Fireworks are a hot request. Supplies are dwindling and prices are rising, experts say.

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Buying fireworks for July 4th might be a bit more difficult on this holiday.

A nationwide shortage is expected to reduce consumer fireworks selection by about 30%, according to a few retailers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

“If you wait until July 2 or 3, you might see a lot of bare shelves,” said Julie L. Heckman, president of the American Pyrotechnic Association.

The shortfall is due to several factors linked to the coronavirus pandemic, Heckman explained.

US fireworks retailers rely heavily on Chinese manufacturers. Two years ago, they received 94% of their shares from China, German market data firm reported. Statistical. This year, however, delivery delays are affecting a wide range of products, including fireworks.

Some orders never left China, Heckman said, while others remain on ships in the Pacific Ocean or are backed up in ports.

“It’s all a bottleneck, and until the entire supply chain resolves, we’re going to see delays,” Heckman said.

Normally, retailers could dip into their inventory, except that last year’s cancellation of professional fireworks due to COVID-19 guidelines on public gatherings contributed to “the unprecedented sale and use of backyard fireworks, ”Heckman said.

“Retailers have run out of inventory, which never happens,” Heckman said.

The shortage is not impacting the professional pyrotechnic entertainment industry, she added.

Garden State Fireworks gears up for a range of holiday entertainment, from the celebration in Washington, DC to Beachwood in Ocean County.

“Given the significant damage caused by the COVID cancellations, we had a considerable inventory that we were carrying,” said August Santore, Jr., spokesperson for the 131-year-old family business based in Millington.

“Most people in the professional industry have done a pretty large inventory in 2021,” he said.

New Jersey has one of the country’s toughest fireworks laws, including a ban on personal-use aerial products, but an executive said the shortage could extend to even the simplest of items. such as sparklers.

“The shortage exists everywhere. It is not specific to any type of consumer fireworks display. These are just fireworks for consumers, ”said William Weimer, vice president and general counsel for the Ohio-based company. Ghost fireworks.

His company is opening three tent stalls in New Jersey – in East Brunswick, Woodbridge and Livingston – on Saturday.

Joe Van Oudenhove, Managing Director of Sky King Fireworks with a location in Easton on the New Jersey-Pennsylvania border, explained that fireworks are considered “dangerous goods” when shipped overseas, and ships are only allowed to have than a small percentage of their hold dedicated to this type of cargo.

So, since China continued to produce the massive number of fireworks to meet US demand during 2020 until this summer, this has led to a much larger supply with much less shipping possibilities. .

“(China) had to cut production at one point because they couldn’t ship it fast enough,” Van Oudenhove said. “It was purely a logistical problem.”

Weimer, who was asked for an example to illustrate the shortage, said customers would normally have a selection of 100 to 150 varieties of a 500-gram overhead repeater – a multi-tube device fused sequentially so that it doesn’t fire all at once – but this year it could be between only 20 to 25.

“It’s not allowed in New Jersey,” he said.

Heckman said his organization continued to list New Jersey as a “safe and sane states,” based on its restrictions on fireworks.

Until 2017, New Jersey was one of three states with a blanket fireworks ban that exempted permitted shows. Then the law was changed to allow personal use of sparkling ground-based devices and novelties, such as sparklers and smoke devices, including smoke balls, candles, and cones.

Aerial fireworks for consumers – including fireworks, air rockets, bottled rockets, and Roman candles, among others – remain not allowed in New Jersey, although it has not been uncommon for New Jersey residents to defy the law by driving just over the Delaware River to shop.

Weimer said the fireworks, for the previous holiday, were generally a “last-minute impulse buy,” but he encouraged customers not to wait too long this year.

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Rob Jennings can be reached at [email protected].

Connor Lagore can be reached at [email protected].

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