Cascade Failure: Why our shelves are emptying and why you should prepare for worst

Weather and Events

Record rains in China during July caused massive disruptions to agriculture. Crops were washed away and livestock was drowned. Typhoon Chanthu disrupted the ports of Shanghai & Ningbo.

In the US, Hurricane Ida’s high winds caused damage to multiple grain elevators and knocked down 30,000 power towers, more than Hurricane Katrina did in 2005, depriving 90,000 people of power. “There’s been some damage to grain terminals along the Gulf Coast that is being evaluated,” said Deb Calhoun, senior vice president of Waterways Council Inc. Some facilities had damage to conveyor belts and other equipment. The damage has led to delays in some grain barges’ schedules.  “A lot of assets have to be moved,” Calhoun said.

Just when recovery efforts were kicking in, Hurricane Nicholas brought in more heavy flooding to the Texas and Louisiana coasts. Farmers have been either affected by drought or floods. Neither is conducive to good harvests. The drought areas were forced to cut for forage for livestock.


Many Chinese ports were affected by Covid and were unable to unload container vessels and turn them around and send exports back across the ocean. This came at a time when record demand was causing a massive pressure on manufacturing, resulting in a shortage of labor, trucks (chassis), containers, warehouse staff, etc. The disruption to the just-in-time ordering so in vogue with retailers and manufacturers in America has been catastrophic.

China has a protein shortage and is buying up food like meat and soy beans everywhere. The weather issues back home did not help, but the really serious problem is the fact that all its freezers are full of the carcasses of hogs euthanized because they tested positive for African Swine Fever (ASF) and the Chinese are trying not to spread another global pandemic.

China is out of fuel. There is not enough energy to power all industry as well as heat households.

China is focussed on the South China Sea and causing a ruckus by building out small islands to become military bases posing as vacation destinations.

Demand & Labor

Who wants to work when you can paid more to stay home? Lots of people apparently! Many workers have decided not to risk their health. Many have switched career, forced by the months of no work to look elsewhere. There is a shortage of truck drivers. Of warehouse staff. Of Slaughterhouse workers. In addition, the government makes it very hard for meat and poultry to be sold across state lines.

The demand for almost all goods is at a record high. So much so that we are short of everything: steel, building materials, replacement parts, semi-conductors, medicines, everything. (This is why I have been telling to stock up for the past six months!)

The growing U.S. trade deficit, which is hitting record highs. It’s fueled by a surge in demand for imports, mostly from East Asia. There’s so much cargo being shipped to the U.S. from Asia right now that capacity at all American ports is causing backlogs, fines, incurred extra waiting costs and causing general mayhem.

For goods coming to the US from China by sea you see an increase in time required from factory to port of 40-50%. The cost for the company shipping that container may be 4-5 time as much as it used to be (from a few thousand to $15-16000 a container) No wonder stores are flashing empty shelves or trying to stock up with American products. Many high-end companies are using pricey air cargo for those luxury high-end products that can absorb the cost. On top of this is the common knowledge that the longshoremen in California are timing their much anticipated strike to maximize our pain and their bargaining power.

There are many other factors. Politics and political ineptitude play a role. But mostly, our dependence on other countries and the utter belief that the supply process will keep working whatever happens have put us in a precarious situation. Stock up now. Make sure you have fuel, energy (bulbs and batteries) water, food, pet food , medicine, hygiene products and the things you know YOU need to survive. (Cigars, vapes, wine, whisky etc.!)

Prepare for the worst. Buy now for Christmas. Get extras. Buy your meat NOW! Get prepper food. And follow Huntsman @man_integrated on Twatter. He’s the only