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U.S. shipping backlog affects Lake Area businesses, buyers

Ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach, California, account for 40% of all shipping containers...
Ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach, California, account for 40% of all shipping containers entering the U.S. As of Monday, there were 62 ships berthed at the two ports and 81 waiting to dock and unload, according to the Marine Exchange of Southern California.(Source: CNN)
Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 8:40 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - On Wednesday, the Biden Administration addressed the logjam of consumer products stuck at U.S. ports on the East and West coast, affecting everything from toys and apparel to electronics and furniture.

“With the Holidays coming up, you may be wondering if gifts you buy online will arrive on time,” President Joe Biden asked in a Wednesday news conference.

The Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California are expanding to 24/7 operations - along with some of the nation’s biggest retailers, which are keeping their doors open longer. It’s all to alleviate a shipping bottleneck leading to rising prices and a shortage of supplies. During the holidays, this could be a big problem for local buyers as they play the waiting game on their shipments.

“Sometimes it’s just like a couple of days or in some cases it’s been like 2 weeks,” online shopper, Heather Rashall said.

“It gets slower and slower honestly,” Malerie Parker, manager at Changing Spaces Furniture Store said.

“Issues with footwear - certain key items,” owner of Accessory Zone, Rhonda Kleckley said. “We’ve had problems with container items like there’s certain candle lines that are having problems with glass and plastic. So with that, we just revamped and did a different container, a different vessel; but I’ve heard people who have had problems with that - just waiting until the last minute.”

A decision that could be fatal for businesses like Accessory Zone relying on profitable seasonal sale, which is why they planned ahead.

“We purchased Christmas in January, right after Christmas,” Kleckley said. “We’ve already bought all of our Mardi Gras and already started on Easter and Spring of next year.”

The backlog is affecting other businesses that are shipping larger freight or custom upholstery.

“Those are the things that are taking longer with production,” Parker said. “I guess because there’s material shortages, there’s work shortages and it just kind of snowballs.”

Businesses like Changing Spaces are worried they won’t be able to meet demand during the holidays.

“We were supposed to start putting Christmas stuff up by now,” Parker said. “They were supposed to ship September 15th and there’s stuff that’s still on back order that they haven’t received yet.”

“Things that we could get in 2 days time before, we have to really plan ahead,” Rashall said.

In addition, The nation’s three largest package delivery services are out with their holiday shipping deadlines.

The recommended final shipping days for the U.S. Postal Service, FedEx and UPS are pretty much the same as they were in 2019 and 2020. For the UPS three-day select delivery and FedEx three-day freight arriving by Dec. 24, you need to ship your items by Dec. 21. For U.S. Postal Service retail ground delivery arriving before Dec. 25, you should ship by Dec. 15. But even if you meet the deadlines, you could see late packages due to the ongoing pandemic and global supply chain disruptions.

Also, the Postal Service made changes at the beginning of October that slow down service.

They also tacked on a temporary holiday price increase.

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