Wyoming's governor monitoring as global supply chain problems persist - Casper, WY Oil City News
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Wyoming’s governor monitoring as global supply chain problems persist

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CASPER, Wyo. — Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon said during a conference call on Monday, August 16 that he and other governors are monitoring the situation as disruptions to the global supply chain continue to impact supplies in a number of industries.

“There are a number of shortages,” Gordon said during the call. “Aviation fuel is one that I have brought up a couple of times.”

Gordon signed an executive order in July enacting temporary emergency measures allowing drivers to make extra fuel deliveries. That order is in effect through August 20.

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Fuel delivery delays have been impacting both small and midsize airports. CNBC stated during the last week of July that American Airlines was reportedly being impacted by fuel shortages and was considering stopping some flights. American Airlines said the shortages were due to lack of drivers, trucks and fuel supply.

Aviation fuel is just one example of shortages that are being reported across the county. Computer chip and graphics card shortages are impacting products such as the Playstation 5 and the Xbox Series X, with shortages expected to continue possibly into 2023, according to GameRant. Alcohol distributors are struggling to keep up with restaurants’ and bars’ demands for beer and liquor in some areas of the country, according to BestLife. Such issues may persist into early 2022.

Fast food restaurants have been taking steps to relieve pressure from shortages of everything from food ingredients to paper bags to plastic straws, Insider reported on August 11.

Shortages of not only some school supply materials but also bus drivers, substitute teachers and counselors are impacting some school districts on the east coast, the Washington Post reported on Monday.

The product shortages are largely due to global shipping delays, Forbes reported on August 12.

“We still have a very challenged supply chain,” JLL President of Retail Advisory Service Naveen Jaggi told Forbes. “Many retailers don’t expect any sense of a balanced supply-chain recovery until the summer of 2022 or even later.”

Forbes reports that shipping containers are “stuck in the wrong places with empty containers sitting in ports where they can’t be filled and returned to ports where they can. This container shortage is causing a doubling or tripling in the cost to ship

.” This problem is impacting consumer prices and “will result in product shortages, especially for the most in-demand products going into the holiday season like home furnishings, electronics, seasonal clothing and toys,” according to Forbes.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has been a factor in supply chain problems, weather has also caused issues in the last year. In March, the Independent Commodity Intelligence Service wrote that global chemical supplier Brenntag, like other players in the industry, saw significant production shutdowns as the result of February’s polar vortex.

Malware and ransomware attacks have caused other supply chain headaches, including an attack this spring that forced the shut down of the Colonial Pipeline, the largest supplier of fuel on the U.S. East Coast, this spring.

Gordon said on Monday that state agencies are “working around the clock” to ensure government systems in Wyoming are as protected as they can be against malware or ransomware attacks.

“I think anybody who owns a computer is potentially vulnerable,” Gordon said. He mentioned the example of a 2019 ransomware attack on the Campbell County Health hospital in Gillette that temporarily halted many of the functions at the hospital.

Gordon said that the state has been working to ensure software is upgraded to protect against attacks along with other cybersecurity measures.

“We have to be extra careful,” Gordon said.

The governor also talked about the shortage of affordable housing in some areas of the state during Monday’s conference call.

“Housing is a huge problem,” Gordon said.

He said that with some areas of Wyoming seeing an influx of people moving in, in some cases property owners are jacking up rental prices. Gordon said that this problem is compounded by an uptick in property owners converting rental properties into Airbnb spaces available for vacation rental.

Gordon said his office has been in talks with the Wyoming Community Development Authority on ways to address this situation. He described the problem as “very acute” in Cheyenne, Teton County and Sheridan.

He added, however, that even some smaller communities like Wright are seeing an “unprecedented demand for housing.”

Gordon said that his office is considering the problem as it puts together a new budget proposal. The governor’s office is also talking about how federal funding may be able to help alleviate the problem.

He said that he thinks it will “be fascinating to see the changes in population that 2020 brought.” While Wyoming’s energy sector was impacted not only by COVID-19 but also the oil price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia in 2020, Gordon said that Wyoming has also seen an increase in people moving to the state who are looking for a “conservative, well-run state” to live in.

As for possible shortages of personal protective equipment, Gordon said that the state has been working to ensure that healthcare, daycare and other facilities “have adequate supplies of PPE.”

With COVID-19 vaccines not yet recommended by the CDC for children under 12 years of age, Gordon said that making PPE available to daycares remains important.

“We will have supplies and resources available for daycare situations,” he said.