CHATSWORTH, Calif. - "I can't wait for 2020 to be over," says Isaac Larian.
And for good reason.
Like all of us, Larian has had plenty of frustration from the pandemic. He owns MGA Entertainment in Chatsworth, a toy-making company. They make what Larian calls some very popular toys that may not get to the stores in time for Christmas because they’re sitting out at the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles.
As for the toys, one is "LOL Surprise." They are non-bouncy balls in which there are surprise little dolls inside. He says that in the USA, they are the #1 selling toy.
Two others that are also popular are "Little Tikes" and Rainbow High" fashion dolls. What Larian wasn't counting on was a back up of exported cargo from Chinese ships at the two ports. His products are sitting out at the ports because of the pandemic and various protocol issues. There's also the issue of a back up of available trucks to carry them from the docks to the stores.
Mario Cordero, the executive director of the Port of Long Beach, says "there is a full-court press to address the issue."
He says that's needed because of the perfect pandemic-related storm of many issues going on.
He says it's the trucks and COVID-19 protocols and staffing.
"A combination of all of the above," Cordero added.
Cordero says for the first months of the pandemic, things slowed way down at the Port of Long Beach because COVID-19 closed down Chinese exporting. When it opened back up, there was a lot of product heading to our ports.
He says, "as we began the summer, manufacturing from China was up 100% and all of a sudden, we had all of this backup cargo coming in at the same time that we have the ordinary peak season."
So that, he says, triggered a confluence of issues that led to the situation we have including absolutely the COVID-19 impact. Cordero says medical supplies and PPE's take precedence over other imports.
To Larian it's frustrating. He believes that as a result "some families will not get these toys until after Christmas."
There are 41 containers waiting to be trucked away at the Port of LA. At the Port of Long Beach, there are 156. The company says that represents 635,000 toys.
Larian says eventually the kids will get their toys... maybe not by Christmas but "… It's not the end of the world. People are safe and nobody gets sick that's the most important thing."