JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Small businesses in Jacksonville are experiencing more supply chain problems than all but one other city in the country.
It may come as a shock to see Jacksonville so high on the list, considering it is a port city.
According to Jacksonville Port Authority, 80% of the goods that come through the port stay in Florida, and most of the goods remain in northeast Florida.
Still, the report found one out of three small businesses in the Bold City expect they’ll likely need to find a new supplier within the next six months.
Frank Wallmeyer, the steward of Standard Feed & Seed on Kings Road, has experienced supply chain hardships since the pandemic began.
First, it was plastic items.
Wallmeyer said he had “huge issues with trying to get that out of China.”
Many of those issues have now been resolved, but at the same time, new supply shortages are emerging.
“We’ve got some issues with seeds. We’ve got some issues with bird food. Those are our two biggest problem areas right now,” said Wallmeyer.
Wallmeyer isn’t alone.
In the Bold City, 33.5% of small businesses will soon need a new supplier.
That’s compared to just 25.4% across Florida as a whole.
“I would say the biggest thing is probably the types of industries that are there,” said Matt Clements, senior editor at HelpAdvisor.
Clements said Jacksonville’s aviation, aerospace, shipping and manufacturing companies are particularly vulnerable to supply chain woes.
Also, Florida’s long-distance from California ports adds extra delays for materials coming in from Asia.
“It takes almost a month longer — 20 to 30 days longer — to get to Florida,” said Clements.
Adding additional stress on the local supply chain, HelpAdvisor found Jacksonville ranked third in the nation for small businesses experiencing difficulties finding employees.
“It affects what they can produce and deliver directly to their customers or the people who are then making the next good or next product downstream,” said Clements.
But Clements added that JAXPORT has recently stepped up in ways that could help alleviate supply chain problems both locally and nationally.
New shipment routes coming directly from Asia have recently begun, and last month, a $62 million agreement to boost trade with Puerto Rico was announced.
Long term, JAXPORT has also taken measures to accept larger vessels.
“There’s an opportunity there for Jacksonville to be kind of a hero,” said Clements.
While Jacksonville may have an opportunity to lead, Clements predicts it could still be 20 to 30 months before supply chain issues are fully resolved.
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