Surge in Oversea Orders Leaves Bay Area Retailers Waiting for Merchandise

NBC Universal, Inc.

A surge in oversea orders has ships stacked tall with containers sitting in the bay, just waiting to be unloaded. 

The Port of Oakland says it had its busiest February in it's 94-year history, handling more than 80,000 import containers waiting to be off-loaded and that means retailers are waiting for merchandise.

“It's not fun you can order stuff and it just doesn't come in,” said David Eiland. 

Keeping the shelves stocked Just for Fun in San Francisco takes work. Last year’s seasonal merchandise makes it look like deliveries are coming in, but owner Eiland says the art supplies that have gotten customers through COVID-19 are taking months to get.

He said orders are stuck on board container ships floating in the bay waiting in line to dock at the Port of Oakland.

“Those canvases are sitting out there toys, toys have been impossible," said Eiland. "Bead kits, toy kits plush animals they're all sitting out there."

The Port of Oakland says Asian factories are shipping goods in record numbers. A surge it says is driven by retailers, manufacturers and e-commerce distributors.

The delays have Eiland looking for new suppliers that can have goods delivered by truck.

“You're really hunting and pecking to find inventory because it's sitting in  a container somewhere,” said Eiland.

The port just installed three new giant cranes that should improve efficiency.

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