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Gigabyte: COVID-19 Surge At L.A. Ports Delaying Shipments

In an internal document, the Taiwanese company, which makes motherboards, servers and graphics cards, said a slowdown in container processing at the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach is causing delays and cited an article about hundreds of dockworkers who have contracted COVID-19 at the ports.

Server and PC components vendor Gigabyte said it is experiencing “serious” delays in product shipments due to a slowdown in container processing at the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in California.

The Taipei City, Taiwan-based company disclosed the container unloading slowdown as one of many supply chain issues it’s having in an internal presentation titled “2021 Q1 Supply Chain Review” that was recently shared with partners and obtained by CRN. The presentation bears the Aorus name, which is Gigabyte’s brand for premium gaming laptops, components and peripherals.

[Related: Intel, AMD CEOs Urge Biden To Boost U.S. Chip Manufacturing]

Gigabyte did not respond to a request for comment.

The company, which makes motherboards, servers and graphics cards, said container unloading “has taken longer than usual” since the second quarter of 2020. As of January, the company said, 15 containers that arrived at the Los Angeles port in early December had still not left.

“To date (Jan 2021), Gigabyte still has around 15 containers arriving LA port in early Dec. 2020 waiting for custom clearance,” the company said in the presentation.

In the slide about the container slowdown, Gigabyte cited a Jan. 20 article by The Los Angeles Times about nearly 700 dockworkers at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports contracting COVID-19. The newspaper said the high rate of infected workers has prompted port executives, union leaders and elected officials to mount “an urgent campaign to initiate dockworker vaccinations, fearing that a labor shortage could force terminal shutdowns.”

“We’ve got more cargo than we do skilled labor,” Eugene Seroka, executive director of the Los Angeles port, told The Los Angeles Times. “We are told 1,800 workers are not going on the job due to COVID right now. That can [include] those who are isolating through contact tracing or awaiting test results. Or maybe [those who] fear … going on the job when a lot of people are sick.”

The Los Angeles port’s operator said on Twitter Thursday that all of its terminals are open and operational.

Other supply chain issues cited by Gigabyte included increasing freight costs, an increased demand for GPUs and memory tied to the recent bitcoin price surge, a 25 percent tariff on PC component imports from China and a multitude of shortages among semiconductor vendors.

Kent Tibbils, vice president of marketing at ASI, a Fremont, Calif.-based IT distributor that sells Gigabyte products, said the coronavirus pandemic has posed major logistics problems and not just at the port of entry but also where shipments originate. He added that he hadn’t heard about Gigabyte’s specific issues but didn’t find the news surprising as it’s an issue impacting multiple vendors.

“We’re definitely having slowdowns in processing on products that we’re ordering. And so we’re hearing it not just from Gigabyte” but also from vendors of monitors, power supplies and cases, he said.

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