Shipping delays affect holiday shopping


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Despite the ports being overwhelmed, unloading cargo from ships is also a major factor in toy delays.

By: Jackie Poznanski, Editor

As the holiday season approaches, stores urge shoppers to start gift buying now. Due to the pandemic, major shipping services are understaffed and taking longer to produce. These shipping delays may affect holiday shopping in a way that can ruin tradition.


Ever since the pandemic, supply chain issues have affected the productivity of shipping companies. UPS and other companies have changed their protocol and increased online shopping as a part of a cost-cutting initiative. This slows down about 30% of all first-class mail. Similarly, packages that were originally traveling air-born have now switched to moving trucks. Holiday shipping delays and product scarcity is inevitable, especially once Black Friday hits.

Some companies manufacturing products oversea had to close during the pandemic and have not been able to catch up on production. Then, add delays in international shipping and one can understand why today’s transportation industry is truly struggling.

There is also a truck driver shortage adding to this shipping conundrum. According to Truckload Shipping, “As of 2019, the average commercial truck driver’s age was 55 years old. This means many truck drivers are approaching retirement age. Younger drivers simply aren’t entering the industry today as they had in years past.” Also, the pandemic in 2020 shut down many CDL schools, some for good. Long lines at the DMV and temporary DMV shut downs also lead to a delay in CDL licenses.

U.S. Ports Struggles

A major factor in the supply chain is the blockage at U.S. ports. Late last month, CBS News reported that the Port of Los Angeles, which handles 40% of U.S. imports, is facing a record backlog. This is due to American consumer buying strength being so strong that ports can’t absorb all this cargo and transport it in an orderly fashion.

Domestic Shipping Delays

Despite the ports being overwhelmed, unloading cargo from ships is also a major factor in toy delays. Many toys and apparel are shipped from other continents such as Asia. In order to fill shelves, shipments need to be loaded on trucks that are currently not available.

“There are really on average about 16 available truckload shipments for every available truck to move product out of (ports),” Bob Biesterfeld, the CEO of shipping logistics company C.H. Robinson, told CBS News.

The international president of shipping giant UPS, Scott Price, pushes society to order their holiday presents now or risk not receiving them until February or March of 2022. The United States Postal Service (USPS) is bracing for increased holiday shipping volumes by raising rates and slowing first-class mail delivery. For the estimated USPS holiday shipping deadline for Christmas click here.

Pre-Black Friday Deals

Ever since companies got news on the apparent shipping delays, they’ve used this information to their advantage. By beginning their sales prior to Thanksgiving, customers have no choice but to start buying early. Those who wait might risk facing full prices as many retailers are keeping added costs to keep the holiday prices competitive. Furthermore, the motto of this upcoming season is “better be safe than sorry,” and to buy your gifts early even if they aren’t on sale yet. These shipping delays may affect holiday shopping and the holiday cheer society has been awaiting.

Some items you may struggle to find this holiday season:

  • Christmas Trees ( both artificial and live trees)
  • Fresh turkeys (due to skyrocketing costs for grain feed)
  • Gaming Consoles (especially Sony’s PlayStation 5 and Microsoft’s Xbox Series X )
  • L.O.L. Surprise toy line
  • Sportswear (Nike, Columbia and Lululemon products are made in Vietnamese factories)
  • Alcohol
  • iPhone 13s and cases for iphones
  • Christmas lights (most are imported for countries in Asia)
  • Books
  • Some clothing and accessories (Vietnam factory shut downs due to Covid-19)
  • Appliances
  • Furniture
  • Cars