Post by FireworksFX on Feb 11, 2021 6:13:42 GMT -5
It's the supply chain getting products to Canada, in fact supply chains all over the world are straining for just about everything. Manufacturing fireworks to tight schedules is fraught with challenges at the best of time, oversight by the authorities, rulings constantly being amended and tightened, shutdowns due to weather, accidents, inspections, Covid. Then once you have the container packed and ready to go it's find road transport to the port and this is where the real fun begins, there has been a worldwide shortage of shipping containers and I don't know if this has eased or not, but booking passage on a container ship to North America is the real chokepoint, too many containers chasing too few ships. Did I mention the cost? Shipping is going up significantly. Sigh... For anyone that has the ability to buy items they want when they see them in stock is not a bad idea.
I want to confirm that what Fred is saying is correct. The pandemic has caused a trade imbalance for a couple of reasons. First is people are spending more money on goods because they are spending less on services like going on vacation, restaurants and the many other businesses limited by the pandemic. Also less goods are being shipped out of North America because of the pandemic affecting production. More goods are coming out of China because they have controlled Covid and their economy is going full speed ahead supplying us with goods. This has created a problem where containers come to North America filled with goods but many have to go back empty because there is not enough product to fill them with. So not only do the container shipping lines have to bring more product to North America they then have to carry more empty containers back to China to be refilled. The result is a container shortage and freight costs have gone way up. It is also difficult to get a container to fill with goods in China.
The issues with Chinese regulation has been pretty much constant and ongoing ever since the spring of 2019. After a chemical storage explosion (not fireworks) in Jiangsu province in March 2019 the federal government of China sent technocrats to examine hazardous chemical manufacturing, storage and use all over China. This resulted in shipping stoppage for fireworks until May 1st 2019. The intervention by the Federal Government in Hunan and Jiangxi provinces (where most fireworks are made) have caused the provincial governments to take a number of regulatory actions that have cause shipping problems. Then in December 2019 there was a fireworks accident in Hunan province that killed 13 people and injured 17. The local government tried to cover up the number of people killed to avoid federal government investigation. This resulted in 29 local government officials implicated in the cover up. The federal government then stepped up their investigation of the fireworks industry and has subsequently been changing regulations in their effort to reform the industry. The thing is when the Chinese government decides there is a problem they just stop manufacturing or shipping until they investigate and decide what changes they want made before allowing them to restart.
The supply problem for consumer fireworks in Canada has been compounded by increased sales of consumer fireworks as people look for something that they can do during the pandemic. Display fireworks is a completely different story. Display fireworks sales are way down because of limitations on large group gatherings. I have done a bit less than 1/2 of my annual sales and I have talked to other sellers of display fireworks that have sold much less than me due to the high rates of Covid in their part of the country.
I am not importing any containers currently. I have been caught short of product by regulatory actions in China in the past. To protect my business against product shortages I always have more than 2 years of supply stored in my magazines. So with the lower sales volume in 2020 I am well supplied with product for 2021. Now if we can get those vaccinations fast enough maybe 2021 will be a better year for display fireworks.