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Ongoing Shipping Delays Hurting Tri-State Area Businesses, Causing Concerns About Holiday Shopping

MORRISTOWN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- Ongoing shipping delays are hurting local businesses and causing concern ahead of the holiday season.

Now, local leaders are calling for action to address the crisis.

The Just Jersey boutique in Morristown is just one of many places the worldwide shipping crisis is hitting home.

"I think we're gonna have limited quantities of some of our top-selling items," store co-owner Tina Bologna told CBS2's Dave Carlin.

Balogna is witnessing a slowdown. Some of her vendors short on wax for candles, fabric for towels and glass. Materials and products are stalled at sea.

"If something that usually takes days takes weeks to arrive, by Christmas, there are going to be a lot of empty Christmas trees and sad Hanukkah nights, and parents all across America will be writing more IOU cards than ever before," Congressman Josh Gottheimer, of New Jersey, said.

Gottheimer stood near waters off Newark, where, at any given time, one or two container ships are held up a day or two, waiting for space.

The problem is much worse in southern California, but everyone is impacted by skyrocketing shipping prices per container.

"Ten times more than it used to be just to pack one of those containers up ... And think about what comes over. Everything. Everything from ventilators to shoes to clothing and toys," Gottheimer said.

Gottheimer said America must develop more manufacturing here, and the world's five major shipping companies, all based abroad and sometimes seemingly out of reach, must be investigated.

"They're claiming supply and demand ... Any economist will tell you that these prices are way beyond the natural tendencies of the marketplace," he said.

Retailers large and small are telling shoppers if they think they have tried-and-true strategies for holiday shopping, they might want to rethink those.

"I think if you see something and you really love it, buy it now because it may not be there when you come back," Bologna said.

"I just ordered a book for my grandson this morning. I saw it advertised, so I went ahead and ordered it," Morristown resident Beverly Burton said.

Shipping is slow, but Burton is quite the opposite, energized to do her holiday shopping right now.

Gottheimer says the Federal Maritime Commission must strengthen oversight efforts of major ocean carriers to find out if collusion and price gouging are taking place.

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