• ITVI.USA
    15,411.130
    -4.180
    0%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.740
    -0.021
    -0.8%
  • OTRI.USA
    21.110
    0.000
    0%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,375.870
    -11.650
    -0.1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    3.300
    0.000
    0%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.140
    0.190
    6.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.590
    0.150
    10.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.330
    0.020
    0.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.170
    0.020
    0.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    4.080
    0.130
    3.3%
  • WAIT.USA
    125.000
    -1.000
    -0.8%
  • ITVI.USA
    15,411.130
    -4.180
    0%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.740
    -0.021
    -0.8%
  • OTRI.USA
    21.110
    0.000
    0%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,375.870
    -11.650
    -0.1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    3.300
    0.000
    0%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.140
    0.190
    6.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.590
    0.150
    10.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.330
    0.020
    0.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.170
    0.020
    0.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    4.080
    0.130
    3.3%
  • WAIT.USA
    125.000
    -1.000
    -0.8%
American ShipperShippingWarehouse

Logistics dystopia

A movie theater owner in the heartland has been affected by port congestion.

   November and December are big months for the movie business, noted Mick Stieler, chief operating officer of Showplace Cinemas, a family-owned theater chain based in Evansville, Ind., that has 7 theaters with 70 screens.
   At his company’s “18-plex” in Evansville, Stieler is converting one of his theaters into what his firm calls a “Royal Suite,” where 60 moviegoers can sit in big comfortable chairs and enjoy a meal and beer while they watch the feature.
   It’s a concept that he says is popular with audiences; “we anticipated selling out all the showings, especially over weekends,” he said.
   One of the films he was hoping to show was Mockingjay, the third in the science fiction Hunger Games series that imagines a dystopia where children battle each other to the death. Instead, “The auditorium has been sitting empty, waiting. Everything else is ready to go. I figure if we had opened two months ago, it has cost us a couple hundred thousand dollars in admissions,” he said.
   What’s the problem? He said the seats, all contained in a single container, have been stuck in southern California because of port congestion.
   “We ordered these seats from a company called Dolphin Seating out of New Mexico, and they get all their seats from China. I ordered the seats back in June and was expecting to have them in September. We still don’t have them,” he said. “We are about two and a half months later than anticipated.” He said other theaters have been affected as well.
   Stieler, who has been getting frequent updates from both Dolphin and a forwarder, said he finally got good news on Monday when he was told the container had been put on a train. He was hoping the seats might arrive by the end of the week and that he would finally be able to open his new theater on Dec. 12.
   It’s unclear what the exact cause of the delay is, but Stieler put a poster outside his theater that read: “Due to union strike at the Long Beach-Los Angeles shipping ports, our VIP Recliners are stuck in a containers waiting transfer to rail. The strike has cause an almost standstill situation at the busiest U.S. port.” That notice caught the eye of a support group for port truck drivers that is trying to unionize in the port, and Stieler’s notice was put up on the Facebook page of Justice of Port Drivers, an affiliate of the Teamsters, with the banner “Port drivers’ voices are being heard.”
   However, it is possible the delay in shipment may not be related to the relatively short-lived strikes that port draymen have conducted, but the more general congestion at West Coast ports — congestion that the Pacific Maritime Association claims has been caused by slowdowns by members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union.
   Stieler is aware his is not the only industry being affected by port congestion.
   “I have an uncle who raises apples in Washington state, and he is trying to ship things out, and he can’t ship them out; his fruit is spoiling,” he said. “It is affecting a lot of people.”

Chris Dupin

Chris Dupin has written about trade and transportation and other business subjects for a variety of publications before joining American Shipper and Freightwaves.

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