We recently received two letters from two of our major manufacturers explaining why some items continue to be delays without their ability to provide us solid information as to when they'll be come available.
Here is a synopsis of one of the messages we received.
As we are experiencing unprecedented delays in shipment, your patience in response to shipment delays is challenged. We understand your frustration and is striving to supply our customers’ needs in a timely manner, but our efforts to meet your expectations are hindered by many factors that are unfortunately not within our control. Last year, the pandemic and nationwide lockdowns decreased U.S. consumer spending drastically and slowed down our economy significantly. However, we experienced a huge economic rebound after COVID-19 lockdowns ended, which caused consumer spending to increase exponentially and imports from Asia to the U.S. to spike 41.1% in the first six months of 2021.
This shift in our economy brought changes to our supply and demand system that the U.S. was not equipped to handle. The increase in imports has caused a congestion of shipment vessels bottlenecked at the busiest U.S. seaports like Los Angeles Terminal and Long Beach Terminal, preventing them from docking and unloading shipment in the usual timeframe. Vessels are forced to anchor at sea, waiting for dock space for days longer than ever before. At times, as many as 40 vessels are waiting in line at sea for a berthing space.
The delay to move cargo and clear up dock space for new vessels to berth are being caused by excessive container dwell times at the ports. Heavily loaded containers on the dock are not being picked up quickly enough because our delivery system is facing challenges never-before-experienced. Our rail and road systems do not have sufficient cars and vehicles to transport the imports.
The labor force - ship’s crews, dockworkers, customs agents, truckers, railroad workers, distribution warehouse workers, sales teams - that moves the cargo is decreased due to the impact of COVID. Distribution centers and warehouses are at full capacity to receive or store any more cargo. Vast stacks of empty containers are sitting at the terminals waiting to be returned overseas. All of these factors are straining and burdening the logistics chain to deliver goods to consumers. Our business is one of the thousands of businesses adversely impacted. Unfortunately, we anticipate that the congestion at these marine ports will not get better any time in our near future.