EXPECT EMPTY SHELVES: Shipping and supply challenges may persist into 2024, warns major distributor

EXPECT EMPTY SHELVES: Shipping and supply challenges may persist into 2024, warns major distributor
The Nassau Container Port.

“We thought it was bad last year but it has certainly gotten worse”

d’Albenas, AML Foods note struggle to keep shelves well stocked 

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — A prominent Bahamian distributor yesterday warned that shipping and supply challenges may persist into 2024, telling Eyewitness News they have “never seen it this bad”.

Philip G Smith, the d’Albenas Agency’s sales and marketing manager, in an interview with Eyewitness News yesterday said: “Everyone is hoping there is a turnaround in 2022 but right now, from what I am seeing and hearing from the manufacturers, it’s looking more like 2023 to 2024.

“I really hope I’m terribly wrong about that, but that’s what I’m hearing from the manufacturers. This is the worst I’ve ever seen it. It’s been very challenging and the challenges are not going to go away overnight.

“We thought it was bad last year but it has certainly gotten worse. There will undoubtedly be some empty shelves due to the inability to source certain products or get them in a reasonable time.”

Smith noted that his company, which was founded in 1947, has been doing its best to work with suppliers to ensure it mitigates supply shortages in the country.

 “There are challenges with shipping and manufacturing of some of the products that we carry. There are shortages to some extent because the pandemic has resulted in a shutdown of a number of manufacturing plants,” said Smith.

He added: “It’s really been a challenge and we have been working hard with our manufacturers. We have a number of goods on allocation and they tell us what we can order and what’s available.

“When you look at what’s happening in the US, major retailers like Walmart, Sam’s Club and Winn Dixie are having similar challenges. The difference is they can hire their own ships and have their own container pools. Their biggest problem is the lack of truck drivers.

“Everything slowed down during the pandemic. Goods weren’t in demand as much as they are now and the US government pumped in so much stimulus money that as fast as items are getting stocked, people were buying them up.”

Smith also noted that shipping and logistics is no small feat.

“We can’t import a container unless all the T’s are cross and I’s are dotted,.” said Smith.

“You need to have all of the necessary documentation and invoices, etc. You need about five or six documents to export a container out of Florida.

“It takes just one document not being ready for a container to be rolled and unable to ship. The folks in our shipping department are always on their toes. Sometimes there can be an email trail of 10 to 15 emails. Everything has to line up.

“When it gets here, you then have to clear Customs, pay Customs and pay the freight. You have to have all of your ducks in a row.”

Smith also noted that shipping to The Bahamas is done primarily through two companies: Tropical Shipping and the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC).

Gavin Watchorn, AML Foods CEO and president, also recently acknowledged supply chain shortages affecting the company.

He noted in a letter to consumers: “While we are all in uncharted territory over the past 18 months, we have adapted and faced the challenges head-on, and our relentless commitment to keeping our shelves well stocked and servicing our customers is stronger than ever.”


The local government needs to step in with a contingency plan and take control, as a plan B, by a collaborative effort in purchasing our own “ships & containers” and puts all necessary logistics even if it needs to sell “Sovereign Bonds” to that particular objective in order to secure proper and sufficient, “All kind Of Supplies,” for all people living in The Bahamas. Also the local fishing industry, if necessary, needs to be properly subsidies by a minimum effort from the government to bring down the price of all kind of fish for local consumers, not more expensive than a pound of chicken .
The improvement of public safety ought to be included in such “Contingency Plan” magnificently.
We are actually paying, in The Bahamas, taxes for two countries: Haiti & The Bahamas itself. And the logistics must be displayed fearly.

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