Those 4th of July fireworks displays could look different this year as U.S. ports are experiencing a trade bottleneck, making it more difficult to unload consumer goods like fireworks.
"During the COVID lockdown, U.S. consumers shifted their spending habits unable to spend their money on movies, dinners or vacations. Many put their money toward new poducts creating a surge of exports," said TNT Fireworks Spokesperson, Dennis Revell.
The surge in exports created a disruption in trade.
"Thus a trade bottleneck was born out of the pandemic that included disruptions in fireworks production, freight container shortages and the industry waiting for delivery of their orders," said Revell.
The California ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach and Oakland account for 40-percent of U.S. imports. They typically have less than three ships anchored in the harbor, but now they have many more ships anchored at each of the three ports.
"You will find anywhere from 20-40 ships sitting of the coast in each of those ports waiting to get access to the ports to unload," said Revell.
Since it currently costs up to ten times more than it did at this time last year to ship a container to the U.S., prices of consumer goods, like fireworks, have increased.
"It's impact is industry-wide. It's impacting the public display industry, the consumer fireworks industry and the special effects industry," said Revell.
Some buyers, who ordered fireworks as early as last year, say they have experienced delays in shipping.
“We started ordering, or at least this company did, last July and about half of it has come in. Only half of it so far,” said Christie Marangi, Element Christian Church Minister.
Marangi says her organization will not sell fireworks for as long this year because of the shipping delay.
”Pretty much everyone’s selling window is going to be a lot shorter. So usually we would start on Sunday, the Sunday before the 4th of July, but this year we’re starting on Thursday. So we’re only going to have four or five days, as opposed to seven,” said Marangi.
Despite the surge in consumer goods and difficulty unloading them, Revell says they are still working to bring displays to the public this year.
"We will continue to unload those products and try to get them distributed to the nonprofit groups as quickly as possible," said Revell.