SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – Ports along the California coast are experiencing record backlog as cargo ships wait to dock, which could change your holiday shopping.
The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach handle 40% of inbound containers to the United States. With an ongoing supply chain bottleneck in the Pacific, this holiday season is turning into a challenge for both shoppers and retail outlets.
Factories shutdown by the pandemic, port closures, and a shortage of shipping containers all leading to a backlog of container vessels in Southern California. Just 73 days before Christmas, Siouxland businesses are finding it difficult to maintain a supply of goods for the holiday season.
So, we’ve been kind of on top of it as best as we can, but it’s a real thing right now. We’re really struggling right now trying to get everything,” said Bomgaars CEO Torrey Wingert.
“We did listen to our suppliers when they told us that we probably would have a problem not only just getting the product, but get it delivered to us. We ordered way back in March and April. Some of the items we would normally get in September, we got back in July,” said Domingo Torres, the owner of Thinker Toys.
Wingert said the supply chain issues are not a new problem.
“Starting even six, nine months ago, we really ramped up purchasing. So we’ve got more inventory in our distribution center and our stores than we typically would have, because we had no guarantees of what we could get,” said Wingert.
Getting product into Sioux City has its own challenges, with costs ballooning in 2021.
“Prices a year ago were about $6,000 to bring a container in from China into Sioux City. Now, we’re anywhere from 20 to 25 to $26,000,” Wingert said.
Although President Biden announced the Port of Los Angeles will begin operating 24/7 to ease the bottleneck, Torres sees the issue persisting.
“I don’t think this is going to go away anytime soon. So we are already planning for, matter of fact, we have plans for next spring,” said Torres.
Wingert is warning shoppers to be proactive when it comes to looking for that perfect gift.
“Don’t wait till the last minute to come in and buy Christmas gifts, if you’re really looking for something because it could be coming in December instead of by Black Friday,” Wingert urges.
According to Wingert, there are more than 150 container vessels waiting to unload cargo in Southern California, which equates to roughly two million containers sitting offshore.