You may have seen in the news that the mammoth shipping docks on the West Coast ports have been experiencing extensive slow downs due to congestion. January is prime time for Sydney's Closet to receive our special occasion dresses
in our warehouse in St. Louis then quickly send them to our Authorized Retailers
across the U.S. and around the world. But this year, our Fashion Team faces a very challenging shipping saga that, unfortunately, is out of our control. Here's an insider's look at the less-than-ideal situation:
The congestion problem stems from a break down in labor talks that began when union contracts expired last summer.
The Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore Warehouse Union (ILWU) can't reach agreements with their employers. What is the fight over? Controls. ILWU wants greater control over mechanics inspections, “red-lined” terminals where maintenance and repairs are made, and control over off-dock sites with third-party contracts who are not members of PMA. The standoff has sparked slow downs and strikes crippling port operations in California and Washington.
By the beginning of February, negotiations remained stalled. Terminal operators have been forced to cut back on expenses wherever possible.With employees striking, there is a shortage of qualified, skilled labor to dock and unload the ships. Some ships have no choice but to drop anchor just off the coast and patiently wait, what can be weeks, to get into a U.S. harbor to unload.
In Seattle, Tacoma and Oakland shipyards eliminated night shifts on the heavily congested docks. Even if the dock hands unloaded the cargo, there are no workers to move the cargo off the docks to warehouses. With the number of yard crane operators reduce by 35%, ports face horrenhouse delays and gridlock. Somewhere in that gridlock are containers carrying Sydney's Closet dresses. (www.JOC.com
Timing could not be worse! January and February are essential months for our Authorized Retailers to receive their new Spring 2016 Collection of plus size Prom,
Bridal and Social dresses for their curvy customers.
To make the situation more dire, the Chinese New Year falls on February 19.creating a mad dash of exports before the country shuts down for several weeks to celebrate the annual holiday.
The port congestion affects thousands of businesses that import everything from Prom dresses to truck tires to furniture from overseas. The entire supply chain gets disrupted. The most obvious solutions is to ship by air in order to get products to market in time for the Spring season. But with the crunch on and the Chinese New Year looming, the demand for air cargo space has soared putting space on planes at a premium.
What is Sydney’s Closet doing?
Sydney's Closet is taking action to do everything possible to speed up delivery of the Spring 2015 Collection of special occasion dresses. Here's several steps we're taking:
- Flying in as many styles as we can to make sure our stores get them on time
- Changing port locations in attempt to beat the congestion
- Sending staff to LA to ship directly from the docks to stores instead of coming to St. Louis first
We understand this is a super frustrating situation. If you have shipping questions or concerns regarding your order, please contact us: 888.479.3639
Hopefully, this labor dispute sage will end soon and it will be smooth sailing ahead for plus size special occasion dresses.