Holiday Edition: Shipping delays, 2020 sales impacting fireworks availability

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — Shipping delays from China and record-breaking sales from last year are having an impact on fireworks supplies this Fourth of July, according to industry experts.

The owner of Extreme Fireworks in Rapid City, Douglas Bellinger, said a shortage is limiting the amount of products he can sell this year.

“It’s quite a shortage on the 24-shot artillery shells and a lot of our littler stuff that we sell,” Bellinger tells the Rapid City Journal.

According to Bellinger, fireworks supplies from China normally take 30 days for shipping, but this year it’s taking 60 days.

“There’s also trouble when they hit the docks and yards in California, getting a truck here is taking longer, too,” he said.

The fireworks industry was not immune to the coronavirus pandemic that caused closures and staffing problems in the supply chain.

“For example, we ordered seven containers and only got two of them, so we are five short,” Bellinger said. “Each container holds 800 to 1,000 cases, so the supply issues are impacting how much we have to sell.”

On top of that, Bellinger said fireworks have been in high demand since last year when more people celebrated Independence Day at home.

“Last year was a great year. They were wanting to get out and were tired of being cooped up,” he said. “It ran the supplies short here and emptied a lot of the warehouses. Plus, China did not have the people or the supplies or the materials to restock. That’s kind of where we are today.”