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Storms From Texas to China Set to Worsen Global Ship Snarls

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Global supply chains already tangled by the pandemic, labor shortages and sustained consumer demand in the U.S. are getting walloped by another disruptive force: Mother Nature.

Typhoon Chanthu is expected to hover near the mouth of China’s Yangtze River through Wednesday, temporarily shutting operations at major ports. In Texas, the heart of the U.S.’s energy and chemical industries, Tropical Storm Nicholas made landfall overnight, forcing terminals in Houston to curb cargo handling and restrict vessel traffic little more than two weeks after Hurricane Ida barreled into neighboring Louisiana.

Even temporary delays around two major trade gateways will ripple across a global shipping industry that’s running with little slack during one of the peak seasons for ocean freight.“The timing is awful and will add more pressure to an already stricken supply chain, particularly given the size of these ports,” said Simon Heaney, senior manager of container research at Drewry Shipping Consultants Ltd. “Every COVID-19 case and extreme weather situation compounds the problem and delays the return to normal operations.”

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