One of the big items being discusses it a lack of supplies. Boxes seem to be a big issue even though there are many box factories in the cigar countries. Part of the problem is the backlog since all cigar and box factories were closed at various times during the past year’s pandemic.
Further complicating the issue is the problem of getting items from China. Some companies use boxes made in China, and many of the popular lighters are also made there.
Earlier this month, the port city of Guangzhou reported a surge in Covid cases and the government immediately shut down that busy port. The shut down lasted about a week but that was enough. According to CNN the lockdown caused significant delays in Yantian another major port about 50 miles from Hong Kong. Prior to the shutdown, that port handled about 37,000 20-foot shipping containers every day. As a result, the week’s delay caused a ripple effect that had a domino effect forcing overloads at other ports. Even Los Angeles and Long Beach were affected as traffic jams overloaded those ports.
Then there is a shortage of shipping containers. Reports say North America faces a 40% imbalance so out of every 100 containers, 60 are accumulating and not productive. Reports say it is not likely to get better for some time which means delays of product. Also, the cost of the containers has nearly doubled adding to the freight costs for the manufacturers.
But not all the news was grim. Johnson said the demand for cigars is approaching the boom era of the 90s.
At the welcoming reception Friday night, everyone seemed optimistic about the market and the potential for sales. There were also several new cigars introduced from ACE Prime and Espinosa.