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Maui Merchants Face Long Shipping Waits, Supply Chain Issues | News, Sports, Jobs


Hamai Appliance CEO Clyde Hamai stands in one of his show kitchens at this Kahului store. Normally they do not sell home appliance show models, but due to the longer shipping times, even show kitchen appliances can be sold. Local traders say they face longer shipping times and supply chain issues due to shipping delays on the mainland and abroad. Maui News / MELISSA TANJI photos

KAHULUI – From refrigerators to fabrics, goods arriving at local Maui traders are being affected by supply chain and shipping issues due to the pandemic.

At Hamai Appliance in Kahului, display models that are not normally for sale are sold if customers do not want to wait for shipment.

At Sew Special at the Queen Ka’ahumanu Center, fabrics and other items ordered last year have just arrived.

“It’s just the perfect storm,” said Tina Yamaki, president of Retail Merchants of Hawaii.

Yamaki explained on Tuesday that supply chain and shipping issues are reaching a critical point now, not only in Hawaii but everywhere else, pointing to the more than 60 container ships seen almost a week ago off the coast of coasts of southern California trying to make their way. in the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Local Maui merchants have said the foreign goods they receive go through these ports before being sent to them.

Hamai Appliance CEO Clyde Hamai walks past one of his “pukas” in his showroom. Hamai said there are many empty spaces where refrigerators would normally be, but due to slower shipping times, he cannot fill it fast enough.

Yamaki said recent shipping issues could be linked to the need for dock workers to practice social distancing, as well as heightened health measures such as mandatory vaccinations for employees, which could affect the schedule of operations and the number of staff available.

When the companies opened after the shutdown in the spring of 2020, manufacturers still had merchandise and goods in their warehouse, Yamaki said, so the supply was plentiful. But over time, that supply ran out, while manufacturers may have lost workers and manufacturing plants may have had to shut down from time to time due to cases of COVID-19, which have all disrupted the supply chain.

However, there is no shortage of fresh food to fly to Hawaii, and no one should go out to stock up on Clorox or toilet paper, she said.

“It’s on the way” she said products. “(But) you might not have the brand you want.”

“The next time you go to the stores, it might be on the shelves” she added.

At Hamai Appliance, CEO Clyde Hamai highlighted the multiple “Pukas” he had his showroom upstairs on Tuesday where there would normally be a refrigerator or dishwasher.

Hamai said that at the start of the pandemic supplies were worse.

“My floor was like a dance floor, it was empty” he said.

Now the devices are coming, but “he goes in and out.”

There’s no shortage of everything, but some models may take longer to arrive or be manufactured, Hamai said.

Some high-end device models could take six to eight months to arrive, as the manufacturer may only make a small number of models and push their manufacture to the end of the chain in favor of better-selling models.

Its supplier, GE, could be affected by shipping issues off California, where international supplies arrive. He said that GE has goods that come from Asia.

Hamai said there are home appliances available, but there may not be the style or model that buyers are looking for, although he does offer alternatives.

At Sew Special, Patricia Huntley said that while her suppliers may be based in the United States, the textile manufacturers of these suppliers may be in Japan or Korea, where COVID has also hit hard and may have disrupted the supply chain. ‘supply.

These fabrics in Asia must then be sent to the United States, where they are unloaded in California, and then sent to the supplier in the United States, who will then ship the product to Sew Special.

“Everything is linked” Huntley said of the time it takes for some of his products to arrive, which may have been exacerbated by the cargo ships lined up off the coast of southern California.

“People ask us, when are you expecting (a shipment)? “ said Huntley, who tells customers that “Honestly, we can’t give you a date.

The store was stocked with merchandise on Tuesday, some of which Huntleys said they ordered in bulk because they don’t want to run out if there’s another COVID-related shutdown.

“We are literally at the mercy of everyone else” she said.

* Melissa Tanji can be contacted at [email protected]

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