Editorial – November 2021

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Editorial

Eddie Adlum 6-2020

If the new game your distributor ordered for you is languishing on a freighter off the coast of California, you’re not alone. The supply chain clog, which has been an unexpected result of the Covid-19 pandemic, has ruined a lot of mornings for businessmen waiting for chips to make stuff and stuff to make chips. Orders for everything from trucks to toasters are there, but the transport system required to get them to the final user looks like the face on Rocky Balboa’s opponent after 15 rounds with the king of the cinematic ring.

As I write this, Washington, D.C., has prevailed on the California ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles to crank up the offloading engines to 24/7 to help unload what were about 70 container ships sitting in the water for weeks at anchor. Those two ports alone are responsible for transiting around 40% of the cargo imported into the U.S.A. every year, most of it from Asia where so much of the amusement industry’s needs are made.

A shortage of dockworkers, as well as truck drivers to haul the goods away, has more than worsened the dilemma. It seems like Washington, which has claimed the mess was a private matter, has finally stepped in with its clout. So, maybe just maybe that game of yours will get its day in the sun yet. Meantime, additional freight charges have shown up on some equipment bills, displeasing operators to no end.

The IAAPA show’s chief purpose in life is to showcase, and then sell, new goods, lots of which are produced offshore. So, when potential buyers chat up the salesmen in the display booths at the Orlando event, besides asking what the MSRP price of a brand-new machine might be, they’re going to be asking when they can get it. The response will be all fluffed up with “maybe, hopefully, we hope that, predictions say” and dozens more variations on the same basically unknown response.

That is unless the machines in question are already in stock or on the back of a semi somewhere in the States. It may be hard to believe these days, but there are such machines available so, the supply chain problem doesn’t mean the end of the world by any means. It is just another great big hiccup in the crazy world we live and work in today, requiring patience and a bit more grit than usual.

 

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