Bottlenecks and thin capacity

Aslak Berge

A fiery market offers opportunities – and threats.

Shortages of microchips, containers, coal and natural gas. Sluggish water reservoirs and sky-high electricity prices. There are queues at petrol stations, pubs and emergency rooms. Bottlenecks on transportation and deficits of truck drivers. Scarcity of goods and crew.

We read about it in the media every day.

Inflation shock and imbalance. Demand exceeds supply. We came from a nightmare crisis. And have gone straight into a boom.

Comment: Aslak Berge

Shortly after the mass vaccination was completed, the economic reopening came on suddenly. Shortly after all companies slashed staff numbers, the same employers quickly went from hibernation and straight into a feverish market.

The symptoms show up in this industry in the form of record exports of salmon – three straight weeks in a row. Now, the salmon industry has not been among the industries hardest hit by Covid-19, but with the reopening of the HoReCa segment, it is noticeable that the overall salmon market has put in a good deal compared to the levels before the pandemic.

Without high feeding throughout the summer and autumn and, as a direct consequence of this abundant biomass, salmon prices would have risen to record levels.

And when there is a shortage of goods, there is usually also a shortage of people. Hotels, restaurants, slaughterhouses, fish exporters, online news service and equipment suppliers are all experiencing the same problem – a shortage of skilled labour. In the last month, SalmonBusiness has been running 40 and 50 job advertisements a week – which is unusually high.

It has lead to a scramble for talent. But it’s not necessarily about the having the very best. Now it’s about getting people just to keep the wheels in motion – and getting the products delivered to a market that is always calling for more.

Photo: Steve Hernes

It is the employee’s market. Seller’s market. Anyone who has a product or expertise to sell.

The buyer must turn up – and bear the risk of not getting the goods and expertise delivered. The risk of misappropriation is screaming, but it is not high on the agenda at the moment.

Scarcity of labor and goods gives rise to wage and price pressures. Inflation implies growth and upswing, and, as a function of that, higher interest rates.

One must, as everyone knows, have a strong back to carry good times.

Photo: Steve Hernes

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