Supply Chain crunch threatens holiday shopping lists

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (WDEF) – It’s not even Halloween yet, but to avoid disappointment in the month of December, experts are urging consumers to start shopping now. Due to supply chain shortages and major delays at ports, experts say that many retailers will struggle to fill an overwhelming amount of Christmas orders this year – leaving your holiday giftless.

As a result of recent power cuts in China, an international shipping logjam, and a backup of thousands of ships waiting to be unloaded at American ports – logistics experts predict that this holiday shopping season may be a disappointing one for retailers, consumers, and their families.

“With the United States so dependent upon China in terms of production that when they make decisions it impacts everybody around the world. There are significant supply chain challenges due to so much production vs the amount of freight capacity that’s available. There isn’t enough capacity at the port themselves to offload the containers. There simply aren’t enough cranes to offload the containers that are sitting on those ships,” says Craig Fuller, CEO of Freightwaves. 

Another disappointing realization could be on Black Friday. With so many ships stuck in ports, waiting to be offloaded, logistics experts say this Black Friday may not be as exciting as in years past.

“Retailers typically want most of their product into their distribution centers by the end of October so they can have them in by Black Friday. Some of those ships are at least a month away from even being able to get into the port. If you are a month out, you are not going to make the Christmas peak season. Anything that’s out there on the ocean right now is likely to miss the deadline,” says Fuller. 

Chattanooga gift shop “Locals Only,” says they are aware of the shipping delays and have been planned ahead for this holiday season.

“We shop local and we only sell locally here in our stores so we are shielded and not dependent on those containers that come into the ports. We realize that some of our vendors and makers may have shortages themselves whether it be packaging or ingredients so we have ordered early and are getting things in right now so we will have a full store to shop from and ship from this Christmas,” says Terri Stubblefield, Employee at Locals Only.

Though the pandemic has made us dependent on online shopping, experts suggest going back to in-person shopping if you want a  guarantee this holiday season. Leaving the store with items in hand might be the only way to guarantee a Merry Christmas. 


Categories: Business, Hamilton County, Local News