Global price hikes and shipping delays hit local businesses hard
SANTA BARBARA, Calif .– A large backlog in the global supply chain has nearly tripled the time it takes to ship products overseas.
And this is the best of times.
“Anything from overseas, where it was usually eight weeks ago, is around 16 to 20 weeks, that’s what they quote,” said Alan Bleecker, President and CEO of Capitol Hardware. “It applies to just about anything. I hear it with appliances. I hear it with wood. I hear it with drywall, steel.”
NewsChannel 3-12 interviewed Bleecker in March at his Milpas Street company. At the time, a traffic jam outside of the Port of Long Beach was causing significant delays in everything from construction and plumbing to retail and design.
The cases of COVID-19 among longshoremen and a shortage of workers at the port of Long Beach last spring were partly to blame. Bleecker reports another critical shortage.
“The main difficulty I’m hearing right now is that they can’t get enough containers back to China to ship things here. So they don’t have containers to put the product in and when they do, it’s extremely expensive. “
Not only do customers face significant delays in the products they order, they are also blown away by the price, especially when it comes to stainless steel, copper, aluminum and others. metal products.
Bleecker explained the reason for the sticker shock.
“What we’re getting now are the distribution rates and the shipping rates,” Bleecker said. “They’re added to our bills and we don’t know what it might be. It’s up to 30% right now. So we get 5, 10, 15 up to 30% rates on top of that. that’s coming up and the manufacturers say, ‘That’s the way it is. This is what we are charged for, we have to pass it on.’ “
Bleecker said assembly costs are very difficult to pass on to his customers. This includes Wally Blum, president of Blum Carrillo Inc. at Carpinteria, which sees higher prices with all of its suppliers.
“The copper wire is about 100%,” Blum said. “PVC (polyvinyl chloride) has increased by 300% compared to a year ago. For example, for a two inch PVC, you would pay 70 to 80 cents per foot. We’re now at about $ 2.50. “
Blum said the inventory challenges change from day to day.
“You know, something that you think is very common like plastic boxes, for example, sometimes they can take weeks and you know they should be in stock.”
Abraham Camarillo, another Capitol Hardware customer, said he was already two weeks behind on an order. Bleecker was on the phone to help Camarillo find his product.
“It’s been about eight weeks since we placed the order. We’re just trying to reach them right now to see if we have a response, try to get it ASAP.”
Growing demand for products made in the United States has added another layer to the shipping equation. Bleecker said the good news is that high lumber prices have peaked and are starting to decline. The bad news: don’t expect the new stainless steel refrigerator you bought weeks ago, anytime soon.
“I hate being a doomsday coach, but I have to say it’s going to get worse before it gets better,” said Bleecker.
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