West Coast Slowdowns Affect Holiday Season Shipments

Over the past two months, freight shipping has been slowed down in Los Angeles and Long Beach ports. Shipments have been stuck outside theses ports, some even waiting days before getting the chance to dock. The delays have only gotten worse over the past month, and many factors are blamed for the slow movement of shipments. Large ship sizes straining capacity of the ports, increasingly large amounts of goods, shortage of trucks to haul cargo, and changes in the local rail traffic. The contract talks between the International Longshare and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association have also been brought into question, as the Union is accused of purposely staging slowdowns to gain collective bargaining.
The jams have forced some shippers to redirect their incoming goods via air travel. Sales have even slowed down due to the shrinking amount of deliveries available. Uncertainty is holding businesses hostage as stores and business owners have no idea when or even if their shipments will come in. With the coming holiday season, business owners are concerned there may a drop in sales during this crucial time of year. Some businesses rely on the holiday season to even fiscally survive. Fear of stranded shipments has prompted changes in preparing for the coming holidays.
Despite the delays most imported goods have found their way to retailers. In anticipation of holiday delays, shippers have resorted to sending many goods ahead of schedule. This has caused most retailers to already have their required holiday shipments, and business appears to be unaffected and running smoothly. The most at risk items for shipment shortages appear to be the “must have” and “best-selling” toys. Despite the holiday season appearing to go according to plan though, it may be best to get all the shopping done a bit early this year.