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US shoe buyers face port congestion

US ports are reportedly experiencing difficulties in meeting demand.

Image © Eric Garcetti

Reports suggest that record levels of port congestion and container shortages around the USA could cause significant problems for footwear brand owners and retailers. During the pandemic, a degree of consumer spending has shifted away from services towards tangible items such as shoes, homeware and apparel. Business analysts have suggested that the demand for imports has resulted in increased lead times and higher freight costs. The Californian ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which are said to account for almost 50 per cent of the United States’ imports from Asia, are currently dealing with record-breaking volumes as retailers try to restock due to increased consumer demand.

One problem for importers is a ‘container imbalance’, with too many of them standing empty in the USA and too few located in Asia waiting to be loaded. A second issue is the previously-mentioned congestion at the US ports, and a third reported difficulty is the growth in consumer demand, which is affecting the ports’ ability to catch up with the backlog. Current shipping lead times are said to have been extended by an average of three to four weeks, with some companies expecting revenue from the end of the first quarter to slip into the beginning of the second quarter as a result of logistical delays. Experts suggest that this situation could take several months to return to normal.

Publishing Data

This article was originally published on page 3 of the April 2021 issue of SATRA Bulletin.

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