The holiday season is often marked by lineups at department stores and Christmas trees, with customers eagerly awaiting their chance to buy one before they’re gone. But in this year’s West Coast port strike, that opportunity may be gone for many shoppers, according to Time.com.
A six-day long walkout by some 35,000 dockworkers is causing a backlog of goods that shows no sign of dissipating.
“It just keeps building,” John McClain, vice president for business at Oakland Port District said, “It’s come down to a scramble.”
To add to the problem, Christmas trees and aluminum cans are two of the most common goods that Americans purchase on Christmas day, according to Forbes.com.
“There’s going to be an incredible shortage of people and trees and aluminum cans this year,” McClain told Time. “It’s nuts.”
The impasse comes after 14 months of negotiations between the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. McClain told Time that the labor dispute is causing an “enormous” amount of confusion.
“You have 27 different shipping lines and they’re all processing separate containers, which adds to the difficulty of it,” he said. “You never know what you’re getting or where it’s coming from. It’s frustrating.”
Trucks loaded with goods await transport from ports to warehouses in the Los Angeles area, according to CNN.
But, even with that huge backlog, some items can still be shipped, CNN reports.
“This particular holiday season, we are still facing customers coming in and buying [Christmas] trees,” TLC/U.S. West president and CEO Steve Sargent told CNN. “And the olive oil, and the wine, and the bourbon. The timing for shipping that is critical for those customers.”
Sargent went on to say, “What we can’t do, nor will we be able to do, is get everything that we need to get shipped.”
Not everyone thinks the situation will improve.