U.S. retailers chartering cargo ships to ensure supplies: WSJ

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NEW YORK, Oct. 11 (Xinhua) -- Some U.S. retailers are chartering cargo ships to import goods for the 2021 holiday shopping season amid the global supply-chain crunch, reported The Wall Street Journal on Sunday.

The disruption of product flows between Asia and North America was jointly caused by port delays, outbreaks of COVID-19 and worker shortages, impacting the supplies of numerous sectors, including holiday decorations, toys, and appliances, the Journal said, noting that transporting goods across the Pacific requires roughly 80 days, twice as long as before the pandemic.

Chartering ships is expensive and thus out of financial reach for small retailers, considering that ships capable of holding around 1,000 containers cost nearly twice as much as moving cargo on a typical 20,000-container vessel, it quoted freight forwarders as saying.

Some big-name retailers, like Walmart, Home Depot and Costco, are also chartering ships to mitigate the disruption, said the report, adding "some of the chains are passing along these added costs by raising prices for shoppers."

Some charters have redirected cargo to less crowded ports such as Portland, California or the East Coast to help retailers avoid port congestion, a practice that could help ensure the timely arrival of key products such as electronics and decor for the holiday season, according to the report. Enditem

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