SEATTLE - If you have driven along I-5 through Seattle or Tacoma over the past several days, you might have noticed big-rig trucks and trailers are multiplying. Some days there are so many waiting to enter the ports they end up causing heavy congestion on the freeways.
The pandemic is still causing major disruptions for supply chains from Asia and other parts of the world. Maritime traffic is up double-digits according to the Port of Seattle.
While the economy lurches back to some sense of normal, the kinks in the global supply chain are having ripple effects on even small mom-and-pop businesses.
"I think about it frequently, how lucky we are," said Anna Copley, co-founder at PickleballCentral.com.
Copley boasts their online website is the world’s largest pickleball reseller in the world and it all happens at a warehouse in Kent.
"The world is just starting to find out about pickleball just now so we’re really starting to see it tip into the mainstream," she said.
Many of the products sold by her company arrive in Kent via container ship from Asia. Since the onset of the pandemic, business is up around 50 percent, she said.
The global supply chain is still reverberating since the shutdowns. Today, the Port of Seattle says imports are up 25 percent since this time last year. Depending on the industry, products like bicycles, toys or pickleball paddles have been hard to keep stocked on the shelves.
"It was really touch and go," said Copley.
Prior to the pandemic, staffers working inside the Kent warehouse would also play pickleball on courts painted on the floor. Today the pickleball courts are covered with stacks of boxes atop pallets.
Copley said an uncertain supply chain forced the company to get creative, sometimes ordering larger quantities of products to ensure customers enjoyed access to a wide array of items rather than being unable to fill orders.
"We will buy in excess so we have a cushion just in case," said Copley.
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