A tangled supply chain means shipping delays. Do your holiday shopping now

Ronald D. White, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Business News

"Now that we have a lot of demand, we have fewer ships," he said.

That means shipping prices have soared. The price to move a cargo container across the Pacific Ocean is now about $10,000 to $15,000, up from $2,700 to $2,900 a year ago, Jelinek said.

Those costs have helped feed rising consumer prices.

The Labor Department said in August that consumer prices jumped 0.5% from June to July, the smallest increase since February. Prices jumped 5.4% compared with a year earlier.

As cargo movement is stalled by ship, port, truck and rail problems, the effects will vary across the nation, said James Zahn, deputy editor of the Toy Book, a leading trade publication for the toy industry.

"This is something we haven't really seen in the toy industry before, and that's regional outages on specific items," Zahn said. "Something might be plentiful in one state, or even one city; in the next one over, the shelves are completely bare because of how it's filtered out within this strange distribution cycle.


"As a dad with two little girls, I know what it's like to be chasing things. If you go to Amazon, you'll start noticing that the delivery dates are actually further out than they usually are. So shop early, yes.

"You've got to be checking out independent toy stores that are staffed by folks that actually know toys. And if we come down to a point where something hot might be sold out, those folks can easily recommend another great toy for the kids that you're shopping for."

At the Cub House, supply shortages pushed owners Sean Talkington and Carla Alcibar to start the store's own brand, called Beach Club. The store's staff has built 45 bikes using some of the last shipments of parts and components received before the pandemic.

The problem returns, however, when their current supply sells out.

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