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A new shipment of facemasks arriving in Liege, Belgium, on March 23. Photo: Vincent Kalut / Photonews via Getty Images

The backup in global supply chains plus a manufacturing and transportation sector already weakened by the U.S.-China trade war are combining to slow the rate of goods deliveries to nearly double their normal times.

What's happening: "Freight carriers are struggling to deliver goods by land, sea or air as the coronavirus pandemic forces Western governments to impose lockdowns, threatening supplies of vital products including medicines into the most affected areas, such as Italy," Reuters reports.

  • "Problems ranging from finding enough truck drivers to restrictions on seafarers and a lack of air freight are hitting the smooth flow of goods, freight logistics operators say."
  • "Stockpiling and panic buying by consumers are also adding to strains."

The big picture: Air cargo shipments had been declining since early 2019, and 75% of U.S. companies surveyed by the Institute for Supply Management said two weeks ago their supply chains already had been upended, with most expecting disruptions to continue.

  • The coronavirus outbreak that moved from China at the beginning of the year to Europe and then the Americas has meant significant delays transporting key goods such as medicines and perishable foods.

What they're saying: "Supply chain disruption has moved rapidly from east to west," Mohammed Esa, chief commercial officer for Europe with global logistics group Agility, told Reuters.

  • "What you could normally move in two or three days is going to take twice as long — you have to still get it through the airport, you have put it on a truck and get it through borders."

What's next: Boeing announced a full work stoppage in Seattle and GE laid off employees making jet engines, per the Wall Street Journal, while major U.S. airlines are discussing putting a stop to all passenger flights.

Go deeper: The coronavirus economy will devastate those who can least afford it

Go deeper

35 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Congress hunts for shortcut to pass defense funding, debt limit combo

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer returned to his office Monday. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The scramble in Congress to pass the National Defense Authorization Act is being complicated by an effort to tie it to a needed hike in the federal debt limit.

Why it matters: The House and Senate are rapidly coming up against a series of deadlines they must address before the end of the year — or risk disrupting crucial military funding and upending the economy. Congressional leaders are now hoping they can knock out both "must-pass" priorities in one, complex swoop.

Scoop: Inside Jake Sullivan's call with U.S. hostages' families

Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

National security adviser Jake Sullivan spoke last week with relatives of U.S. hostages and others wrongfully detained abroad, after more than two dozen families expressed frustrations about their inability to get a meeting with him or President Biden, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Participants on the video call, which began at 7pm ET Friday and lasted more than an hour, told Axios they didn't get satisfactory answers to many of their questions. Nonetheless, they were encouraged by Sullivan's commitment to follow up and pledge to be personally available to them and others going forward.

1 hour ago - World

Biden huddles with European allies on Ukraine ahead of Putin call

Putin in the Kremlin. Photo: Grigory Sysoyev/Sputnik via Getty

President Biden will seek to convince Russia's Vladimir Putin in a phone call Tuesday that the price of invading Ukraine would be steeper than anything he's faced in the past.

Driving the news: Biden held a call on Ukraine this evening with the leaders of France, Germany, Italy and the U.K., while Secretary of State Tony Blinken called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to offer America's "unwavering support."

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