Industry & News,  Industry Articles,  Keys Articles

Special Important Notice – China

China Severe Shipping Bottleneck- Critical Message, August 30, 2021

Dear Customers and Retailers,

Wendy Steele, Keys CEO & Founder

As you probably have read the headlines, there is a severe supply situation worldwide resulting from Covid. It is becoming extremely tough to get products and materials out of China. It is the proverbial Catch-22!  Keys have no immunity to this situation because some containers we use are made in China. As an FYI, almost all skin and personal care products on the market today have to rely on China because the US and Europe have stopped manufacturing the containers and bottles.  Hopefully, this will change, but for now, all those made in China stickers you see on just about everything are going to be harder and harder to get.

Thousands of stranded product containers in China

This is an image of the supply chain roadblock in China. Below is a graphic of the 100+ container ships sitting outside of Long Beach, California harbor.  Some for over a month.

Today! Over 100 Container Ships containing a thousand containers each.  Waiting To Be Unloaded in LA. A site repeated all over the USA

There are no train cars to load containers onto to distribute to locations across the country. There are no empty containers in China because they are all sitting in harbors worldwide waiting to be unloaded or waiting for ships to return home. Container ships are hitting 24 knots (28 mph) transoceanic speeds only to sit in ports worldwide for weeks and months. Containers can not get unloaded because they are waiting for trains or people to load them. The supply of empty containers back to China is halted because the full ones cannot be unloaded or delivered. For example, Keys logistics (our team) has had our 100ml airless bottles in a container in a railyard since mid-May, and we have no idea where they are. We have no idea when we will see them. None! The situation is terrible as it gets and is an after-shock of Covid that few predicted. It’s called world logistics, and it is broken.

China bulker pileup dwarfs California container-ship gridlock. Nothing in. Nothing out.  This graphic as or this writing shows 409 container ships waiting outside Chinese ports.  Airports look the same.

The reason for my note is not to alarm you but to inform you of what we are doing and what you might notice.

We are purchasing available supplies in the US and Europe of bottles and containers that we use. These include airless bottles, foamers, liquids bottles, and jars. We are buying what we can find, and the good news is that most of the big brands use all custom bottles. We usually stock a few months’ supplies of these components anyhow and stretching that out now because we do not see an end to the China bottleneck anytime soon.  We have what we need now and for the foreseeable future.

So, in the next months and quarters, you might notice bottles and containers that are the same size but different colors or shapes. They might have a different finish, or the labels may not fit exactly the same. There might be subtle changes.

Okay, the good news is that none of our ingredients come from China. Almost every primary ingredient comes from solid sustainable natural vendors, and we typically use transporters like FedEx Flying Tigers, UPS, and DHL for the more exotic ingredients. We also have backup vendors that we have tested their ingredient compatibility in our formulas. Said, we do not believe the component/bottle supply chain will be stable for months and maybe years. Always fingers-crossed, we will stay on top of things until this smooths out.

So, don’t panic. Luck favors the prepared.

But if I were you, I would start my holiday shipping now!

Wendy Steele

Keys CEO