BUSINESS + ECONOMY

Diversify sources, increase pay to address Utah supply chain problems

Nov 10, 2021, 2:58 PM | Updated: 5:17 pm
Utah supply chain...
BAYONNE, NEW JERSEY - OCTOBER 13: A cargo ship moves under the Bayonne Bridge as it heads into port on October 13, 2021 in Bayonne, New Jersey. Photo credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

SALT LAKE CITY — Trying to solve supply-chain issues was front and center at a meeting today at the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, a division of the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah. 

Work as a team to address Utah supply-chain woes

The president of World Trade Center Utah, Miles Hansen, offered multiple fixes that could be addressed by the Utah Inland Port.

“We can pool the bargaining power of Utah exporters and importers and, in essence, collectively bargain with shipping companies to try to get better service coming from Salt Lake City to places around the world,” Hansen said.

This idea may be addressed next week, Hansen said, when the head of the Federal Maritime Commission comes to Utah, marking the first time this official visits an inland state. 

Consider other sources

Another issue to consider, said economist Phil Dean, is a change of focus. He said Utah companies need to adapt the old business model of getting 99 percent of their supplies from China.

“It’s the idea of resilience, it’s becoming more and more important how you diversify your supply chain,” Dean said.

Diversifying might increase costs, Dean said, but it can also create a type of insurance that can mitigate risk for local businesses.

Bypass seaports, raise wages to address Utah supply chain

What if American businesses didn’t have to make a seaport their first stop in the supply chain?  World Trade Center Utah board member Jason Fowler has another idea:

“Finding a way to entice these carriers to bring their containers into Salt Lake,” Fowler said. 

However, a shortage of truck drivers could put a damper on that plan, as well as a shortage of workers to unload cargo onto trucks. And those issues could be addressed, Fowler said, by paying such workers more.

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Diversify sources, increase pay to address Utah supply chain problems