New Vietnam COVID Lockdowns Slow Apparel Supply Chain
COVID lockdowns have created supply chain issues across the world. While a lot of the problems stem from China, apparel companies have reported that lockdowns in Vietnam are increasingly causing problems.
Many retailers and promotional apparel suppliers have shifted sourcing operations from China to other Southeast Asian countries in recent years as they've looked to diversify their supply chains. Companies like the Gap, Lululemon and Nike say they source a significant amount, if not a majority, of their products from Vietnam.
But with Vietnam imposing more lockdowns this week to stop the spread of COVID as the Delta variant spreads globally, apparel sellers are up against another supply chain headache.
“We were already having disruptions from a lot of other factors, whether it’s not enough container ships, not enough people working in ports to offload ships, not enough containers, not enough truckers once the containers get off the ship,” Matt Powell, senior industry advisor at The NPD Group, said, according to Yahoo News.
Unlike ongoing shipping issues, which are projected to continue well into next year, officials are optimistic that slowdowns in Vietnam will subside by the end of this month. But any disruptions on the manufacturing side will only add to the list of inventory and product availability challenges apparel sellers are already facing.
“The hope is the lockdowns in Vietnam end by mid-September with as many factory workers as possible vaccinated by then,” Joe Feldman, assistant director of research at Kelsey Advisory Group, said, according to Yahoo. “Some companies are conservatively forecasting the lockdowns end by October 1, which would put them at approximately 10 weeks.”