Hold my butter beer: Port chaos causes retailers to run out of Harry Potter stock, liquor and beer shortages make this writer consider stockpiling, Maersk takes action and more in this week’s Friday Five. Here we go!
We’ve discussed the toilet paper crisis, a ghoulish Halloween season, and lots of coal for Christmas due to the ongoing supply chain and port chaos. But now, a foreshadowing cloud has formed over Hogwarts as UK retailers are running out of Harry Potter stock.
As a parent of a 11-year-old who has devoured every Harry Potter book and can recite the movies verbatim, this is where sh*t hits the fan. I have spent an obscene amount on Harry Potter paraphernalia and routinely have spells cast on me when I’ve reminded her to clean the litter box (RIP Clawdine). But now, the latest report of toy shortages as a result of perpetual peak season, is hitting me where it hurts and having me rethink my holiday shopping list.
Not only are Harry Potter fandom-themed shops running out of inventory, but their margins are also deteriorating due to the surge in transportation costs and custom fees. The collectable shop House of Spells in Charing Cross, London, reported that the shop usually makes 20-30% margin on each wand but now has to pay 25-30% more in container shipping costs and up to 30% more on custom charges. So far, the shop has not raised prices but wasn’t sure how long that will continue.
An importer of Harry Potter toys, London Toy Company, reported that they have sold out of all of their Harry Potter inventory. According to company director Joel Berkowitz, container prices are up 900% for the toy importer and they have 35,000 toys worth a quarter of a million pounds held up at ports.
"We've had to redirect containers shipping around 10,000 toys, which would have gone straight to Felixstowe, to Tilbury Port in London, via France and Belgium," Berkowitz commented. “It's adding a 2.5-3 week addition to the timeframe [of when customers will receive products]."
Some of London Toy Company clients, including retailers Harrods, Moonpig, Amazon, and Audi, are waiting on toy orders to arrive. The company is having to absorb the extra costs and much like House of Spells, taking the hit on margin themselves. Price sensitive clients have a limit on what they will pay, putting the burden back on the importer/manufacturer. "There's a ceiling for the products that clients are willing to pay, so we're putting only a maximum of 10% on top of the cost of the product," says Berkowitz.
It’s been a rough week in the Martin house (see above mention of Clawdine) and this news definitely makes matters worse.
Some states, including mine, are facing liquor shortages and anticipate supply will not return to previous pre-Covid levels until 2022. This not only impacts individual consumers but is a further blow to bars and restaurants. The F&B industry has faced multiple struggles due to the pandemic and now that mandates are lifted and customers are back, the high demand is straining supply.
Read up on the reason for the shortages from Inbound Logistics’ Jacklyn Ix and how a new generation of packaging could make your favorite cocktail more sustainable.
In response to the rape allegations of a then 19-year-old cadet from U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Maersk has identified the ship and suspended five officers as it begins its internal investigations. The Danish carrier has said it will most likely provide findings to the police.
The maritime whistleblower has claimed she was not the only rape victim. She claims she was aware of at least five other women in her class of 50 women who were raped during their sea year.
In a speech this week, President Joe Biden said he envisioned that the U.S. will one day operate on a 24/7 supply chain schedule. His first steps to make this vision be a reality is extending operating hours at ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach.
After much negotiation with cargo owners, labor unions, ports and transportation providers, the Port of Los Angeles will follow the 24/7 schedule earlier set by Port of Long Beach cited Biden. He added that the new available hours will add 60 extra hours each week, increasing cargo flow out of the port to increase by 25%.
"This is a big first step in speeding up the movement of materials and goods through our supply chain,” said President Biden. “And now we need the rest of the private sector chain to step up as well.”
Some of the cargo owners and carriers who have committed to use extended hours in various capacities include Walmart, UPS, Target, The Home Depot, Samsung, and FedEx.
More funding for supply chain startups continues to poor in as Rose Rocket secures $25 million in Series A funding. This brings the Canadian company founded by Alexander Luksidadi, Justin Sky and Justin Bailie, total funding to $25.12M as reported by Pitchbook.
Rose Rocket saw the need for an enterprise-grade TMS for mid-market trucking companies and freight brokerages that would support the organizations ability to grow and scale through a cloud-based agile technology suite.
In case you missed it, be sure to check out last week's logistics news roundup which celebrated a first for Walmart. If you want to learn more about how Logistics Orchestration® by Slync.io can help you navigate perpetual peak season, reach out to schedule a consultation.