Happy New Year!
2021 was a year of ups and downs, but overall the retail fireworks industry had a great 4th of July and New Year’s season. Inventories are still low, and the demand for fireworks is still strong. The 4th of July is on a Monday this year, which has typically led to strong retail sales.
In other good news, live events are back on the menu. Our first event since the lockdowns were lifted was the NFA Expo this past fall. We had a great time and enjoyed seeing everyone again. This spring we will be attending the APA Winter Conference, Western Winter Blast, the Spring NFA Expo, Cobra-Con, and will host our own demo here in Columbia, Missouri on Saturday, April 30th. We hope to see you at one of these events!
The bad news is the continued strain on supply chains world-wide. Recently, the congestion at the Long Beach port reached a new record level as 105 container ships were sitting, waiting to unload. For comparison, 44 ships were waiting in August, which was a record at that time.
Recently, shippers have been chartering vessels to other ports as a way to work around the west coast congestion. This has given some relief to the fireworks industry. However, these new supply routes are presenting their own challenges and have increased the cost of importing fireworks. Combined throughput among charter vessels and traditional supply routes is still not enough to satisfy the demands of the market.
Shipping challenges also continue once fireworks enter the US. Less than truckload (LTL) freight is going up as well due to rising costs and staff shortages, the US is currently experiencing a shortage of 80,000 drivers. There are also signs that the price of oil will continue to increase, making it more expensive to truck fireworks to retail stands.
What we recommend for US fireworks buyers is to order and ship early. We forecast that fireworks wholesalers will experience a product shortage and will struggle to fulfill orders. With truck driver shortages and rising LTL rates, we encourage our customers to take shipment of their fireworks early to avoid potential delays and rising shipping costs.
We will continue to keep you updated with regular news such as this, and through our Wednesday Webinars.