The cost of children’s toys is up as much as 10 percent ahead of the holiday season, and many in-demand gifts will likely be out of stock soon amid a snarled global supply chain, the Toy Association president warned.
“People are going to see price increases this holiday,” said Steve Pasierb, president of the Toy Association, a trade group that represents business across the $32.6 billion US toy market.
“We’ve seen some toy categories go up five to ten percent,” he told Fox News’ “America Reports” on Wednesday.
Pasierb pointed to the massive backlog at California’s ports, which are responsible for 36 percent of US imports, and he described the issues in the international supply chain as a “global crisis.”
There were 56 container ships anchored off the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach as of Wednesday, according to the Marine Exchange of Southern California, which operates the Vessel Traffic Service for those two ports.
During normal times, there would usually be up to one ship waiting to enter the ports, according to Kip Louttit, executive director of the Marine Exchange of Southern California.
On top of the backlog at the ports, Pasierb noted there’s also a shortage of truckers preventing companies from distributing supplies across the country.
“The system is breaking down and now we’re paying the price for it,” he said.
“It’s hitting us at the worst time of the year, which is the holidays,” he added.
It will take until the end of next year’s fiscal second quarter for the ports backlog to resolve, Pasierb predicted.
“We’ve got a long, long way to go. It took us more than a year to get into this,” he said.
The White House on Wednesday blamed the situation on the pandemic, saying it was “inevitable.”
“I can’t make a prediction,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in response to a question about how long the supply chain bottlenecks are expected to last.
An overnight fix on the issue isn’t realistic, she added, acknowledging that the issues may persist through the holiday season.
“The supply chain task force has been working around the clock for months and months to address a range of … different issues that we see in the supply chain… There are issues at the ports … those have been on the rise recently,” she said.
To address the issue, the Biden administration announced Wednesday that the port of Los Angeles is expanding its hours of operations to 24/7.
FedEx, UPS, Walmart and Home Depot also agreed to ramp up overnight and off-hours operations at the ports.
“By increasing the number of late-night hours of operation and opening up for less-crowded hours when the goods can move faster, today’s announcement has the potential to be a gamechanger,” President Biden said.
Critics, though, criticized the plan, saying that companies and port operators are already working around the clock to meet lofty earnings targets.