LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — There’s a backup at sea you should know about because it could affect what you’re buying.
The growing crisis at major container ports on both coasts is causing shipping delays and supply shortages. That means some of what you want to buy and is not in the stores could be inside those containers.
The pandemic has caused a mess of the global supply chain which has now become a headache for local businesses and customers in NEPA.
Local businesses can’t seem to stock their shelves. But why? David Voitek, the co-owner of Voitek TV & Appliances in Exeter says one reason is demand. The other? Stores can’t get the product in.
“I’ve never seen this before and it’s unprecedented,” said Voitek.
Voitek says he’s missing items on the floor all over the store.
“Even the high-end stuff, which you would think would be readily available. We have refrigerators that are $12,000 dollars that we can’t get. I just placed an order for one the other day and it’s not going to be available until May,” explained Voitek.
The TV & appliance shop is getting multiple deliveries daily but the trucks aren’t full. That’s because precious goods and supplies are sitting idle for days on the East and West Coast.
That backup trickles down affecting this furniture shop in Forty Fort.
“Mostly the furniture industry is having a problem with imports in being backed up at the ports,” explained Ronne Kurlancheek, Owner of Kurlancheek Home Furnishings.
Kurlancheek says the problem doesn’t stop there. Once her orders are unloaded from the ships she says it’ll take another 4 to 6 weeks to reach her store.
“Because there are no truck drivers, so the chain just goes on and on and on,” said Kurlancheek.
The truck driver shortage isn’t new. It’s been going for at least four years. But the pandemic made it much worse.
“There is nothing I can do to get that furniture to me faster,” stated Kurlancheek.
When it comes to shipping delays and supply shortages customers are feeling the pinch. So what do businesses do when shipping hits the fan?
“Every day we’re on the phone with our manufacturers trying to find out when products can be available,” stated Voitek.
The TV & appliance shop is being proactive with its supply. Their warehouse holds thousands of appliances and they receive multiple shipments daily.
Kurlancheek says she’s watched the supply chain issue grow since 2020, “it started probably in May of last year it just got worse and worse.”
Right now customers who made custom orders or bought products not available in store are waiting months to see their order.
“My customers who had to wait 4 to 8 weeks for a special order are now waiting 6 to 10 months,” stated Kurlancheek.
“If they want a specific product yes we would order it for them,” said Voitek.
However, you’re going to have to wait so if you need a couch or refrigerator in a hurry best advice is to consider buying what’s in stock. With items stuck in transit, there’s no end to the delays in sight.