New releases are just arriving now, in mid-March. Why are they so late? And what do we expect to happen going forward this year? We've got some info directly from our Breyer rep whose job it is to watch the entire industry, from production to delivery.
This is an actual ship-tracking map from late February. Each yellow dot represents a freighter ship, using actual GPS data from the ships:
This map tells us a lot. First, the number of ships in transit shows that Chinese production of goods is ramping back up, so Breyer and other brand models are being "born" again after the huge slow-down created by COVID-19. That's the good news.
The bad news is that with every US industry low on product, all the factories are trying to ship as quickly as possible... This has resulted in a shortage of shipping containers! Also, if you look along the East Coast of the US, you'll see that huge traffic jams around the ports are stalling things. So many ships have arrived that our Customs Agency and Port Authorities can't unload and check in cargo quickly enough to keep up. Many ships are being anchored offshore to wait their turn, just idling, with crews being kept away from home and having to be paid for their time.
As the US is still dealing with the pandemic and new procedures to keep workers healthy, this traffic jam is expected to continue for a while longer, so we can continue to expect delays at least into summer, I'd expect.
Did you catch the part about ships having to idle at sea and crews having to be paid for this extra, non-productive time? All that fuel and payroll means extra cost to shipping companies. They need to pass on those costs, so you can bet that manufacturing costs are being increased. Manufacturers, including Breyer, will then have to pass on those costs to consumers, so we expect price increases for a lot of items that are imported - starting in mid-year, and possibly as soon as April.
My recommendation: If you can budget it, try to make purchases as soon as possible this year (if you have a tax refund coming, make good use of that!) before prices increase. This goes not only for model horses, but everything we import.
Remember also: Triple Mountain offers a payment plan, so you can order now to lock in the current price and then pay off your order over the next couple of months. (Lay-Buys payment plan rules and info here.)