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Epidemics overwhelm global supply chains. Changes in consumption upend trade patterns

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 A year after a pandemic disrupted global supply chains, new transportation challenges are delaying US agricultural exports, hampering domestic manufacturing and threatening to drive up prices for US consumer goods, US media said.

According to the Baltic Sea Index, the cost of shipping container goods by sea has risen 80 percent since the beginning of November and nearly tripled in the past year.The increase reflects a dramatic shift in consumption during the outbreak, with consumers spending record amounts on imported clothing, computers, furniture and other goods instead of money spent on eating out or going to the movies.

This unprecedented and sudden shift in consumption has upended long-held trade patterns, creating a "transportation bottleneck" from Chinese factories to American hands, the report said.

Reports pointed out that the commercial chaos is the latest blow for globalisation fine engine, its degree of more than ten years since the financial crisis, a trade war, infectious diseases and the impact of the recession, and each new shock to scale up to $91 trillion (us $1 about RMB 6.5 - this note) of cash and goods flow caused by global economic volatility.Exporters, port officials and trade experts say the impact of the outbreak has exposed the vulnerability of the physical conduits for cross-border trade.

"It's crazy," said Phil Levy, an economist with San Francisco-based freight forwarder FCSB.Prices are at historically high levels and a lot of problems are happening at the same time.People are not expecting anything anymore, there is just too much uncertainty."

 The report says it is a global problem, and the situation is likely to get worse.More than a third of the containers shipped through the world's 20 biggest ports failed to arrive on time last month, according to Marine Insight, a data provider.