Experts advise getting jump start on holiday shopping as pandemic impacts supply chains in South Carolina

State - Regional

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — It may seem early to start thinking about holiday shopping, but experts say you may want to get started sooner rather than later.

That’s because the pandemic and high consumer demand are still impacting global supply chains.

In a recent news release, South Carolina Ports called a slowdown in cargo velocity due to a number of supply chain constraints ‘concerning,’ as the busy fall season arrives.

The U.S. is watching record import volumes as people spend more money on retail items than services during the pandemic.

“Some of the things that we’re seeing come through the port would be furniture, home goods, electronics, things of that nature, we’ve seen an uptick at the port,” general manager of public relations and digital media for SC Ports Kelsi Brewer said.

SC Ports moved 234,688 TEUs at Wando Welch Terminal, North Charleston Terminal and Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal in August, which set a record for the month. It handled 130,729 pier containers in August, up 12% from last year. 2,635 rail moves were handled at Inland Port Dillon.

Port officials said investments have helped to keep up with the recent demand and growth.

“Just in recent years the port has invested a little over 2 billion dollars in infrastructure,” Brewer said.

Brewer said people should consider doing holiday shopping earlier this year because of the supply chain impacts.

“If there’s a product that’s in hot demand I would go ahead and purchase it now than hold off on purchasing,” she said.

Some businesses along the Grand Strand have faced the global supply chain slowdowns first hand.

“Somebody comes in, they want this sofa but they don’t want this color, they want a different color,” part-owner of 501 Furniture in Myrtle Beach Charles “Chuck” Shotts explained. “And that makes it rough because now they don’t want to wait four to six months, but when they go to other stores they find it’s the same thing everywhere.”

Shotts hopes the supply chain slowdowns will be improve by next year and he’ll be able to get shipments in quicker.

Meanwhile, SC Ports is hiring around 150 new workers to help keep up with the growing volume.

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