Christmas tree shortage expected amid global supply shortage

Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 4:07 PM CDT
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(CNN) - For Americans this holiday season, whether they check off one essential item on their Christmas list depends on the global supply shortage.

Artificial Christmas trees are the latest fallout from the ongoing global supply chain crisis that is causing a massive shipping backlog.

James Li, the supplier for National Tree Company in China, says his factory has a backlog of about 150 containers of Christmas trees worth about $3 million waiting to be shipped out.

Li said that many ships came to the United States but have not returned from the ports. Because of that, the goods cannot be shipped out.

The company has rented storage space to store the trees that would normally already be in the U.S.

Li warns that if the shipping backlog continues, many people may not be able to buy Christmas trees this year.

Many of those Christmas trees made in China end up at National Tree Company, a company in New Jersey that sells to retailers like Target and Amazon.

The shortage is jamming up ports in California where many storage container ships are sitting off the coast of Los Angeles.

National Tree Company Chief Executive Officer Chris Butler said that every day is a fight to get container ships.

“We’re fighting against toy manufacturers, electronics manufacturers, other manufacturers to get the containers, and we’re having to pay a lot more for those containers,” Butler said.

Butler said his company is paying 10 times more this year to bring their products across the ocean compared to last year.

“Because of that, we’re having to pass on some of those price increases to the consumer,” he said.

As a result, a 20% to 25% increase in the price of artificial trees is expected this year if you are lucky enough to still find one by Thanksgiving.

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