The cycles were supposed to be in Atlanta on Wednesday. Given the delay there was no way the equipment, already pre-sold to customers, would make it to their destinations by Christmas.
So the importer, Wahoo Fitness, loaded another 620 of its training cycles, called KICKRs and retailing for about $1,100 each, onto an airplane and flew them over from Asia. It cost $68,000. The ocean freight bill is typically between $3,000-$5,000.
"It will reduce our gross margin by a third to a half," said Mike Stashak, vice president of sales and marketing at Wahoo, in an interview. "We're still making money off it, but not a whole lot."
This is just one illustration of how ongoing problems at West Coast ports are hurting American businesses during the critical shopping season.
"For investors the 'watch out' is smaller retailers with less supply chain sophistication who won't have hedged the west coast with shipments through New York/New Jersey, Savannah, or New Orleans," emailed Kevin O'Marah, head of research for SCM World, a supply chain professional organization. "Merchandise on boats or in the yard, but not yet in truck chassis may well mean out of stocks and missed sales. The other big danger is big U.S. agricultural businesses like IBP or Cargill. Meat, produce and bulk agricultural commodities can't get out to Asian and Latin American markets and will, in some cases, spoil and be lost completely."