Nearly 90 percent of businesses with operations at the Fort Lauderdale port Florida are still experiencing supply chain disruptions owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a business survey by a researcher at Florida Atlantic University.
Results from the inaugural Port Everglades Economic Engine Performance Index show that nearly 90 percent of survey respondents said they’re still experiencing supply chain disruptions, which they attributed to the global pandemic, with 30 percent stating that those disruptions are severe.
The survey consisted of 35 emailed responses to questions directed to members of the Port Everglades Association, a business organization that promotes the port. Among those members are cruise line and engineering firms as well as cargo ship lines.
The supply chain crisis over the past year or so has led to shortages of multiple items and products, such as consumer electronics, food, and semiconductor chips—the latter of which has drastically affected the automobile industry.
Those shortages have in turn contributed to runaway inflation, which soared to 9.1 percent in June, before declining slightly, to 8.5 percent last month, prompting praise from the Biden administration as it attempts to tackle the soaring prices that are affecting Americans.
Optimistic About the FutureDespite the current situation, the survey showed that businesses with operations at the Fort Lauderdale port are "overwhelmingly optimistic over the short and long term."
Overall, nearly seven out of 10 firms surveyed said they have at least recovered to pre-pandemic levels, while 22 percent of respondents indicated that their firm is now performing better than it was at pre-COVID levels.
Those firms surveyed which are involved on the cargo side of the port said they expect imports and exports to increase or remain steady over the next 12 months, although one firm indicated that the volume could decrease.
In addition, more than 60 percent of respondents said they plan to add employees in the next three months. However, amid a labor shortage, the majority of those firms said they have struggled to find qualified candidates.
That data indicate that while supply chain bottlenecks are slowly being eased, global supply chain pressures still remain historically high.
"This survey clearly shows that the supply chain troubles we’ve seen over the past two years are starting to decline," said David Menachof, Ph.D., the study researcher and an associate professor in FAU’s Information Technology and Operations Management Department within the College of Business. "There will still be sporadic shortages, but I think the outlook for the holiday shopping season will be rosier than last year. Still, it may take until 2023 to get back to what we think of as normal."