Story at a glance
- Home Depot has contracted its own container ship ahead of the holiday season in an effort to ward off potential supply chain issues.
- The company previously attempted a variety of solutions, including air freight deliveries, to mitigate the effects of supply chain disruptions.
- But the ship marks the company’s first effort by sea.
Home Depot has reportedly contracted its own container ship ahead of the holiday season in an effort to ward off potential supply chain issues created in part by unpredictable swings in consumer buying patterns during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The company’s President and Chief Operating Officer Ted Decker told CNBC that the vessel is expected to begin running next month and will exclusively carry Home Depot products. Decker said the retailer, which is the nation’s third largest importer of ocean containers by volume, previously attempted a variety of solutions, including air freight deliveries, to limit supply disruptions. But the ship marks the company’s first effort by sea.
Jonathan Gold, vice president of supply chain and customs policy for the National Retail Federation, told CNBC that major retailers are racing toward a crucial moment as holiday demands could create further disruption.
“Right now, they are all trying to figure out ‘How do we mitigate that risk to make sure that we’ve got the product here in time for when those holiday season sales start?’” he said. “That could mean moving up timing for when you bring your product in, which could further lead to additional congestion and delays.”
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Gold said that the supply issues have affected industries of all sizes, and problem solving has become a top level priority.
“This really has risen up to the C-suite level, in terms of how are folks mitigating the ongoing challenges that they’re facing right now,” he said.
Decker, whose company’s sales reportedly rose by an estimated 31 percent last quarter, told the outlet he was taken aback by the widespread consumer shift toward home improvement projects.
“We have a solid, contracted amount of capacity that our suppliers have largely honored,” he said. ”[It’s] long-term thinking, ‘Covid doesn’t last forever so keep your best customers happy.’”
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