We are in the process of building our new SA store, and it came time to order some apparel, so we got in touch with mark Michaelsen from Dry UV, who has done nearly everything we have ever sold or bought for crew gear. He’s just the best.
But he said it is getting really hard to get clothing these days, and really expensive. For example there is a cool white polyester hoody that we have used, and given today’s situation, they cost $57 each for a blank! That means after printing logos and such, we’d have to sell them for $100 a pop – who in the hell is going to buy a hoody (albeit an awesome SA hoody) for $100 bucks?? Here is why:
China ran out of containers about a month ago. No containers, no shipments can leave the factory and head to the port. The ports like Seattle, Oakland and Los Angeles/Long Beach are way behind offloading due to Covid restrictions. With the freighter backup, customs got slammed all at once and there are only so many customs officers to process the paperwork and inspect the inbound shipments. This slows the rate at which the now empty containers can head back to China. Normally, those same containers are supposed to carry Midwest grain back to China but the shipping companies are so desperate, all of the containers are trickling back to China empty.
This slow delivery of containers back to China has put the shipping companies in double jeopardy. The pace at which Diesel fuel is skyrocketing means that by the time the empty containers do (and some have) make it back to China, the pre-negotiated container rates from 2019 and 2020 that the big shippers work out with the shipping companies in advance, means that if the ship sails, it will cost the shipping company more to move the freight due to fuel costs than they make on the now obsolete rates. Good or bad, the shipping companies are now refusing to set sail as they are losing money on every run. Complete cluster f*ck.
You would think that the massive apparel manufacturers like Gildan and Jerzees would have a backup plan in central America…and they do (Well, they did) until not one but two Category 5 hurricanes slammed Honduras last Fall. This destroyed the huge factories and more importantly, took out infrastructure like roads and power and water. When you remove the largest apparel manufacturer in the world from the supply chain it puts massive inventory pressure on those who are left to fill the giant void.
All of those companies get their supplies from the far East or Central America. No ships, no containers, and air freight is 800% more expensive than surface. The image file is off Seal Beach, CA where 41 ships are awaiting offload at the ports of Los Angeles or Long Beach, CA. Guess where prices are going on the remaining inventory? You guessed it.
Sky is the limit right now. Fortunately DryUV and DryShirt still make a fair amount of gear right her in the USA. After 30 years in this business we can source the most cost effective apparel with the best of them. Give us a shout- [email protected] or call toll free 1-888-379-7447 ext 2.