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Experts: Expect Christmas Shopping To Be Impacted As COVID Continues To Choke Product Supply Chain

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - As if you didn't already know, COVID has been choking the supply chain for some of your favorite products, and now it looks like Christmas shopping will be impacted.

So, if you are seeing 'not available' or 'out of stock' signs, you can blame it on the pandemic.

US Vice President Kamala Harris is in Southeast Asia discussing the supply chain.

"If you want to have Christmas toys for your children, it might now be the time to start buying them," said Harris.

"It is gonna be a strange Christmas season for us because the supply chain is not producing at the level they were with COVID-19 paralyzing ports. Three Chinese ports close. The volume of containers we need for the Christmas season will not be there," said Dr. Craig Austin, Department of Marketing & Logistics at Florida International University.

At The Christmas Palace in Hialeah Gardens, Christmas is a year-round business.

"We have to order a year in advance. We order the following season in October, November. We start receiving our goods in May and June probably 75—80% of our goods are in," said Jimmy Knips of The Christmas Palace.

But Jimmy operates other businesses dependent on the supply chain.

The story is that the cost to ship a container from China has increased tenfold.

"I have other businesses that are suffering due to container shortage, worker shortages, three of the main ports in China are closed," said Knips.

According to a new Gallup poll, sixty percent of Americans say they haven't been able to get a product they wanted due to a shortage triggered by the pandemic.

More than half, have experienced significant delays in receiving something they ordered. In fact, 70 percent of Americans have had at least one of these issues.

"Like the port of Los Angeles, in Long Beach, our largest port in the country. They have over 30 ships off the coast waiting to be unloaded," said Austin.

COVID and demand have impacted the workforce from Asia right to America's doorstep.

"There is a lot of delay because of COVID and just so much volume," said Austin.

The root cause is cheap and reliable ocean transport, which allowed manufacturers and food processors to shift their operations to Asia where there is cheap labor and materials.

Critics say it is time to bring production back to the US mainland.

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