More companies turn to the sky for shipping crisis workaround
Companies are increasingly turning to the sky to try to keep up with America's demand for stuff.
- They're now relying more on planes to carry inventory — rather than getting clothes, shoes and other goods shipped by sea from abroad.
Why it matters: It's an attempt to get around the supply chain snafus already hitting consumers — who have fewer stocked items to choose from and higher price tags because companies are paying more for goods themselves.
- Sellers are warning that items could run out more quickly this year during Amazon Prime Day, according to CNBC.
Flashback: Companies have used planes to get cargo from overseas before — but it was as much as 10 times more expensive than ocean freight, according to the National Retail Federation's Jon Gold.
- But it's more comparable now since sea shipping costs have skyrocketed.
Where it stands: Mentions of “air freight” and “air cargo” during corporate earnings calls and other events hit a record high (79) last month, according to data firm Sentieo.
- Lululemon told investors it's "strategically using air freight" to offset inventory delays "due to issues at the ports."
Catch up quick: Companies are facing historic inventory holdups, thanks to a shortage of containers used to move goods across the ocean — and a backup at America's ports, where those containers arrive.
- "What we're experiencing right now makes the temporary Suez Canal blockage look like a fender bender on a country road," says Steve Lamar, head of the American Apparel & Footwear Association.
What to watch: Companies are turning to planes only to find that they too are bogged down by demand.
- "I don't know if the airlines have the capacity to take up as much slack as is needed," says Gold, who focuses on supply chain issues.