The partial government shutdown that began in late December of 2018 is quite different then other shutdowns that have occurred in the past. This one will have little immediate impact on the day to day of professionals within the supply chain industry. Washington’s weekly release of average diesel prices from the Energy Information Agency (EIA) that is utilized by these professionals is typically impacted by a shutdown however, on September 21, 2018 the Department of Energy was funded after a bill was signed by the President.
Unlike the Department of Energy, the US Department of transportation has not yet received funding for 2019 which could potential cause issues if a shutdown continues. Items that may see an impact are the rulemaking around new Hours of Service proposals from the Federal Motor Carrier Administration along with approval on customs clearances. In order for freight to cross border, cargo must be approved by particular government agencies that work directly with the CBP (Custom and Border Protection). Because the CBP is included in the US Department of Homeland Security, it will not be funded although customs officers will be deemed “essential personnel”. Agencies such as U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will both remain closed during the shutdown which will cause continuous delays as they partner with the CBP as well.
If this latest shutdown continues for longer then two weeks, delays and disruptions will begin to become more and more apparent as postponements with freight crossing the border will build up. FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) will also continue to be shut down, so carriers may see secondary impacts there.