Will the holiday shopping season be affected by chaotic, disruptive and potentially costly delays and shipping problems? That sounds like an extreme outcome, but it’s on my mind after reading a recent article in Women’s Wear Daily (WWD) entitled Panic at the Ports as Holiday Looms. In this edition of Retail Rap, we discuss how the WWD’s piece outlines the drama unfolding at West Coast ports like Los Angeles and Long Beach, where congestion, delays, and an extended “union and management dispute” could put a serious dent in the ability of retailers and brands to get their holiday shipping completed on time and on budget.
If you want an unlikely example of how carriers are working to supplement their existing infrastructure and capabilities, consider this: no less than Amazon is now using the much-criticized and oft-struggling U.S. Postal Service to help with weekend and holiday deliveries! To me, that’s a little bit like the New York Yankees looking to the Bad News Bears for pitching help.
Join me in this edition of Retail Rap, and tell me: What do you think? Will 2014 be the year that a dysfunctional shipping system left a lump of coal in the retail industry’s stocking?