Will supply chain delays impact holiday shopping? Port of LA director says start buying now

Prices are jumping in large part because container ships are stranded at ports and because unloaded goods are waiting for trucks.

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Saturday, October 16, 2021
Why Port of LA director is urging you to start holiday shopping now
Prices are jumping in large part because container ships are stranded at ports and because unloaded goods are waiting for trucks, leading to mass shortages and delays.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The good news for Randy Wells, the CEO of Discount Safety Masks, is that his container with 1.9 million adult masks in it is no longer sitting in the parking lot of ships off the Port of Los Angeles.

However, Wells still can't access the container, and it's been weeks.

Due to the nation's labor shortage, it's sitting in a shipping yard that's labeled "non-deliverable."

"I've spoken with the shipping line, with the trucking companies, with the freight, everybody. Nobody can explain it ... why there's this portion of the Port of LA, the yard, that's 'non-deliverable,'" he explained.

According to Freightos - an online freight marketplace - shipping a 40-foot container from China to the West Coast cost $1,318 in October 2019.

Now, it costs more than $16,000.

Plus, in Nov. 2019, a container from China to the U.S. would take 41 days, on average, to ship. Now, it takes 75 days.

READ MORE | Port of Los Angeles going 24/7 in effort to ease supply chain bottlenecks before holidays

There have so far been no reports of major backups at the Port of Newark, but Gov. Phil Murphy says that could change.

Supply chain issues are being felt almost everywhere, including at schools.

The Los Angeles Unified School District said school meals are being impacted due to packaging, supply, and labor shortages.

In a statement, LAUSD said, "We have had to find alternatives for various products, like apple sauce, pre-made entrees and fresh-cut vegetables. Food services has deployed all staff, including the director to schools to serve meals and temporary workers have been hired where needed to support our food services staff and robust food efforts."

Goods aren't just harder to find, they're also becoming more expensive.

Gene Seroka, the executive director of the Port of L.A., told Good Morning America on Thursday that shoppers will find the goods they're looking for this holiday season, but urges them to start looking now.

"Let's do it a little bit early," he said. "Look online. See how long it's going to take to deliver the goods, maybe this weekend. Let's go to the store and see what the products look like so we can get holiday gifts for friends and family."