October '21

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9 2 G R A P H I C S P R O O C T O B E R 2 0 2 1 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M leading to extreme freight costs and in- creased transport times across every leg of the shipment of goods. According to the Drewry World Con- tainer Index, the cost of sending a con- tainer from Asia to Europe is nearly 10 times higher than in May 2020, while the cost from Shanghai to Los Angeles is more than sixfold. Monika Kalenski, CEO at MEK Mag- net, an automotive aftermarket manufac- turer specializing in high-energy rubber- ized magnets and gel panels for Jeeps, said one supplier's shipping quote went from $3,000 for a full container to more than $20,000. Regardless of intent, Kalenski said U.S. tariffs did not help the situation. "It's al- most impossible to find something that is truly 100% U.S.-made in a global econo- my," she says. "Some component almost always comes from overseas, so really ev- eryone is affected." Ongoing container shipment shortages and port congestion are expected to last through the fourth quarter and likely into mid-2022. According to industry profes- sionals, the entire dynamic is multiplying various costs to unsustainable levels and applying tremendous pressure to accurate financial planning and profitability. HOLDING THE LINE ON PRICES While the situation prompts many ex- porters to raise prices or cancel shipments altogether, others are holding firm — ab- sorbing the surplus costs to help maintain stability within their respective markets. "We haven't increased our prices, even though our costs have gone up," stresses Kalenski. "We're doing our part to ride this out. So far, customers haven't had to cover any of the shortfalls." Now, perhaps more than ever, leaning on reliable supplier partnerships is critical for doing business and staying in busi- ness. Regardless of supply chain pitfalls, Kalenski said MEK Magnet is working double-time behind the scenes to guar- antee customers receive the same great quality and value. "We're very diligent with the materials we use — our finished product depends on it," says Kalenski. "So, when I noticed a decline in quality, I quickly transitioned to a new supplier. Even though we were told nothing changed, we're the ones working

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