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The U.S. supply chain is in the throes of a so-called “bullwhip effect.” Importers overreacted to last year’s congestion and heightened consumer demand, brought in too much cargo too early, and are now stuck with excess inventory. Could there be a bullwhip effect in the opposite direction next year?
It could happen, says Rolf Habben Jansen, CEO of Hapag-Lloyd. He addressed this scenario during a panel discussion Monday.
“There is still a lot of volatility in the market, and everybody seems to be doing the same thing, which is quite scary,” said Habben Jansen.
“Everybody is overreacting all the time. At the start of COVID, we lost 20% of our volume in two weeks because everybody started cutting their orders. Then the economy recovered and everybody started ordering like crazy.
“This year we saw lots of people ordering Christmas stuff in the summer. So, a lot of volume was brought forward. Now we see congestion easing, inventories filling up and warehouses filling up and everybody is cutting orders like crazy. We’ve gone to the other extreme.
“I’m just waiting for the next step,” he said. “Because I’m pretty sure what we’re seeing right now is an overreaction – again. People trying to cut everything possible at this stage will see that underlying consumer demand is actually relatively healthy and all of a sudden, they’ll become concerned that their inventories are a bit on the low end and we’ll possibly see a bounce-back.”
Read more in an article from FreightWaves.