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Shipping Crisis Hurting All Industries
In my house, we are a family of board gamers. We dedicate certain nights of the week to playing board games and often get together with friends who share our passion. Pre-pandemic we were even attending a community game day at our local library.
We have a large and ever-increasing collection of games, but these days it seems to be growing at a slower pace. It’s not because we’re buying less, but because games are taking longer to arrive in stores.
After COVID-19 shutdown manufacturing in China, there was a pent-up demand to ship products out once ready. And that demand hasn't let up. In addition, the pandemic isn't over. When cases spike, ports shut down. Shipping containers don't go out and empty ones don't return. As a result of all these factors, prices for shipping containers have skyrocketed. A container that used to cost $3,000 is now as high as $15,000. Many game publishers can't afford these prices and are choosing to delay their projects, if possible. Others are choosing to pass along some of these costs to consumers and eating the rest.
Of course, these problems aren't isolated to the board game industry. It's affecting all products, including those in facility management. I recently heard from one manufacturer that in addition to inflated prices, containers are sitting in port for up to 100 days. What used to be a 2-week door hardware project is now taking up to 6 months.
Unfortunately, this shipping crisis won't end this year. Analysts are predicting a reprieve after Chinese New Year in 2022 at the earliest, but more likely into 2023.
Facility managers can continue to expect product shortages and/or price increases as costs get passed down the supply chain. If you've been affected by this shipping crisis, please send me an email and share your experiences.