When I hear the word "imports," I typically think of cars. You've probably heard those TV commercials for shops promising to service your import for less than the dealers charge.
But this holiday season has me thinking of imports in a different way.
Experts say our store shelves might be relatively bare because shipments coming from overseas are stuck in ports and aren't getting distributed as quickly as usual.
I've certainly noticed some stocking issues at several local groceries and drugstores.
Jonathan Gold, the National Retail Federation's vice president for supply chain and customs policy, said the holdup is a shortage of semi-rigs, truck drivers, rail capacity and warehouse workers.
“Dockworkers are unloading ships as fast as they can, but the challenge is to move the containers out of the ports to make room for the next ship,” he said in a statement.
Shoppers shouldn't panic yet, he said.
"Retailers have enough inventory on hand to make sure shoppers won’t go home empty-handed this holiday season," Gold continued. "But there are still items sitting on the docks or waiting on ships that need to make it to store shelves and online sellers’ warehouses. Retailers want to make sure customers have product choices.”
The National Retail Federation, a Washington, D.C.-based trade association, has forecast holiday sales will increase by 8.5% and 10.5% this year over 2020.
That could spell a lot of frustration for parents trying to find popular toys and other gifts for their little ones. Tons of products need to be shipped -- and received -- for all those Christmas wishes to come true.
It gives me a lot more appreciation for the global supply chain and the men and women who keep it moving.