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End of 2021 will see more supply chain issues, food insecurity

Media Contact

Lindsey Knewstub

The global supply chain has been put under extreme stress throughout the pandemic causing major disruptions for businesses and consumers as we enter a busy season for businesses in all industries.

The following Cornell experts can discuss the problems that persist in the global supply chain and impacts it’s having on various industries.


Global Supply Chain

Art Wheaton

Arthur Wheaton

Director of Western NY Labor and Environmental Programs for the Worker Institute

Art Wheaton is a workplace and industry education specialist at Cornell's School of Industrial and Labor Relations and specializes in the auto and aerospace industries.

“Supply chain issues have impacted everyone and almost everything. Almost every sector of the economy – from manufacturing and agriculture to restaurants, services and deliveries – is facing increasing costs and problems receiving goods. Customers have ramped up online ordering, and with many of these goods being imported it is adding fuel to the fire.

“The transportation issues are also devastating. The loading docks waiting to unload and deliver cargo containers are backed up for miles. Costs per container have skyrocketed from $6,000 to $30,000 in some cases. Cargo containers on the West coast are being parked on nearby streets because the docks are overflowing.

“Human Resource and staffing issues are exacerbating a bad situation with shortages of truck drivers and warehouse workers to load and unload, and traffic backups waiting to pick up containers. The pandemic has made it worse and labor shortages from overseas COVID-19 outbreaks have seriously hampered efforts to keep things flowing.”

Kenneth Rother

Kenneth Rother

Visiting Lecturer

Ken Rother, is a visiting lecturer with a deep understanding of business operations, technology-based innovation, and client management.

“When it comes to the global supply chain the playing field is just not level. The larger brands supplying the big box and major online retailers are at the front of the line with smaller companies fighting for the remaining raw material inventory and manufacturing capacity.

“Although still early, there is now a trend toward reshoring and bringing back manufacturing work that was once performed overseas. Working with U.S. manufacturers used to be more expensive than offshore options but, as U.S.-based manufacturers modernize, that cost gap is narrowing. In addition, the benefits of a predictable production schedule, as well as reduced travel, add to the attractiveness of working with U.S. manufacturers.

“All is not perfect though. Many of the very basic raw materials that are inputs to various manufacturing processes are still produced overseas and until that changes brands large and small will be fighting over those supplies.”

Food Supply & Food Insecurity

The nation’s food supply has been battered by a knotted supply chain, high transportation expenses, labor shortages, trade policies and bad weather.

Miguel Gómez

Miguel Gómez

Associate Professor of Applied Economics and Management

Miguel Gómez, professor of applied economics and management at the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, is an expert in global food supply chains and food value chains. Gómez is available for interviews in Spanish and can speak to issues impacting agricultural supply chains.

David Just

David Just

Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management

David Just, a science and business professor, is an expert in consumer behavior, as well as food and agriculture economics including food assistance and nutrition. Just can speak to the volatility in the supply chain and how it will impact food banks.

Tashara Leak

Tashara Leak

Assistant Professor, Division of Nutritional Sciences

Tashara Leak, assistant professor of nutritional studies, is a health equity researcher with a focus on socioeconomic and environmental influences on food choices. Leak can discuss how poverty rates have increased dramatically since the onset of the pandemic, which has led to a rise in food insecurity among households with children.

Holiday Shopping

As challenges to the global supply chain continue, holiday shopping will likely be impacted, raising questions about what shopping-centric holidays like Black Friday and Cyber Monday will look like this year.

Ori Heffetz

professor of applied economics at Cornell University’s SC Johnson College of Business

Ori Heffetz, professor of applied economics at Cornell’s SC Johnson College of Business, is an expert on consumption and studies the psychological, social and cultural aspects of economic behavior. Heffetz can talk about how supply chain disruptions will play into the social status of holiday shopping.

Randy Allen

Randy Allen

Senior Lecturer

Randy Allen, senior lecturer of management, is an expert in retail and consumer business. Allen can speak to how supply chain disruptions will impact holiday shopping.

Jason Judd

Jason Judd

Executive Director of the New Conversations Project

Jason Judd is an expert in global labor practices, regulation of work along global supply chains and the interactions of trade and labor standards at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations. He recently co-authored a report looking at possible scenarios for a post-COVID-19 future of the global apparel industry, with special attention to the likely impacts for workers, employers and governments in the Asia and Pacific region.

Cornell University has television, ISDN and dedicated Skype/Google+ Hangout studios available for media interviews.