There are fears that a global shortage of COVID-19-induced glass bottles and jars will leave local businesses that use these containers to package produce for local and export markets with a lot of produce but very little to put it. .
Andrew Gray, Managing Director of Gray’s Pepper Products in Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland, said The gleaner that his company typically imports about seventy 40-foot glass bottle containers per year for its line of meat and fish sauces, jerk seasoning, and hot pepper sauce.
His company usually sources bottles from South and Central America, but these suppliers now even allocate a limited number of bottles to regular customers. He fears that local manufacturers will soon be forced to source bottles further afield at higher shipping costs, hampering any plans to expand the business.
Gray said his company has curtailed its appetite for new customers and markets for fear it will cause a distribution crisis with too many customers for too few products.
He said his supplier was only allocating a fraction of Gray’s requisitions, forcing the Westmoreland maker to tap into the Egyptian and Omani markets for bottles to fill the gap. The equation will be complicated by higher prices due to increased transportation costs and longer transit times.
The shortage could continue until 2022 as Gray’s usual supplier prepares to increase its capacity by adding another furnace, which will take a year to build.
“… You have to give them orders a year to a year and a half in advance. So usually for the end of the year we would order bottles in November, but now they ask you to order bottles for delivery in December 2022 in December 2021 to get it on time, ”Gray said, adding that it is still waiting for confirmation. on a shipment ordered in May.
“A lot of people don’t look for the long term, but I am. If we don’t have bottles, we can have products and have nothing to put them in, so that can have serious implications, ”the managing director told The Gleaner.
Media around the world have reported on the global shortage that has impacted several industries and products – from blood vials to beer bottles – citing plant closures, problems with the supply of sand to make the glass and international and COVID-19 tariffs impacting production and shipping. Added to this is the increased demand for glass to manufacture COVID-19 vaccine vials.
Salada Foods Jamaica Limited, which operates Jamaica’s largest coffee processing plant, told The Gleaner it was also affected.
The majority of Salada’s jar supply comes from South America and Costa Rica, and this supplier has now indicated the lead time is one year, said Managing Director Dianna Blake Bennett.
Salada uses a second supplier in China, which has its own challenges. These logistics have a period of six months. The coffee maker is also facing significant increases in shipping costs, from $ 3,000 per container to $ 15,000 per container.
“We were lucky because we pretty much saw it coming and therefore increased our jar inventory,” said Blake Bennett.
“I don’t think any business can – Salada certainly can’t – continue to absorb these levels of increase. So there is going to be an increase in prices, but as to what that will mean in the short term, I cannot disclose at this time. ”