ORANGE CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — Port officials in California said an unexpected two million loaded containers have departed cargo ships over the last 15 months, causing an unprecedented backlog for American imports that includes playground equipment heading to Orange City, Iowa.
Colby Vlietstra and Laura Jeltema were watching their kids play on bouncy houses in the City Hall gym one winter when they saw there was a significant need for their community.
“Why don’t we have a designated place or a designated business that would allow you to bring your kids, play as much as you want to, especially during the yucky winter months,” said Vlietstra.
Two years later, the two friends have turned their dream into a reality as they’re in the process of starting “KinderZone”, an indoor playground available for parents and babysitters to bring their kids to play during winter.
What was planned to be ready in October has been significantly delayed due to major issues happening at shipping ports in California. In fact, Colby and Laura said their equipment has sat on a literal slow boat from china for months now, but they finally received good news last week.
“We were so excited to get it going sooner but now that, hopefully we have somewhat of a timeline. Yeah, getting a date was really exciting,” Vlietstra and Jeltema said.
The date they received from their shipping provider made them optimistic KinderZone could be up and running before the end of the year, as the equipment is expected to finally arrive shortly after Thanksgiving.
The supply chain issues that Vliestra and Jeltema are facing come at a time when Congress is exploring options over a bipartisan bill calling for ocean shipping reform, but it still may take time before operations are back to pre-pandemic normalcy.
“We are using every tool in the executive toolbox to do everything we can to work the kinks out of the supply chain,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Gina Raimondo.
The Biden Administration has announced the port of Los Angeles will begin operating 24 hours a day in hopes that will clear up the long line of ships and speed up the process for importers like KinderZone.