Shoppers are being urged to get their holiday gifts early this year as ongoing congestion problems at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach could impact supply over the next few months. 

Shipping congestion at the ports has been a problem for a while now, stemming from increased demand for goods amid the pandemic.

However, in the past few weeks, the number of ships waiting to dock has reached record levels, with 146 vessels crowding the ports as of Wednesday, the Daily Breeze reported.

Eighty-eight of those were waiting at anchor or in drift areas until berth assignments come in, according to the report, which cites the Marine Exchange of Southern California.  

Currently, the port doesn’t have enough room in its terminals or rail cars to haul the containers away. So the message to consumers is to buy your holiday gifts now.

“If you see toys that you think your kids are going to want for Christmas … pick them up now and tuck them away,” Toy Industry Association Executive Vice President Ed Desmond said.

Currently, the toy industry has a healthy supply of products, but consumers could see a lack of variety as we get closer to December, Desmond said.

“There’s no certainty that if your child or the children in America are looking for a particular toy that it will be around,” he said.

Retailers like Target and Walmart are trying to avoid shortages by shipping earlier this year, but the problem at the ports could extend into 2022.