Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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US supply chain struggles with high costs, service disruptions

In the US, the book industry supply chain is struggling under the challenges of truck driver shortages, widespread port congestion and skyrocketing container costs, according to a Book Industry Study Group panel, reports Publishers Weekly.

The panel expects the struggles to continue for the rest of the year and into 2022. David Hetherington of fulfilment services provider Book International said he has never seen such pressure building in the supply chain as is happening now, and predicts that situation could get worse as more consumer buying shifts online.

The panel—which also included distributor Readerlink’s Ryan Forbes and shipping services provider Meadows Wye’s Susie Scally—agreed it is the lack of freight capacity that is causing the delays. It’s estimated there’s a shortage of 60,000 truck drivers, while trucking firms are also having difficulty sourcing large trailers.

Scally said there are ‘congested ports everywhere’ internationally. With shipping companies having increased the price of containers, Scally added that publishers need to accept that shipping books is expensive and not bicker over price: she does not expect prices to return to pre-Covid levels.

Hetherington suggested that, to ameliorate these delays and added costs, publishers need to look more closely at digital printing. He urged publishers to shorten their supply chains as much as possible, for example by shipping to customers directly from their manufacturer whenever possible.


Category: International news