Congestion at West Coast Ports: What Could It Mean for Holiday Shipping?

By November 7, 2014 Logistics News

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Right now on the West Coast, the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have been enduring a shipping bottleneck for the past several weeks. There has been so much shipping volume coming into the ports that the workers and equipment can’t seem to keep up with the pace. For the ports that handle about 40% of U.S. imports combined, that could mean a lot for the upcoming holiday shopping season.

While those of us further inland may not even know about this logistics nightmare, we certainly could feel the effects of it eventually. It’s early November, and the holiday shopping season is just weeks away. With so many goods tied up in port, some have questioned whether warehouses and stores will be stocked in time for the flood of in-store and e-commerce holiday purchases.

Some have estimated that products moving through the ports have taken an extra 7-10 days to get off the ships and onto trucks and trains. That extra delay can be huge for retailers that rely on the Holidays for a large portion of their yearly sales.

Retailers and shippers will obviously see delays, but what does this mean for consumers? Depending on what you may be shopping for this Holiday season, you may find in-demand items out of stock. Depending on how severe shortages are, prices may rise for some items, but this will depend greatly on the item in question and how delayed the shipments are.

Hopefully we won’t have to worry too much. Since early last month, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have been taking steps to help lessen the severity of the congestion, such as finding more truck chassis and finding places to store containers in order to clear space on the dock. Some shippers have also diverted to other non-congested ports such as Oakland in the mean time.

However, the congestion does not show any sign of ending soon. There’s no doubt that Los Angeles and Long Beach along with other major ports will be taking note of the problem and will find away to avoid having it happen again next year.

Until then, if you have any questions or concerns about shipping and logistics, feel free to contact TAGG! We specialize in shipping solutions for small and medium sized businesses who either need shipping to retailers or direct to consumers. We work extensively with online retailers, making the ordering, fulfillment, and shipping processes seamless and fast. Give us a call today at 1-866-991-TAGG.