Companies that rely on overseas procurement and have their products shipped to the United States via ocean vessel may experience delays this year, as an anticipated Asian Gypsy moth invasion could result in serious supply chain issues. Infested ships from Japan, Russia, Korea and China have been stopped by government officials trying to prevent the pest from spreading to the United States and Canada, as its presence could contribute to deforestation and have a significant impact on natural environments. According to Modern Distribution Management, one cargo ship stopped in January was home to 275 egg masses, each of which can contain up to 1,000 eggs and increase the chances of a domestic pest problem.
Moths could cause problems for companies
According to maritime services provider Inchcape Shipping Services (ISS), vessels headed to the U.S. or Canada must have pre-departure certification and carry no moths or egg masses. The presence of the insects could prove to be problematic for businesses relying on timely shipments from across the world. Unexpected delays or inspections could wreak havoc on a company's carefully planned shipping or purchasing strategies, especially if vessel inspections increase and government agencies crack down on Asian Gypsy moth control. Orders may go unfilled, clients may be unable to purchase products and a firm's reputation may be tarnished as its merchandise sits offshore waiting on an inspection.
To effectively mitigate these risks and ensure business carries on as usual, companies may need to enhance their procurement adaptability and step up their purchasing from regions not known for Asian Gypsy moths. Some operations may find it hard to change their purchasing strategies, but may find that changing logistical processes and relying on air traffic or other forms of shipping can reduce wait times and ensure there are no product shortages or consumer complaints.