Overseas shipping, transportation within the country, rising insurance costs and labour shortages have led to cancellation of pyrotechnic displays, industry officials say.
Fireworks buffs in some US cities are in for a dud of a July 4 holiday as supply chain disruptions deny them the traditional pyrotechnic shows lighting up the summer sky, industry representatives have said.
Displays have been cancelled in cities across the United States, including Phoenix, Arizona; Sacramento, California; Minneapolis, Minnesota and College Park, Maryland.
Steve Houser, President of the National Fireworks Association, said on CNN: "I think a lot of the really big shows, the companies are obviously working very hard to keep those open because they draw such a level of attention. You know, things like Washington, Chicago, New York."
"A lot of the mid-market sizes... they're the ones that are suffering, I think, the most."
Among other things, he said, prices have surged.
Shipping used to cost $9,800 per container, but has spiked to $36,000, Houser said.
Supply chain impacted by Covid
Supply chain snarls throughout the pandemic have been exacerbated by strict Covid-19 lockdowns abroad and Russia's assault on Ukraine, limiting product supply and driving up costs for what is available.
Fireworks are only the latest casualty of this mess.
College Park near Washington DC cited "Covid-19's continued impact on the supply chain" as the reason for calling off the show, as did Phoenix.
The Cal Expo state fair in Sacramento said it was also facing staffing shortages.
Ocean City, Maryland and Tempe, Arizona have also called off the fireworks on America's birthday. And many communities in Texas have been banned from setting off fireworks because of wildfire hazards due to recent hot, dry weather.
Overseas shipping, transportation in the US, rising insurance costs and labour shortages have led to the cancelled displays, along with demand for fireworks shows at concerts, sports stadiums and the Fourth of July holiday that largely were absent during the first two years of the pandemic, said Julie Heckman, executive director of the American Pyrotechnics Association.
“"The demand is so high that it's almost like a perfect storm," Heckman said, adding that not having enough crew to work the shows or rental trucks to transport materials have added to the crunch.
China produces most of the professional-grade fireworks that shoot up into the air and produce colorful, dazzling bursts in various shapes. The shortage doesn't lie in manufacturing, Heckman said, but in congestion at US ports.