Supply crunch continues to leave goods shortages and higher prices

“A real problem that has hit us right between the eyes”

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The global supply crunch has pet foods, cars, and even mayonnaise running low.

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As he unpacks a shipment of goods at his specialty Bark & Meow Pet Store, Charles Ng considers himself lucky everything arrived — this time.

“While there have been supply problems, the real impact is down to my customers,” Ng said. “There’s been supply issues with Royal Canin cat food. And many of them have switched to a different brand as a result.”
In the wake of the pandemic, he has had difficulty ensuring certain specialty goods arrive – not just on time – but at all.

Charles Ng, owner of Bark and Meow pets supplies, on Floor St. West at Christie St. is Toronto’s first and only retailer specializing in vegan food and treat options for dogs and cats. He says it has been tough acquiring everything from food to leashes for pets. Jack Boland/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network
Charles Ng, owner of Bark and Meow pets supplies, on Floor St. West at Christie St. is Toronto’s first and only retailer specializing in vegan food and treat options for dogs and cats. He says it has been tough acquiring everything from food to leashes for pets. Jack Boland/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network

One supplier in the Netherlands stopped shipping to Canada because the availability of containers is so tight, their cost tripled.

Across town, shortage is a major speed bump at Downtown Toyota.

“This is the worst inventory situation that we have been in, in the forty years I’ve been in the car business. I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Owner Shahid Alizadeh who has ten dealerships selling thirteen brands.

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He’s never seen his showrooms so empty of inventory.

Dealers usually have 60-75 days’ supply.

Alizadeh said most of his are down to just ten days.

“This is real,” he said of a problem affecting all facets of his industry : from electronic chips, to shipping container cost, to parts.

“This is a case of a real problem that has hit us right between the eyes.”

His view is this will take between a year and half to two years to fix.

As a shipment of potatoes arrived at their Danforth restaurant The Edmund Burke — Russell Piffer and Ginger Robertson describe how some raw goods are mired in supply slowdowns.

“The costs are insane,” said Robertson. “Mayonnaise has disappeared off the shelves because of a canola issue.”

Overall scarcity has driven up prices for what they need to run their restaurants.

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“Take out containers have gone up. Everything is just absolutely through the roof. I look at the bills that come in and I just cannot believe it,” Robertson said.

Her husband and business partner said the shutdown — followed by reopening — set the table for shock to the global economic system.

“Demand was really low and now it’s really high,” Piffer said.

Some restaurants fear some wines might become unavailable.

In 15 years in the industry, I’ve never seen it like this,” Said Greg batters of La Fenice on King St. W.

“Three of my wine suppliers mentioned to me that their recommendation going into the Christmas season would be to do a weekly wine list instead of a standard one. They can’t promise to have the same labels or vintages in stock.”

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