Santa Caught in L.A. Traffic Jam

Nov 11, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He just got held up at the docks in Los Angeles this year.

Retailers and manufacturers are trying to find a way around what could turn out to be this Christmas season’s nightmare — products stuck in containers and sitting on ships at West Coast docks instead of being on store shelves where they belong.

According to the Associated Press, the increase in imports from Asian countries combined with a lack of dockworkers has led to a shipping gridlock situation in Los Angeles and Long Beach.

The dock gridlock has been particularly damaging for toy manufacturers such as MGA Entertainment who produce roughly 80 percent of the goods they sell in the U.S. in factories in Asia.

Isaac Larian, president and chief executive officer of MGA, told the AP that retailers are canceling orders because of missed delivery dates.

The situation has caused both retailers and manufacturers to rethink how they are going to get products from the factory to store shelves. Chris Braitwaithe, a spokesperson for Sears said the retailer is diverting some shipments to other ports and expediting truck deliveries to get items to the store in time for the holiday.

Moderator’s Comment: How significant a problem is the dock gridlock at ports on the West Coast? What should retailers
and manufacturers do to avert a repeat of this situation in the future?

Virginia should probably start by making out her holiday wish list even earlier next year.
George Anderson – Moderator

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