It’s not even Halloween and there are worries about supplying stores this year for the Christmas holiday season.
The COVID-19 pandemic has crippled the supply chain all the way from manufacturers to customers. The nation is counting on DFW to help get goods to market.
"An awful lot of stuff comes to Dallas, gets redistributed and shipped out, and that’s not happening as well as we would like," said Southern Methodist University Business Expert Mike Davis. "COVID wreaked havoc with everything. Look up and down the supply chain and you can see the ravages of COVID."
Lawrence Woodson and her De Novo Wellness Boutique in the Dallas Bishop Arts District offer an example of the situation.
Some of her merchandise is made in Texas, but some comes from Hong Kong.
It is a very long trip for some of the products she sells.
“Our most popular brand, they told us this summer, ‘Heads up.’ You're not going to be able to get any shipments in October, November or December,” Woodson said.
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With a location in the center of the United States, goods from around the world come through the DFW area.
DFW Airport and Alliance Airport are major international cargo handling facilities.
There are several big intermodal rail terminals where overseas shipping containers from seaports are transferred to trucks.
DFW is a major warehouse center for distribution of goods.
President Joe Biden asked coastal ports to work around the clock to catch up on ships waiting offshore to unload in places like Los Angeles.
But once goods reach DFW, Davis said there are also challenges here.
“We're not a bottleneck in the same way that the ports on the west coast area bottleneck, but we still have a real shortage of capacity here. And a lot of that is driven by a shortage of truck drivers and I think a shortage of trucks,” Davis said.
Computer chip shortages limiting automakers also affect truck production, he said.
Woodson prepared for the holiday shopping season with a big order of goods that arrived this week, filling her storage area.
“We have a big shipment coming in January to replenish us after the holidays. But we're hoping we have enough to get us through,” Woodson said.
Strong consumer demand also adds to the logistics and shipping issues in the supply chain problem.
Woodson said her store has seen steady business the past several months.
Davis said there is pent-up demand from consumers that was delayed by COVID-19.
“I know a lot of people suffered economically during the pandemic, but a lot of people were able to save money during the pandemic. They didn't buy a lot of the things they wanted to buy and now they're out shopping,” Davis said. “That is really putting even more pressure on supply chains.”
Woodson said her customers have been talking for more than a week about holiday gifts, earlier than she expected.
Business people suggest that choosy shoppers should shop early.