Since the west coast port slowdown began last summer, we at The Gerson Companies, have watched the situation closely as it has moved from what began as an inconvenience, to what is now front page news. This situation has become vital as it has begun to impact both retailers and consumers throughout the United States.[wooslider slideshow_speed=”5.5″ animation_duration=”0.8″ slide_page=”west-coast-port” slider_type=”slides”]
The purpose of this message is to offer background on the situation, and let you know what we are doing to lessen the impact of these delays on our customers.
PORT SLOWDOWN BACKGROUND
The dispute began last June between the Pacific Maritime Association (representing the carriers) and the dockworkers as the labor contract was expiring. It has been reported that the dockworkers intentionally slowed the processing of freight, and the situation has continued to worsen as the two sides have not been able to reach agreements. This has become an enormous national problem since almost half of all freight, for importers throughout the U.S., comes through the west coast. The images above show what the port appeared like last week. Each day, there are increasing barges out at sea waiting to be unloaded.
ACTIONS GERSON HAS IMPLEMENTED:
- We are maintaining a second shift (nights and on weekends) in our Olathe Distribution Center to expedite shipments.
- We are increasing order processing hours. Order processing and customer service employees are running a second shift (nights and on weekends) to facilitate order processing and auditing.
- We are tracking all containers on a daily basis. Transit time from China to our Olathe DC averaged 33 days from October-December, but travel time increased to approximately 40 days in January. This travel time could potentially increase to 42-60 days.
- We have explored routing containers through Tacoma Washington, Vancouver Canada, various ports in Mexico as well as the east coast in the United States. Unfortunately, no other ports of entry offer an improved situation.
- Product buyers at The Gerson Companies are placing orders with factories on our Gerson Everyday product lines four weeks earlier than we have in the past and are requesting expedited shipments.
- We are increasing our domestic inventory levels on Gerson Everyday products. Our goal has been to maintain 90 days of inventory of Gerson Everyday product in our Olathe DC, and we have now moved to maintain inventory for 120 days.
- In the second half of this year, Gerson will maintain additional inventory levels of our best-selling candle skus at our facility in China.
As always, we will hope for the best, but will plan on this situation continuing to be difficult for the coming months.