Oct, 08 2021

The LA ports are congested with boats waiting to offload for weeks, order early to avoid significant delays…

I’m sure that most of you are aware of the tremendous delays for sea freight deliveries, but may not be aware as to why. I can’t speak for all the ports, but I have 1st hand knowledge as to the reason for the slowdown at the Los Angeles port. Firstly, the COVID pandemic shutdown and slow reopening’s limited the port’s ability to offload at the same efficiency. Then, because of a lack of workers for both inside the port and for truck drivers to haul the containers away, container vessels are parked just offshore for miles and miles just waiting patiently for their turn to enter the port and unload. These delays have been going on for over a year, and it doesn’t look like it’s easing up any time soon. As you can see from the attached images, there are boats just sitting offshore queued up, some as far off as 40 miles from port, waiting in line like a traffic jam on the freeway. Even when boats make it in to the port, it’s still taking a much longer time to unload and head back to pick up more product.

All this is to say, whatever it is you regularly purchase, or have been planning to buy, you need to place your orders much earlier than usual and be patient. Lead times are much longer than usual, so if you can’t wait, maybe you can be flexible on the specifications and opt to bridge the gap with an item similar to what you need. For instance, we had some extremely cold items that were sitting in our warehouse since 2018 that we couldn’t sell. It wasn’t that the product was defective, it’s just because it was a special order that got canceled and didn’t match anyone else’s needs. Well, desperate times calls for desperate measures. Due to shortages, customers that weren’t interested before were all too happy to take that 2018 inventory. To them and their customers, it didn’t matter if it didn’t look like what they usually bought, they just need something that worked. There you have it, compromise at its best.

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