results in increased costs. The fear to expand is part of the reason we see inflation. (INDIRECT PRESSURE ON SUPPLY AND DEMAND)

US price rises hit highest level for 40 years

Global Food Prices Spike in 2021

World Food Prices Hit 10 Year High

Shows 15.7% increase in cost of meat, poultry, fish and eggs.  August 2019 through August 2021
Source WashingtonPost

Pork Prices likely to Spike due to Swine Flu

The good news African Swine flu is not a risk to humans directly. Bad news is it lethal to pigs. It has cause huge cullings of animals in China and South Korea. And is not confirmed in northern Italy. (SUPPLY PRESSURE)

Computer Chips

New cars and trucks are hard to find – causing increase in used car prices also.  It is likely that it will be 2022 or later before this changes.

Who cares about cars and chips for food?  Well the parts and chips are also for farming equipment and parts replacement which is causing issues with harvesting (most have been worked around) but that continuing is putting more pressure on farmers. (SUPPLY PRESSURE)

Random Fuel Shortages

Fuel isn’t available and you wont have supply or demand

(Supply and Demand Pressure)

Fuel price spikes

This one is OBVIOUS

(Supply and Demand Pressure)

Food Prices and Supply Issues

Palm production

Lowest in 5 years 6% drop

Edible oils prices spiking

Reduced South America crop production

Numerous areas are seeing “Very dry planting conditions across Brazil and Argentina in October and November are likely to extend through the growing season” (SUPPLY PRESSURE)

Meat prices spiking

As an example our local supermarket only received SINGLE load of frozen turkeys for thanksgiving. Instead of 2 to 3 semis full.  Just ONE this year.

(Supply Pressure)

Crop to Table

Seeing issues with crop to table – harvesting issues due to lack of tires/parts. Packing issues due to lack of staff (direct). Supply chain and other very odd problems (SUPPLY PRESSURE)

Farmers Banned from Delivering Crops

Some suppliers Australia is now banning non-vaxxed from delivering crops.

From the CBH website:

“CBH is required to follow the Government’s instructions on mandating the COVID-19 vaccine and has decided to make the vaccination a condition of entry to all CBH sites and offices. As a result, anyone who visits our premises including employees, contractors, growers, transporters and visitors, are required to comply with the Government’s directions by ensuring that they have received their first vaccination by 31 December 2021 and are fully vaccinated by 31 January 2022. “

China Doing its Part to add to the Chaos

Issuing “buy food” order for people – they expecting food issues. (LARGE DEMAND PRESSURE)

China bad weather and CROP failure


China Buying up to 50% of all world grains

China Buying up Farmland

China saber rattling

Doing exercises where they invade Taiwan. They might actually invade and start a regional or global war. Odds aren’t high but they are definitely not zero. To make things worse we are likely to reduce our front line fighting force because of vax mandates by 5% to 20% depending on the units (without Russia or China firing a shot).

Covid Politics

More politics, nations locking down grain exports, possibly overlapping with the WHO initiative.

(Supply Pressure)

Cyber attacks against food and energy

(Supply Pressure)

Finally – it is already happening


There is no overwhelming single thing that I can point to why I suggested that there will be bare shelves this winter. This list hopefully explains why I say 5% to 30% chance things will cascade to empty store shelves.

My odds of risk as of 11/14/21

  • 30% for of moderate to severe impact supply issues (fuel/food) in Jan 2022
  • 10% WW3 in Jan/Feb 2022

My odds of risk as of 12/9/21 are about the same – slightly sliding out because of court cases for covid19 and WW3 because of increased China airspace violations, port expansion in Atlantic and Russia massing more troops near Ukraine.

  • 30% for of moderate to severe impact supply issues (fuel/food) in Jan to April 2022 – seems to be a slower burn that I expected
  • 10% WW3 in Jan/Feb 2022

My odds of risk as of 12/28/2021 are up because of the WHO activity by Canada and US and Chinese buying spree. Russia still has more troops at Ukraine, China has more activity near Taiwan. It feels like it is a slow motion train wreck with people trying to stop it but it SLOWLY keeps getting worse.

  • 15% WW3 in Jan/Feb 2022
  • 40% for of moderate to severe impact supply issues (fuel/food) in Feb to July 2022 – seems to be a slower burn that I expected

So if you are prepping it doesn’t mean 100%. It means we are in a dangerous time, that is increasingly complex and unstable. You still need to plan for the GOOD stuff, and the 99% chance of inflation. Plan for GOOD times and BAD times. Not just one or the other.

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  1. Hey. I keep checking your page hoping for an update! With all that’s happened since the end of January, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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