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Businesses around the world are grappling with sourcing PPE supplies – the ongoing shortage of nitrile gloves being a good example – much of which is produced in China, and governments are navigating increasingly fractious trade relations with the world’s second largest economy: Should supply chain operators be worried? 

With trade sanctions escalating and China vowing retaliation for any perceived meddling in its domestic affairs, PPE supplies could be in the crosshairs, which poses risks for suppliers sourcing from China, or indeed Asia more generally. 

Nitrile gloves: a lesson in diversification Nitrile glove sourcing challenges are ongoing, with local authorities, care homes and businesses sometimes struggling to secure adequate supplies. With such high demand and importation issues, there’s a constant requirement for quality product and affordable prices. China provides the world with many PPE items, including 10% of the global supply of nitrile gloves. By far the biggest producer is Malaysia (60%), followed by Thailand (18%). A combined 88% of nitrile glove supplies come from Asia. 

Any measures or developments that slow production or hinder transportation or customs processing in China or Asia could mean that UK supply chains will need to adapt quickly. The old adage holds firm: don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Supply chain diversification, such as looking beyond Asia, helps mitigate the risks of disruption. 

Competition heating up 

Huge demand and restricted supply mean that the UK, in competition with other countries, is having to build new supply chains and forge new trade relationships, dealing with trust, fraud issues and a host of other risks in the process. 

The WHO estimates 89 million, 76 million examination gloves and 1.6 million goggles are required each month for the COVID-19 response. 

Rapid Fire Logistics has also been required to adapt, starting last year as an all in one Logistics provider we have adapted to supply our customers with a range of PPE, as challenging as this has been we are well placed to utilise our skills in Logistics to source and deliver quality goods.  

Contact us for our diversified solutions. 

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