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Pool Industry Feels Trickle-Down Effects of Container Delays

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Pool Builders Waiting For Cargo on Ships Stuck at Sea - Container Delays Affect Pool Industry

The trickle-down effect of container ship delays can be felt far and wide throughout the pool industry. A veritable conga line of cargo ships now sits in a holding pattern outside of Southern California’s busiest two ports. Last week the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach reported over 100 ships waiting to unload their containers. The news of this record-breaking supply chain crisis will come as no surprise to those in the pool industry who have been feeling the pain of delays all summer long.

The two southern California ports both account for roughly 40% of container ships entering the United States. The last year has seen an incredible surge in traffic come through Southern California. It was unusual for ships to wait more than a day for a berth at the Los Angeles complex prior to the outbreak of Covid-19. These days, locals in Southern California have become used to seeing the flotilla of container vessels moored offshore awaiting entry into port. Each day, new arriving cargo ships add to the growing backlog.

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Ongoing delays unloading cargo in two of the nation's busiest ports has plagued the pool industry all summer long.
Ongoing delays unloading cargo in two of the nation’s busiest ports have plagued the pool industry this year.

The story is the same all throughout the West Coast. The traffic bottleneck of container ships in San Francisco has gotten so bad that in June, the US Coast Guard had asked ships not to enter the bay at all.

A recent review of 351 ports around the world rated the Los Angeles complex #328 behind Tanzania. The neighboring Long Beach facility fared even worse coming in at #333 behind Turkey and Kenya. The frustration at the inefficiency to unload these ships has prompted President Biden to announce the ports will begin running 24/7 to keep up with demand. However, whether this will actually come to pass in time for the holiday season remains in question.

“It’s not a single lever we can pull today to open up all the gates,” said Gene Seroka, Executive Director for the Port of Los Angles, indicating that the exact timeline for changing to round the clock operations still remains unclear

Embed from Getty Images

How Delays Are Affecting The Pool Industry

News of cargo delays has prevailed throughout the media for months. It’s only within the last few weeks that the number jumped from 30 ships to 60, to now over 100 ships now waiting according to the most recent report. Anthony Reid, a pool builder in Los Angeles, has been waiting for materials for months and described the aggravation the situation is causing. “I’ve got 5 customers waiting for decking and everything is on a boat sitting 20 miles away,” said Reid, “I can wave at it but can’t touch it. It’s the most frustrating feeling imaginable to have to tell a homeowner who has been waiting for months they have to be patient. Truthfully, I have no idea when they are going to unload. I’ve been tap dancing so much on the phone these past few weeks, I feel like Sammy Davis Junior.”

Reid isn’t the only one struggling to meet commitments to clients, countless other builders are in a similar situation. Pomona-based builder Frank Druthers has been feeling the backlash on social media and Google. “Some customers are more understanding than others. We’re all relegated to waiting for these ships to unload,” said Druthers, “It’s an awful feeling being at the mercy of the ports but this is our reality right now.”

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Shipping Delays Continue To Plague Pool Industry

Adjusting to a New Reality of Rising Costs

Some builders have had more success than others at maintaining supply chains during the recent crisis. While some have been able to continue operating without much disruption, many others have had to adjust. The new norm seems to be paying higher than normal prices for shipping. In addition, the waiting time for receiving materials has gone up by months.

Paying More & Waiting Longer Is The New Norm

The average cost of shipping a container from Shanghai to Los Angeles is now $18,345. For those keeping score, that’s roughly six times higher than it was a year ago. One company recently got a quote from an ocean carrier for $32,000 for a single container. While rerouting may seem the best solution, that has gotten more expensive too. The average price for shipping a 40-foot container to the East Coast has gone up to $19,620.

What The Pool Industry Is Doing

During a Town Hall meeting, we co-hosted with the Talking Pools podcast, the subject of the ongoing logistic delays and cargo issues plaguing the industry came up more than once.

Alpha West representative, Korey Wax suggested that professionals that have established solid relationships with their distributors may have an easier time than those who haven’t. “Pool companies are relying on the relationships with individual branches,” said Wax, “The people that are really suffering are the guys that don’t have a relationship because they’ve been ordering off a web portal. When they go into a random branch, the manager and counter guys don’t recognize that individual so those supplies are magically not there because they are being reserved for their core customers.”

Lingering uncertainty about delivery dates is causing builders to settle for whatever alternative products are available. Out of sheer desperation, businesses are experimenting with new materials in lieu of products that have extended waiting times for delivery. Consequently, there are others that are willing to pay higher than premium prices to ensure that they have the materials on hand to accommodate demand.

Fake News – There Are Not 200,000 Cargo Ships Waiting To Be Unloaded

In a recent survey of builders, 90% reported being directly impacted by delays. However, in the same survey, 40% reported they believed the delays were inflated or overblown in the news. One false image that has been shared thousands of times on social media has definitely inflated the numbers. An image that went viral involved grossly misstated figures with misleading information. The image being circulated on Facebook said that there were over 200,000 cargo ships waiting to be unloaded in the U.S. This is obviously wildly inaccurate; there are less than 56,000 merchant vessels in the entire world, let alone 200,000 offshore.

Fake news that went viral earlier last week incorrectly depicted thousands of cargo ships waiting to be unloaded.

Real News – There is a Container Crisis, Everyone Will Feel It This Holiday Season

Whether pool industry professionals believe they are directly affected or not, delays impacting prices is an absolute certainty. A wave of shipping consolidation over the past few decades means fewer alternatives. It is a fact that almost every single home in the United States depends on cargo that is arriving via the ports of Los Angeles or Long Beach. How much consumers ultimately pay is indirectly correlated to what is going on in the ports. Experts warn that consumers will almost undoubtedly see more out-of-stock notices, fewer deals, and longer delivery times this holiday season. 

California shipping container backlog, excluding tankers & recreational vessels via Marine Traffic – October 26, 2021

What Caused The Bottle Neck

The bottleneck this year is due to an increase in imports. Consumer demand has shifted away from services and toward goods and home improvements. This has directly affected businesses’ ability to replenish supplies that were depleted last year during the early months of the pandemic. While analysts predict the situation to improve sometime in 2022, experts say the situation is bound to continue to get worse before it begins to get better.

Why We Can’t Just Re-Route Everything

Some of the builders we spoke to asked why container ships couldn’t simply be rerouted to the Gulf or the East Coast. This has been suggested by many observers who believe that the easiest recourse is to reroute cargo. Pragmatically, rerouting to New York and New Jersey is completely out of the question, their ports appear to be just as inundated. In a recent press conference, Governor Ron DeSantis invited ships to reroute and offload in Florida, which has several ports.

While some shippers have done so, that alternative can be extremely costly. Ultimately, most of the material coming in on these vessels is coming from Asia. Rerouting to alternate ports isn’t so cut and dry and typically adds weeks of additional transit time. Ships that opt to take a longer route face more expensive transit costs than shipping to the West Coast. The logistical issues of transporting that cargo with trucks cross country also becomes an inevitable issue that ultimately adds additional costs and concerns.

Realistically, there may not be a magic bullet or easy solution to the problem California ports are facing. Staffing problems unloading and transporting cargo have snarled traffic to a crawl in both directions. The container shortage has got to the point where Maersk (one of the largest shipping companies) recently sent notices to trucking and logistics firms pleading for the return of containers.


4.8/5 - (14 votes)

Editor in Chief of Pool Magazine - Joe Trusty is also CEO of PoolMarketing.com, the leading digital agency for the pool industry. An internet entrepreneur, software developer, author, and marketing professional with a long history in the pool industry. Joe oversees the writing and creative staff at Pool Magazine. To contact Joe Trusty email info@poolmagazine.com or call (916) 467-9118 during normal business hours. For submissions, please send your message to submissions@poolmagazine.com

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Tesla Pool – Automaker Adds Swimming Pool To Charger Station

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Tesla Swimming Pool

One of the primary reasons consumers opt to purchase a Tesla is the robust availability of convenient charging stations. Recently, the automaker has experimented with adding amenities to its charging stations. New cube lounges at a Supercharger station in Germany come equipped with automated coffee, food, and more. Tesla is also adding other options and fun activities for drivers to enjoy while they wait for their vehicles to charge. The newest amenity they’re currently experimenting with is an above ground swimming pool.

A clip of the pool being installed prior to launch was shared with news sources.

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The swimming pool can be used by up to 4 people at a time for 10 minutes, giving folks just enough time to change into their swim suits and enjoy a quick dip while their vehicle charges. There are even Tesla-branded beach balls to play with while they’re swimming in the shipping container style above ground pool.

This promotional popup will open at the Tesla charging station in Hilden, Germany; which incidentally is one of the largest in the country with 40 chargers and 8 superchargers. The pool will be open from Thursday until Sunday. Tesla owners can drop in for a swim from 2:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m.

What do you think about this idea? Is this something you’d like to see in the United States? Sound off in the comments and let us know.

3/5 - (2 votes)

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Pool Rental App Swimply Is The New Side Hustle For Homeowners

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Pool Rental App Swimply Is The New Side Hustle For Homeowners

Pool rental marketplace Swimply has created the ultimate side hustle for homeowners. Spending upwards of $100,000 to create the ultimate luxury outdoor living area is an investment some are willing to make. This is especially true if one can be confident they will recoup that investment quickly. Renting the pool to friends and neighbors is one smart way to do just that.

The Pool Rental Concept

Pool rentals are sweeping the nation and the innovative online marketplace Swimply is leading the charge. Described as “Airbnb of swimming pools,” Swimply debuted last year. According to the firm, there are over 20,000 swimming pools in all 50 states, as well as in Canada and Australia.

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After recently raising $40M in funding from AirBnB and Lime co-founders last year, Swimply is poised for tremendous growth moving into 2023. The service has been rapidly gaining traction with consumers who are attracted by the ability to rent a swimming pool by the hour.

Renting a pool by the hour may can be very profitable. Swimply has created the marketplace for renting a pool.
Renting a pool by the hour may can be very profitable. Swimply has created the marketplace for renting a pool.

Swimply’s Business Model is Unique

In the sharing economy, Swimply, definitely deserves recognition for their offering. Providing a marketplace that allows buyers and sellers to connect and rent a pool is at the core of the company’s business plan. The model is simple, Swimply takes 15% of the booking fee from hosts and 10% from guests.

Swimply’s pool rental marketplace can be lucrative for hosts and may not be as weird as it sounds. As water recreational facilities were shut down by COVID in the last two years, Swimply has emerged to fill the vacuum. Consequently, the company has grown exponentially.

We spoke with Swimply Co-Founder and COO Asher Weinberger last year about the revolutionary new technology which is connecting homeowners with an open marketplace of consumers looking to rent a backyard for a few hours.

Listen to our conversation on the Pool Magazine podcast:

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Pool Rental Marketplace Grew 5,000% During Covid

After a soft launch back in 2019, Weinberger quickly realized that the public was elated with their offering. “There was a tremendous amount of interest and at the time we could only meet 10 to 15% of the demand,” said Weinberger. “That helped set the stage for us because we learned a lot about what people wanted and how they were using the platform.”

“We caught huge tailwinds in light of Covid and grew roughly 5,000% year over year,” said Weinberger. Since then, Swimply’s marketplace has exploded with consumers searching for a safe recreational experience with friends and loved ones in an open outdoor setting. This has been true both on the guest side and the host side.

Homeowners Look To Monetize Their Pool

It appears that word has definitely begun to spread that renting your pool is a sweet new side hustle. One man in particular recently made the news after he reportedly netted $177,000 just by renting out his pool and backyard.

Jim Battan of West Linn, Oregon, told news sources, “I love to say that the pool has paid for itself and more. I built a man cave last year, and also credit that to my Swimply pool.”

Swimply As a Side Hustle

Being a Swimply host isn’t for everyone, according to Battan. The side hustle does require a fair amount of work on the part of the host. Maintaining the pool between guests involves much more than simply setting out fresh towels. His 26-foot by 18-foot pool and its accompanying pool house has cost him roughly $37,000 in maintenance over the last decade. On a typical week, Battan estimates that he and his wife Lisa spend approximately 12 to 14 hours cleaning and testing the water’s chemicals as well as managing all of their bookings.

“I love the income, but I generally caution people from it,” Battan told reporters. “Unless you’re retired or don’t have a day job, it takes a lot of time to learn about pool chemistry and management. It’s not good enough to just rely on a once-a-week service to come out look at your stuff. I look at my pool chemicals probably five to 10 times a day.”

Renting Your Pool By The Hour Can Be Profitable

It’s also important to note that Battan’s pool represents the best-case scenario. Currently, he’s Swimply’s top earner out of 25,000 pools in the U.S., Canada, and Australia. The average host earnings are between $10,000 to $20,000 per year.

Ned Gilardino is another top earner from Aurora, Colorado who is cashing in on the lucrative side hustle. Last year he rented his pool out roughly 500 times clearing close to $50,000 in the process.

“Not only has the extra money paid for the cost of maintaining the pool,” Gilardino told news sources, “it has actually brought in an entire new revenue stream for my family.”

Pool rentals vary by price and can be filtered to meet price, features, and amenities. - Photo Credit: Swimply
Pool rentals vary by price and can be filtered to meet price, features, and amenities. – Photo Credits: Swimply

Homeowners who are looking for MSI’s (multiple sources of income) can certainly put Swimply on their list of resources. Typically most swimming pools on the platform rent between $15 and $75 an hour. However, there appears to be no limit on how much hosts can earn. We’ve seen some pools in premium areas such as Beverly Hills rent for as much as $200 an hour. Those with luxury amenities in their backyard obviously can charge towards the higher end of the spectrum.

Guests can search for an ideal backyard in their price range to throw a pool party and even filter their search to show properties that have specific amenities. Finding a backyard with a fire pit, or an outdoor grilling area, or one that allows pets, is easy. Swimply made it simple to narrow down selections with the ideal features consumers are looking for.

The interface is simple and intuitive to use on both ends. Swimply also made it super easy for homeowners to track their reservations, communicate with guests and quickly get their pool rental up in their easy-to-use marketplace.

Swimply’s Contribution To The Shared Economy

Given that public pools are closing at an alarming rate, Swimply has also started filling a gap in underserved communities, much the way Uber and other sharing economy platforms have.

While the shared economy is a young concept itself; Swimply’s arrival simply ushers something we will undoubtedly see even more of in years to come. Though unexpected and a newcomer; one thing is certain, homeowners and consumers have embraced the concept of renting a pool by the hour.

4.6/5 - (17 votes)

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Sinkhole in Swimming Pool Kills Man, Swallows Guests

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Sinkhole in Swimming Pool Kills Man, Swallows Guests

A man was found dead after being swallowed by a sinkhole that opened up in a private swimming pool. The incident transpired in Israel where authorities are still trying to figure out what caused two men to be swept away by the receding water after a sinkhole sprang up within an inground swimming pool at a private property in central Israel. One was recovered dead at the scene on Thursday afternoon.

The body was located by search crews in the town of Karmei Yosef after a four-hour recovery operation conducted by rescue personnel who were lowered deep underground. The search was hampered by concerns that tunnels extending from the sinkhole could lead to a second collapse.

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It took rescuers several hours of searching before they were able to uncover the body of the man who had gone missing. The other 34-year-old man who had been trapped for some time, was saved and treated for minor injuries to his lower body.

Rescuers worked for hours to find the missing victims body. - Photo Credits: Fire and Rescue Services
Rescuers worked for hours to find the missing victims body. – Photo Credits: Fire and Rescue Services

Employees of a private company were having a pool party when the incident occurred. About 50 people were present at the time of the accident, according to one guest.

“The water level suddenly started receding and a hole opened up, creating a vortex that swept two people inside,” the guest told news sources.

She said a sinkhole opened a vortex formed which swallowed up the victim in a matter of seconds. She yelled at her coworkers to get out of the pool as the sinkhole emerged, but they initially assumed it was a game. Authorities say, fortunately, there were only 6 people in the pool at the time or injuries and casualties could have been far greater.

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“Seconds later, the ground just dropped… I watched two people just disappear,” she added.

According to police, an investigtion into the incident is currently underway, and they plan to find out if the pool was operating with the proper license.

4/5 - (8 votes)

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