Cargo Backups and Major Inflation? Uh Oh

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Cargo ships lingering for weeks during major cargo backup.

Maya Ghobrial, Reporter

During the Covid-19 pandemic a rising issue has occurred: there is a major backlog of cargo ships floating in the Pacific Ocean. Rising costs are pushing businesses to raise prices for their customers, which is not making consumers happy. In addition to the rising prices most deliveries are arriving late resulting in concerns over whether shelves will be bare this holiday season to rise.

President Joe Biden announced on Wednesday October 13th that the Los Angeles port would now work 24 hours a day 7 days a week in hopes of clearing supply chains and helping to speed up the nation’s economic recovery from Covid.

I asked Magdy Ghobrial, owner of Big Belly Pizza, how these rising prices are affecting his small business. He says, “they are cutting down on our bottom-line profits. Which means we’re making less profit because we’re spending more on the cost of our goods.” These higher prices are not just affecting customers but employees as well. “We have to cut back on our staff to manage our profit.” With the statewide labor shortage there is a need for at least 60,000 truck drivers. This huge lack of truck drivers is causing some major delays in shipping. Magdy says that “we are trying to keep extra inventory on hand to make up for any shortage or late deliveries.”

Jeremy Kitts, a general manager here at Roanoke’s Best Buy was asked how these rising prices have been affecting their sales, and profits. His response was, “Rising prices have not affected sales because we only passed part of the cost increase onto consumers. We also have seen a slight decrease in profit over previous years due to the increase of prices.” Black Friday is going to be different this year. “Some items we can provide great deals like usual and then other prices will have to either stay the same price or go down very little.” Best Buy has been chartering their own ships to avoid any late shipments. “We have been getting everything on time because we are working with partners and our ships have been working hard on getting inventory from China here on time”

With inflation skyrocketing and labor shortages increasing everyday businesses, small and large, are struggling, especially around the holiday season. So, try to be a little more patient with workers, support a small business, and start your Christmas shopping a little earlier this year!