The retail price of fireworks is shooting up. An estimated 20 to 30 percent more than last summer according to a fireworks trade group. Julie Heckman, Executive Director of American Pyrotechnics Association, says this is due to cost increases in the raw materials including paper and chemicals.
China is the main producer of pyrotechnics but its recent earthquakes did not halt production. However, Heckman says an explosion in February at the main Chinese port for fireworks exports has delayed distribution. The peak American import season for July 4th normally runs from the end of February through the month of May.
"We estimate we are going to be about 20 percent behind in receiving the products we expected this Fourth of July, " says Heckman.
Delays in distribution to Midwest states like Wisconsin are compounded because the Chinese imports arrive from sea, then by train and finally by trucks. Heckman says recent fuel costs spiking may also affect the prices of pyrotechnics on the shelves.