Blocked shipments and price hikes are wreaking havoc on small businesses.
Since the pandemic began, Wayne Sosin of Worksman Cycles says he has tried everything to find a method to produce and distribute his bikes.
He’s been seeking for a container to ship a load to Saudi Arabia for the past six weeks, but has yet to find one.
Not to mention his tire supplier, who predicts a one-year wait. Neither is the cost of shipping a container from Asia to the US, which has soared from around $6,000 to $25,000 or even $30,000.
“We’re not dealing with it very readily,” said the 60-year-old, whose New York-based firm is known for industrial and delivery tricycles.
Covid has wreaked havoc on the worldwide economy, with manufacturing closures owing to the coronavirus, a surge in demand for certain products like bicycles and computers, and staffing shortages at warehouses and in the trucking business.
Many businesses are having difficulty just obtaining materials. Neither have global multinational behemoths been spared.
Nike has issued a warning that some of its products, including shoes and athletic apparel, may be temporarily unavailable.
Meanwhile, Walmart has chartered its own ships to ensure that shelves are filled for the holidays.
The logistical obstacles for small business owners, on the other hand, are smaller in scale but just as terrifying.
Jack Hillman is the manager of Hall-Woolford, a Philadelphia-based company that has been producing wooden liquid storage tanks since 1854 and presently employs roughly ten people.
He had to contend with the rising price of wood at the start of the year, which has now dropped in the United States.
However, he now has to deal with iron, which he uses to make the metal bars that encircle the tanks and keep them together.
Orders for iron typically take eight weeks to arrive. However, the most recent one took over five months.
“Even though the truck didn’t have a full load when it arrived, we still had to pay for it. We have no other option “he stated
His vendors no longer bother to provide him a price quote.
He looked for white pine boards for three months before placing his final order: “There was just none available, no matter where you looked.”
“The actual price rise of that material was 136 percent more than the last order,” he said when he eventually made the buy.
He just ordered twice as much lumber as he needed, fearful about running out.
Hall-Woolford did not stop manufacturing, but it was forced to pass on the additional costs to clients.
Worksman Cycles is a company that makes bicycles. The Washington Newsday Brief News is a daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C.