Cost of Living·Full Episode

From boat blockages to bike shortages — and whether real estate love letters work

The Suez Canal is open again — but it's raised the question of what Canada's potential pain points are in a globalized supply chain. And one of those pain points could also be a lack of storage containers to actually get goods in and out of the country. Plus do letters to home sellers really get buyers anywhere?

The Cost of Living for April 11, 2021

A container ship sails at the now un-blocked Suez Canal on March 31, 2021. (Suez Canal Authority/Reuters)
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Our pandemic shopping spree has created huge demand for shipping containers — otherwise known as sea cans.

Cargo ships are racing to transport goods as fast as they can from Asia and certain items, such as bikes, are fighting to find space on board.

But it also means Canadian goods, such as lentils, can't get a spot for the return trip to Asia either.

Executive producer Tracy Johnson talks with host Paul Haavarsrud about just what's happening — and why your problem in finding a bike is actually a boat problem.

The trend of "real estate love letters" is popping back up as Canada's housing market continues to surge in prices. But does an old fashioned <<billet-doux>> to your potential home seller actually work? Perhaps the only words that matter in a bidding war the ones that come with dollar signs and additional zeros — namely, money.

Senior producer Jennifer Keene looks at the written rhetorical tool some Canadians are using to get the house they want.

That big boat that was stuck in the Suez Canal exposed some of the weaknesses in how goods get moved around the planet.

But what changes now that it's free, and what are Canada's potential pain points in a globalized supply chain?

Host Paul Haavardsrud talks to a Canadian maritime pilot about what can go wrong on cargo ships, and to international trade expert Werner Antweiler of the University of British Columbia about where Canada fits in on international trade matters.

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