In the past year, we've talked a few times about how the pre-Covid shipping terminals on the west coast were backed up, and how container ships were just floating at sea waiting to be unloaded. These containers are carrying everything from guitars to medicine to washing machines to clothes, anything and everything made in Asia for the USA market.
Here we are now in June, 2022, and guess what? Not much has changed. One any given day this month, you can expect 90-100 container ships to be either anchored or floating and waiting to be anchored or berthed.
Here's a quick overview of some average container ship backlogs:
- February, 2021: 40
- Sept. 2021: 70
- November, 2021: 110
- January, 2022: 148
- May, 2022: 96
On second thought, I guess a lot has changed, and the change is for the worse. Comparing January, 2022 to May, 2022 looks like an improvement, but it may not be. Shipping companies have adapted to the dock backlogs, and are now practicing something called "slow steaming". This mean their ships travel slower, so instead of waiting at anchor, or 40 miles out to sea, they just travel slower. This means while fewer may be waiting to unload, more are still on the seas headed toward our west coast.
Ships that arrive off California are still waiting 3-4 weeks to unload.
So, products that are made in any other country that require a cross-Pacific trip for delivery are still being slowed down, and honestly, it appears there is no relief in sight any time soon. Eventually the backlog will go away, but it doesn't look like that will happen any time in the near calendar.
In the mean time, Backstage has a good selection of Eastman and Alvarez acoustic guitars, G&L and Tagima electrics, and some Pearl drum kits are starting to trickle in for the first time this year. Some electronics, such as some wireless microphones, mixers, and powered speakers are on galactic backorder, with some projected arrival dates reaching into 2023. We're working hard every week to find inventory and keep the shelves stocked, so come see us and check out what we've found for you.