Bubble tea tapioca shortage looming in the US

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Source: The Spruce Eats via Creative Commons.
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Due to cargo delays at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, bubble tea tapioca is delayed.

By Michael McGrady, Maritime Direct Americas & Pacific Correspondent

LOS ANGELES — Bubble tea is a popular beverage that includes a layer of tapioca balls, or boba, at the bottom of the contents. This beverage originated from Taiwan and has become a popular drink around the world in several cultures.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic has created a series of product shortages. For the tapioca balls, shipments to the United States are currently stuck aboard vessels anchored out in the San Pedro Bay, awaiting a berthing clearance for off-loading and distribution.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, shipping containers from Asia are currently piling up along the entire West Coast port infrastructure. This includes a delay in the United States’ supply of chewy tapioca balls.

Wholesalers say that their orders of boba aren’t arriving, notes the Chronicle. Due to the delay, the national supply is running out.

The real crisis is port congestion. Ports at Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Oakland are working to reduce the congestion crisis, which is expected to last through the summer — potentially longer.

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