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Retailers Warn Supply Chain Delays Could Wreak Havoc On Bay Area Holiday Shopping Season

OAKLAND (KPIX 5) -- Retailers are sounding the alarm on the upcoming holiday shopping season due to serious supply chain issues that are slowing shipments of manufactured goods around the world.

Chaos theory in it's simplest form says if a butterfly flaps its wings in China, it means rain in Central Park. Well, that applies not just to weather, but supply chains as well, and in the Bay Area, it will impact everything from computer parts for your car to the gifts and toys on your holiday shopping list.

Outside ports in Southern California, more than 70 container ships are sitting off the coast waiting to be unloaded.

"There are not the people in place to move the containers and the chassis where they need to go. So you've got a lot of stuff piling up at the ports and at the warehouses. When that happens, the harder it is to get the stuff that is ready to move," said John Drake, VP of Supply Chain Strategy for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

A huge surge in pandemic e-commerce and imports is in part to blame.

The problems aren't just at the port, but your front door - with delivery times getting longer and longer, boxes stuck in FedEx and UPS warehouses for days.

Those problems of international shipping, off-loading and domestic delivery aren't eclipsed by the manufacturing problem -- meaning there are no parts to ship.

It means businesses like Sharky Laguana's Bandago that rent vans to touring bands can't get more vans, even with concerts coming back. The reason why? A global semiconductor shortage.

"I, myself, am anxiously trying to get my hands on vehicles to replace the vehicles in our fleet that are a couple of years old," Laguana said.

Many of the problems on the West Coast seem to be stacked up at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, but are worldwide, as well. The Port of Oakland had 30 containers waiting in the San Francisco Bay this summer, but the ILWU and the Pacific Maritime Association cut a deal to hire more people.

"Agreed to hire hundreds more people to be able to load and offload cargo at the Port of Oakland and that's made a big difference for us," said Oakland port spokesperson Marilyn Sandifur.

You may be thinking that this doesn't apply to you. Think again. Christmas is just around the corner.

"Doing our holiday shopping today, if you have the opportunity to do that, I would do that because the delays we are seeing are only going to get worse as we get further and further into holiday shopping season," said Drake.

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