HAMPTON ROADS, Va. – Philip Michael Fashion for Men Owner Philip Scotti said he’s been waiting for a shipment of white dress shirts and black suits at his store inside Lynnhaven Mall for at least two months. Shoes have been on backorder for about seven months.
“We place orders about six months in advance, and they're just not coming in,” said Scotti. “So, we have to seek other vendors to try to see if they have the merchandise, so we can fill our shelves up.”
Scotti’s manufacturers are based in California where some of the busiest ports are facing major backlogs, helping to create a supply chain crisis that’s being felt across the country.
Some grocery stores in Norfolk and Virginia Beach are also feeling the impact. Shelves were running thin on deli meat with some noticeable gaps.
“Some of us feel there are going to be shortages, possible shortages, guess what most of us do? They go to the store and buy up,” said ODU Economics Professor Vinod Agarwal.
Agarwal said there are a number of issues causing shortages – from not enough workers to not enough space in the warehouse – as well as other challenges facing countries like China.
“Essentially what happens is, we create a demand for these goods and services, unnecessary demand, and therefore you run into a shortage,” he said.
While there are backlogs of ships waiting to be offloaded in California, New York and even Georgia, the ports in Hampton Roads are not having the same issue.
Virginia Port Authority’s spokesman Joe Harris said they’re not seeing a supply chain disruption. He said the main terminals are highly efficient and running smoothly with ships are coming and going.
In a statement, Harris said:
“The nation’s supply chain is facing unprecedented challenges. There are a lot of people working to ensure that the cargo is flowing and to alleviate the bottlenecks in the supply chain and many of them are right here at The Port of Virginia.
“The cargo is moving across our terminals with world-class efficiency and as a result we are well-positioned to absorb the increasing amount of cargo coming to the US East Coast. The Port of Virginia has modern terminals being driven by 21st-century technology, a seasoned operations team and a solid labor partner in the International Longshoremen’s Association. We do not anticipate a slowdown in cargo flows and are closely monitoring our operations to ensure we are prepared for the future.”
President Biden announced a plan Wednesday to speed up operations to address to supply chain issues. The Los Angeles port will work around the clock to speed up the delivery of goods.
Scotti meantime remains cautiously optimistic.
“We’re just very concerned for Christmas and Thanksgiving sales,” said Scotti. “If we don't have the sportswear, we may have to cancel with the vendors, and that puts them in in dire straits when we do that.”
UPS and FedEx also said they would be working 24/7 to try and help with the backlog.