There's a reason your local Costco may look barer than usual. Delays at ports are affecting supplies of imported goods, and imported cheeses in particular, USA Today reports. During an earnings call last week, CFO Richard Galanti explained Costco was seeing limited supplies of cheese, seafood, olive oil, furniture, sports equipment, gardening supplies—and occasionally bacon and canned beverages, per Fox News—owing to delays at West Coast ports including Los Angeles and Seattle. He also described a shortage of shipping containers. "It's a crisis in the industry right now," American Dairy Products Institute President Blake Anderson tells USA Today. "There are lots of goods that are loaded in containers off the coasts trying to get in while there's a shortage of containers here."
It's not just Costco. Many retailers are facing shipping delays, reports Today. There's been an "unprecedented level of consumer demand" during the coronavirus pandemic, and "this surge in demand, combined with the lack of empty shipping containers and congestion at ports, has resulted in a significant stress on the supply chain, particularly for the retail industry," explains Jonathan Gold of the National Retail Federation. He notes added transportation costs could result in higher prices for the consumer. "From a supply chain perspective, the overseas freight has continued to be an issue in regards to container shortage and port delays," Galanti said during the call. "We expect these pressures to ease in the coming months, but it's impacting everyone, of course." (Read more Costco stories.)