Local farmers feeling effects of international shipping delays

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PLAINS TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The supply chain bottleneck at the ports continues to impact retailers and businesses, putting a lot of items in short supply or delayed.

And the problem could extend into next spring. Now farmers in our area are also experiencing the effects of those backlogs.

It’s nearing the end of the fall sales season at Larry O’Malia’s farm stand and greenhouse in Plains Township.
But overdue deliveries are just arriving.

“A lot of my ornamental things like scarecrows and maple tree leaves, very much ornamental decorative type stuff, and I received it today… I’ll be storing probably 90 percent of it for next year,” O’Malia said.

It’s all thanks to international shipping delays. Major U.S. ports are backlogged and cargo ships are spending weeks idle at sea. As a result, O’Malia says the third-generation family business lost out on sales.

“All of those nice little trinkets that go with selling the mums and selling the pumpkins… We just didn’t have it to work with this year,” O’Malia said.

But the year isn’t over, and there could be more delays, this time for the holiday season. O’Malia’s was advised by suppliers to prepare for a similar situation.

“I was notified that probably about 35 percent of the pinecones and ornamentals used for embellishing wreaths and grave blankets and logs is sitting in a ship out in the Pacific Ocean,” O’Malia said.

And the problem is so bad, O’Malia’s is being told spring bulbs are stuck on cargo ships as well. And that means an Easter season with fewer flowers.

“The tulips, hyacinths and daffodil bulbs that come from the Netherlands, they are actually sitting out in the Atlantic, waiting to get to dock,” O’Malia said.

Despite the challenges, O’Malia is keeping a positive outlook and placing orders early.

“I am hoping that all those little pieces that we use to make it work really really well, I hope they’re all here,” O’Malia said.

Some of the most delayed shipping ports are now operating 24 hours a day to ease the backlog.

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