(NEW YORK) — The backup of container ships off the coast of major ports of entry has greatly slowed the nation’s supply chain, prompting new possible workarounds ahead of the busy holiday retail season.
Many shipping companies and retailers have struggled recently with the massive backlog of goods and soon consumers could bear the brunt of higher prices.
The onslaught of manufacturing and cargo disruptions has threatened shipping delays and epic shortages for in-demand products and retail experts have urged consumers to start holiday shopping now.
“We’re witnessing a pandemic-induced buying surge by the American consumer, the likes of which we’ve never seen,” Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, told Good Morning America.
The downward spiral first started when COVID-19-induced shutdowns in Asia drove shipping and production delays. That created shortages in shipping containers and was compounded by limited warehouse space, trucking issues and labor shortages.
“There are shortages across a number of industries, perhaps nowhere more acutely so than in front-line workers such as port workers and truck drivers,” Aaron Terrazas, convy director of economic research, explained to GMA.
Now large retailers like Costco, Walmart and Home Depot have started to take matters into their own hands by renting out their own shipping containers and looking for different ports of entry.
More container freights that would typically enter through Long Beach are being redirected to Oakland, Vancouver, Savannah or Houston, in order to circumvent the delays.
While it could take upwards of a month to continue to untangle the global mess, port officials in Long Beach said they have extended operating hours, including working weekends.
And experts reiterated a now resounding message to start shopping the holiday season early.
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