• Port labor dispute puts some items in short supply

    By: Graham Johnson


    SEATTLE - The effects of the labor dispute, which include slowing work at West Coast ports, could soon be felt by shoppers at McLendon Hardware.

    Some spring merchandise, like patio furniture, is stuck on cargo ships. 

    Filler material, like storage cabinets, is now placed in aisles where outdoor living items usually start appearing this time of year.

    "We're definitely seeing things trickle in a lot slower," said Director of Purchasing Jeremy Owen.

    "The further it drags out, the bigger the ripple effect will be," Owen said.

    The port slowdown is leaving ships at anchor carrying many items you'd want to buy.

    While individual consumers haven't seen many shortages yet, companies are preparing.

    Carmakers Honda and Subaru are now flying parts to American factories to keep production on schedule.

    Workers at Kinesis on Tuesday searched online to find the ship with their cargo container anchored in the Canadian Gulf Islands.

    The small Bothell company makes top-end ergonomic keyboards.

    President Will Hargreaves pointed to a small pile of boxes showing what's left in stock of his most popular product.

    "We're currently rationing what we have but that won't last for long," Hargreaves said. "When a dealer wants to buy 20, we say, 'Can you get by with 5?'"

    Hargreaves has diverted some accessories to air transport, which can cost three to five times more than ocean shipping.

    ​"If this becomes a permanent problem, we'll probably have to raise our prices," Hargeaves said.

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