A BBC report on the vulnerability of the global supply chain


The BBC report on the Global Logistics Issues.

It help us realise just how totally vulnerable we are to the insanely delicate and vulnerable Global Supply Chain, and how we need to insulate ourselves by PREPPING.

And every single report I read from anyone anywhere reports its likely to get worse BEFORE it gets better, with many saying IF it gets better.


  • Comments (20)

    • 5

      Thank you for the great video link Bill. How have the supply chain issues influenced your life for better or worse? Has it changed any of your preps?

      For those who want to continue learning about this topic of the recent supply chain issues, The Prepared wrote a very thorough blog post about it recently: Deep dive on what’s behind the supply chain disruptions of 2021 and what you should do about it

      • 4

        I like many others are finding the global supply system a total nightmare. Parts for our washing machine are on back order from China, I’m so pleased I changed our old Chinese cast iron wood stove for a British one as the parts to repair the chinese stove are unavailable.  To a slightly lesser degree many air rifle parts are sourced by many european gun makers from China, as are complete guns and many of those are in short supply.

        I fear that if the growing tensions between the west and China continue  that the Chinese will have the upper hand as they can cripple our economies over night.

        I’m currently looking at everything we have and looking for non Chinese made alternatives, It will take me years to change everything.

      • 2

        Good morning Bill,

        I’m one of those others finding this environment a nightmare.

        The “problem” can be traced to large US companies and their expensive labor.

        For example, Boeing needed to enter the China market to sell Boeing aircraft or the company could have faced insolvency. It is a grossly overpaid company getting subsidized by the Pentagon for Boeing military aircraft.

        Of course the Chinese had a quality quid pro quo demand: some Chinese goods manufactured for export to the US market. The supply chain is getting established.

        I’m hearing that the US has a critical shortage of chips and semiconductors for cars and electronics. 

        The “problem” can be traced to the grossly overpaid US companies and their bloated payrolls.

        3M N95 face masks are far from being high-tech. Yet, our bloated public health programs set the scene for masks to be manufactured overseas.

        We’re now slowly changing all this. Preppers need to celebrate this.

      • 1

        The fatal flaw of the GLS was exposed for all to see when it turned out that for a while there was NO US made Antibiotics.

    • 3

      I honestly believe that even having a month of food/water is good since it means you’d only need to go to the supermarket just once a month. I know having more is better, but I think 1/mo is good for someone who isn’t currently working at a job.

      • 3

        1 month of food and water is amazing! Most people don’t even have more than a week or two.

      • 7

        I think one month is fantastic.

        Over the summer, I spoke with a neighbors’ son that lives in Texas and I asked him how he fared during the February ice storm. He is a retired state trooper.

        He told me it was embarrassing to see how his neighbors reacted.

        He lives alone and awoke early to a cold townhouse. He checked the lights in his place and outside and quickly realized power was out. He put his hunting clothes on and filled a large stock pot with water before it dropped below freezing inside. He put the pot on his propane grill on his deck and let it freeze. When he was ready, he heated the pot and put a few now frozen water bottles in the pot. He drained his water system, put a little antifreeze in his toilet and drains. He made coffee with a camping percolator and went to work.

        He had a full tank (never let it get below 3/4 from his LEO days) and plenty of food, cash, extra 20# propane tanks, a winter sleeping bag and warm clothes. He was fine.

        His neighbors did not have warm coats, winter boots or even food for 2 days and wanted to know when the state would ‘fix this mess’. What surprised him was how many were completely unprepared.

        Back to the topic of this thread; when Wallys World runs low or out of stuff the push back is going to be much worse than bellyaching.

      • 2

        Question about the antifreeze in the toilet. How much do you use and do you just pore it in the bowl and let it sit? Sorry, but I grew up in Louisiana and we don’t get freezing weather like this and now I’m in Tx 😬

      • 1

        Thanks for commenting on this and bringing up the discussion again. I didn’t see this before, but have now. 

        While watching the Texas deep freeze on the news, I didn’t once think to pour antifreeze into the plumbing. Horrible for the environment (sorry fishies) but if that’s what I need to do to keep my pipes from bursting and flooding my house…. Pouring alcohol in your toilet tank is less effective but another possible solution to lower the freezing point. So that idea is going to go into the back of my prepping brain for future reference for a worst case scenario.

        As for an answer to your question, it depends. You’ll find two types of antifreeze bottles at your auto parts store. 50/50 prediluted and then the concentrated version. When the ratios are properly mixed, they will protect up to temperatures like -34 to -84 degrees F (check your bottle for specifics). Lets say your toilet tank holds 1 gallon of water, if you mixed in 1/2 gallon of concentrated antifreeze and 1/2 gallon of toilet water you will get more or less the rating on the bottle. The prediluted kind already has water in it so adding it to the toilet water will dilute it even more and not give you as much protection.

        You really don’t need -84 degree protection though, so I would guess that even a cup or two would give you enough protection to prevent your toilet tank from bursting or freezing solid. I’d probably just start there and keep an eye on things, if it starts getting like a slushy or there is a thin layer of ice on the top, then add a bit more.

        Other strategies like slowly letting your pipes drip, opening cupboard doors under your sink to expose them to warm air, and keeping the house warm by fire or generator are things you should strive for first before pouring antifreeze into your pipes, but it’s a good tip to know for the extreme. 

    • 3

      It was announced the other day that the USPS is no longer shipping to many countries including nz.

      • 2

        I got a letter from them saying to bear with them, that holiday packages will take longer than usual to process and ship. Don’t wait till the last minute this year.

    • 5

      So true Bill

      The global Just In Time delivery system has broken down because of slight changes in buying habits by quarantined consumers, overwhelmed workers, business stockpiling parts, etc. The advantage of JIT is lowered overhead because of there being no need for warehousing when you know exactly what you are going to need and when you’ll need it and can get it. But the downside, as in all complex systems, is the lack of resiliency. Slight changes are amplified each step of the way.

      Most folks in the rich world now practice JIT in their personal lives. They have no resiliency because they plan to buy what they need when they need it and expect it to be there. We’re seeing the global supply chain learn the lesson each and every prepper already knows by heart.

      Energy is turning into a big problem as well with last years production cuts and ongoing lack of investment—fossil energy depletes 24/7 and requires ongoing capital investment to maintain output.

      Some of you may recognize the idea of the Olduvai Cliff, I had long ago dismissed it but from last winter’s Texas and beyond blackout, to Lebanon and China currently, to threats of nat gas shortages and blackouts in the US (because we are exporting oil and gas ASAP and our gas may not be as abundant as thought) I am reconsidering it.

      With the Delta wave of Covid I’ve been topping up my preps and following through with purchases long in the plan but procrastinated. The better grain mill being a good example. We’ve been steadily increasing basic pantry goods as well as long term food storage.

      I had thought there would be a few more years until fossil fuels hit the wall but the shales are quickly drawing down their backlog of drilled but not completed wells—DUCs in the lingo. Once these several thousands of wells already drilled in the sweetest spots are put online, the next generation will be much less productive. As it is, an individual well produces at the fastest rate on day one, then declines precipitously.

      We’re on electricity and nat gas, right now so I’m focusing on storing a little fuel. Our rigs run both gasoline and diesel, genny both gasoline and propane/nat gas. I have oil and propane lighting as well as some small solar. I store flammables in an outdoor “cabinet” I built away from the house.

      Finally, I just want to urge all my fellow preppers to not fall down the rabbit holes dug by folks whose income is based on driving outrage and division. Don’t become complacent in the drip drip drip of the news cycle, but don’t stare at the headlights!

      Work your plan.

      • 1

        This is so well worded. You have very good insight into what’s going on and what to do about it.

      • 2

        Thank you for say Alisa,. I gotta tell you though, I’m personally not as together as all that. In fact my little rant is based on the frustration of not having a clear conception of where things are headed.

        I feel like we are bombarded daily with so much information it can be like drinking from the proverbial firehose. It’s really hard to separate what is valuable and actionable from the merely sensational and titivating. 

        Why does the frog boil? He’s waiting on a signal to jump.

        We preppers spend so much time anticipating the Big One that we’re susceptible to the Thousand Little Ones. And it doesn’t help that many of the feeds directed at us play up whatever can be spun as imminent doom on a daily basis in order to sell clicks to whatever survival gimmick is of the moment.. 

        Folks spend lots of time waiting on a sign, a mushroom cloud, tanks in the street, marshal law, whatever., to implement their bug out to the sticks. But the global chain that feeds and clothes us is mostly invisible to begin with and if it seizes up the first sign we’ll see is “sorry, out of gas” or “sorry no bread today.”

        The just in time global supply chain is a self-organizing system built on one thing, profit. If enough shortages and mis-allocations, and rate increases put enough businesses into the red, the whole thing could well and truly just shut down and the owners go off to Galt’s Gulch, bucket list adventureland or wherever. Because there is no one in charge, because there is no designer, no ultimate authority, no help desk, we are all at the mercy of the invisible hand.

        See, I’m just as much a sensationalist as the people I put down, LOL Keep your head down!

    • 2

      I say “if”.

      The global supply chain no longer really about logistics and more so about international business.

      Returning the supply chain to within US borders means using US labor and this is highly expensive when compared to eg India, Vietnam, China.

      Plus – the US regulatory apparatus kicks in and the merchant has a contingent liability with a large cost to address.

      To illustrate; the US has the world’s safest state-of-the-art commercial fishing regulations. The US has the world’s safest state-of-the-art maritime trade regulations.

      For obvious reasons the US has a small commercial fishing industry and a small US flagged merchant fleet.  If US built oil rigs weren’t allowed to be subsidized by the Maritime Subsidy Board as US flagged vessels, the fleet would be even smaller than the current small fleet.

      Regulatory compliance is very expensive also with contingent libilities – often address by purchasing insurance policies … and these policies are far from bargain-basement priced.

      A fully-developed domestic US only supply chain could require 10 -20 years to have fielded and working. The mercantile class just doesn’t want to spend the fortune needed to hope for a return on their investment.  

      • 1

        So do you think that if more trade and business came stateside it would drive up prices significantly? Stability could improve, but could also cause more issues unless we properly worked on our exporting business and traded US made goods with other countries.

      • 2

        Good evening Henry,

        Yes, definitely a large price increase.

        Grandma isn’t going to spend $50.00 for a Craftsman hammer at Sears when she can spend $1.00 at Dollar Tree.

        It’s now difficult to export US products (except grains) because the foreign countries want to add local content and use local labor.

      • 1


        I agree with much of what you have said but the breakdown in the supply chain has highlighted not just the fragility of the Just-In-Time (JIT) inventory management concept but also illuminated the flip side of the coin: Just-For-Me-not-for-Thee.

        The recently publicized fact that +80% of all prescription medications Americans need (and we need too many) are manufactured in the Pac Rim is a huge national security risk. This spigot can be tightened for political reasons by other countries. We do it with embargoes against the behavior of some countries and we can expect it in return. This risk has been understood by the right people for some time but ignored due to the profit it supports.

        Like many, I deal with the supply chain problems everyday at work right now. Tech deliveries sliding right, projects sliding right, the need for contingent technology solutions to be more aggressively considered, and on and on. This is adding substantially to final project costs, additional Lifecycle Management risk, and our overall risk profile so at some point onshoring tech will become a preferred solution despite the marginal cost. It will not be overnight, as you say, but in my opinion, the toothpaste is out of the tube.

        While the semiconductor shortages and manufacturing labor shortages are hurting me at work, the shipping problems have turned personal too: I cannot get my favorite hot sauce from Mexico anymore!

      • 1

        I read on the BBC that until very recently the United States was not making any antibiotics within its borders, it was all imported, thankfully now being corrected.

      • 1

        Good  afternoon Shaun,

        Of course the preferred solution is to have access and control over the strategically-designated product throughout the several manufacturing stages.

        This problem has been ignored for ages.

        Speaking of shipping …… US ocean ports have about two thirds of daily hours when open compared to Chinese ports. The port and truck distribution problem has also been ignored here.

        No hot sauce from Sri Lanka ?!