Virus-Related Slowdowns Impact Const. Supply Chain

March 26, 2020

While cities determine how major construction projects should move forward following the coronavirus pandemic, the shipping and sourcing of raw materials used across projects has “slowed to a trickle,” according to Arch Paper.

While a number of building materials can be domestically sourced, countries like Italy and China are major players in the global supply chain. According to the article, a slew of materials and equipment sourced from around the globe has become scarce, or is at risk of becoming scarce due to shipping delays, travel bans, shuttered factories, and decimated workforces. 

Imports including construction materials, arriving at the Port of Los Angeles from China were down 23 percent in February when compared to the same period the previous year, the article reports. In-development projects have also been impacted by supply chain concerns, as lenders become uneasy about developments being halted mid-construction.

Many American builders already have the materials they need on-hand and, in turn, can commence with projects as planned. A number of importers have also stockpiled enough materials to keep the supply chain moving. But for exactly how long a “good while” and how large the impact on construction remains unknown.

“Have people experienced the impact yet? Probably not,” Mike Haller, president of Detroit-based builder Walbridge Aldinger Co., explained to Crain’s Detroit. “But will be impact come? Probably so.”

Source: Arch Paper & Crain's Detroit