The supply voltage: the story of these container ships swaying off the coast | Local news

You might want to add patience and flexibility to your Christmas shopping list this year. And have a plan B in case it doesn’t work out.

By Tuesday, a record 100 container ships were waiting off the coast of Long Beach and Los Angeles to load and unload, and 45 more were en route. There are usually 17 ships in line.

All of this affects the supply chain, and Green Valley and Sahuarita are feeling it.

Advice from local businesses? When you see something, buy it. If you need to order it, do it now, but understand it may not get through quickly or at all. Everything from golf clubs to sewing machines is affected. Some companies said they had been looking at it for more than a year.

The bottlenecks are mainly caused by a variety of supply chain issues triggered by COVID job restrictions, staff cuts and plant closings, among others.

Consumers are at the mercy of the market, with soaring gasoline and food prices, seaports, shortages of truck drivers, overcrowded warehouses, higher postal rates, layoffs of workers and the added offense of bad weather.

“Large retailers expect strong Christmas sales but have warned of limited inventory, longer delivery times, labor shortages and fewer discounts,” Morgan Stanley economists said in a recent statement to investors.

Local retailers hardest hit include goods from Asia. Most golf clubs are made in China, which is suffering from a number of economic challenges including a power shortage related to coal shortages.

Around 90 percent of the major sewing machine brands are manufactured in Asia today, and many high-end models are subject to residues in microchip production – the same shortage also affects vehicles.

“We anticipate a delay of at least six weeks in getting anything from China,” said Gary Adkins, a Pro-Shop representative at Quail Creek Country Club. Golf bags, including those from Asia, are also difficult to come by, he said.

“Getting something before Christmas when it is floating from a major port of entry is completely risky.”

Some popular products have completely disappeared, such as the Okey sporting goods line including golf towels, a bestseller, said merchandising manager Tanya Wiley. “We can’t find the seller anywhere.”

Whenever she discovers gaps in the inventory, she goes straight to the dealer to see what is available at that moment.

“Whatever you tell me, I’ll order it that day. I have a lot of stuff coming in October so I’m not worried yet. Spring things I’m hoping for in January. I hear this is going to be harder to come by. The materials should be in China now so they can be processed, but they are closed. “

If so, the stock of feathers could also be restricted.

Artist idle

On a smaller scale, but also devoid of a popular product, Sue’s Creative Coyote Shop is in Continental Plaza that sells eclectic handmade decorations, jewelry, gift soaps, and new clothes. Hand-crafted clay candlesticks, which are perfect for burning candles during the holidays, are great at this time of year.

A Minnesota artist she met at a trade show made raw materials from Mexico hard to come by, so they are limited to the half-dozen or so that are left, shop owner Sue Simmons said. There were also delays on arrival for cups from the south of the border.

Most of the inventory is made in California, where choices are limited due to health issues from manufacturers.

She hopes the 2020 holidays won’t repeat themselves as business fell 75 percent due to many closings in general and people being isolated.

“I pre-ordered, but artists see material shortages,” she said.

Most sewing machines now come from Japan, Vietnam, Taiwan, and Thailand, with most, if not all, having delivery issues, said owner Donny Cathey, who opened his third Cathey’s Sewing & Vacuum facility in Tucson, Sahuarita three years ago.

Container shippers are affected by increases in fuel costs, and the cost per container has increased by up to 100 percent compared to previous years, he said. Depending on its contents and destination, a 40-foot container that once cost about $ 2,500 to ship can now cost as much as $ 30,000, he said.

In the current truck market, drivers charge anything they want. When a load reaches a warehouse, “it is basically a nightmare”.

Overall, the products cost 6 to 10 percent more, he estimates.

In 2020, its three stores suffered a combined loss of $ 600,000, in part due to a weak fourth quarter when they usually attend large merchandising shows that have been canceled due to COVID. However, thanks to strong sales, they have made up the deficit and this year is on the up; The biggest show of the season is back this year, and Cathey’s will have 39 of its 140 booths as the main sponsor.

“There has been a very large influx of young people turning to this hobby,” said Cathey. “As bad as it was, it was a very busy time. We could hardly keep any in stock. “

Golf shop

In the San Ignacio Golf Club business, the supply chain situation “definitely has an impact on how we receive our goods,” said Ronnie Black, director of golf.

“Some arrive little by little, some reordered, but we’re seeing a little improvement,” he said.

“We have bats, clothes, balls, gloves, towels and gifts such as beverage cups. We never know if we will get (something) or in what time frame. Sometimes we order clothes six months in advance and learn it could be another month. We have been told that it is best to keep a seat in line when we want to take orders. “

“I have realized that not only are frontline workers affected, but factories are being closed and items just not being shipped,” he said. “We tell our customers, ‘If you see something you want, go get it.'”

A recent strike of 10,000 workers for the Midwestern John Deere tractor company, fed up with months of work due to COVID-related labor shortages, makes Steve Kirk, an employee at Green Valley’s Haven Golf Course, a little nervous. The course already has a shortage of spare parts for maintenance equipment, as well as clothing and golf balls.

“Like everyone else, we’re waiting on the ships,” said Kirk. “It’s kind of a domino thing, when one piece is out of whack, everything is out of whack.”

Few local retailers have reported large empty shelf deployments, although most are seeing changes coming.

Read the sign

In January, Green Valley Ace Hardware owners Marie and Michael McAuliffe posted a notice in the store entitled “America’s New Destination.” It reads: WHATEVER WE CAN GET, WHEN WE CAN GET IT, AT ANY PRICE, IN WHAT CONDITION IT IS, FROM WHOM WE CAN GET IT WITHOUT ANY FUTURE. “

“We approach everything inventory-related as if it were the first time because the way we did things in the past no longer exists,” said Marie.

Native Gardens plant nursery and retail gifts that include items from 20 countries are seeing some supply chain implications but are working on it, said owner Harry March.

Talavera Pottery requires about a year of waiting, longer than usual, but it is made on a contract basis with a 20% overrun due to breaks or defects, but he can get the overburning whenever he wants. Everything from India is more of a bitch because of the overseas shipping.

“I’ve waited three to four months for some things,” said March. All other countries are pretty well overtaken. “

Customers looking for wildflower seeds may be unlucky due to the lack of rain last spring in the areas where the seeds are produced, he said.

Patti Sherman, manager of the Nancy Pantz Boutique on Continental Road, thinks the store is lucky because it mainly comes from the USA or Canada. Some jewelry from Guatemala were more difficult to come by, expected three months ago but are only now arriving due to delays in container ships. Items from Vietnam and Turkey are hard to come by; The delivery of fabrics was delayed because of factories closing due to COVID, she noted.

“We encourage customers to buy fall and winter clothes when they see them because we cannot guarantee they will see them again. (Orders) were slow but could wear off a bit, ”she said. “The thing is, food, everything is affected worldwide.”

If you want to give away books as a gift, you should know that a wood shortage this summer impacted paper pulp and cardboard supplies, the latter of which are keen to make shipping boxes for online orders. There are also few physical facilities domestically that can actually print books, and some went bankrupt during the pandemic.

No problem for Green Valley booksellers.

“So far, book orders are flowing,” says Diane Sevick, owner of The Book Shop on Esperanza Boulevard. She needs to order at least 15 boxes from a particular warehouse, but they don’t all have to be the same book, but that’s pretty standard. For them, the store has no seasonal problems.

Then what is in all the freighters that rock in the seaports? “Auto parts,” said Sevick. “I’m trying to buy a new car.”

At Quail Run Books just around the corner, owners Duane and Kari Johnson have “more than ever,” he said of their inventory of used books. “If someone wants a new book, we try to order it again. But when pre-ordering books we encountered unavailability (but) at this point we have no problem. Not to say we won’t, but based on our business model, we don’t think this is a problem. “

First choice a bust? He suggests giving away gift certificates and sending a selection from their new line of greeting cards, which comes with bookmarks, to the bibliophiles on your list.

What owners of the popular watch and wonder shop experience above all are slower deliveries, said Helena Pedersen, who runs the Sahuarita branch on Duval Mine Road with her husband Ken.

“We don’t have a lot of goods and the post is a little slower, but we can handle it,” said Helena. “We have to explain it to our customers, but most understand and know that it’s going on everywhere. What used to take three or four days now takes more than a week. “

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