It’s common knowledge that supply chain issues and costs are causing concern for manufacturers right across the industry, resulting in some cases in retail shortages and price increases.
And it’s no secret that the problems are the result of the combined impact of lingering COVID restrictions, rising shipping costs and an unprecedented increase in demand for fishing tackle. But it’s interesting to hear first hand from one of the world’s leading brands just how the situation is impacting business and when it is likely be resolved. Talking at last month’s ICAST, Shimano North America’s Southeast Regional Manager, Robert Dufek, said that some Chinese ports are operating at as low as 40% capacity, causing huge shipping delays.
“These ports are significantly larger than Los Angeles port, the largest in the US, so containers are arriving at the port but can’t get out of the door,” he told Outdoor Life’s Scott Einsmann. “And a standard 40-foot high container that was costing $4,000 to ship to California from China is now $14,000 to $18,000.”
The situation is further compounded by bidding wars for containers and for space on cargo ships.
Despite the challenges, Shimano is manufacturing more product than ever before in factories in Japan, China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia and the US. “We’re setting record shipping numbers every month,” said Dufek.
However, demand is simply outstripping supply – and the situation doesn’t look like changing any time soon. The Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s Special Report on Fishing reported 10% growth in fishing participation in 2020 over the previous year and found that more than half those who tried fishing in 2020 will continue the activity, keeping the demand for fishing products high.
Further easing of COVID restrictions would allow ports and factories to return to full operational status, but while the latest supply chain update shows that product flow from Asia to the US is improving, congestion in US ports is worsening.
Expanding a manufacturing facility can take up to two years, Dufek told Outdoor Life, so the solution may be out of manufacturers’ control.