Advertisement

Toymakers, others worry about delays for holiday season

A volunteer picks up toys for a client at the Salvation Army Toy Town in St. Ann, Missouri, on December 17, 2020. Shipping delays and the coronavirus pandemic could snarl delivery of toys and other products this year, experts said. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI
A volunteer picks up toys for a client at the Salvation Army Toy Town in St. Ann, Missouri, on December 17, 2020. Shipping delays and the coronavirus pandemic could snarl delivery of toys and other products this year, experts said. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

June 18 (UPI) -- Toymakers are entering another nervous holiday season with the coronavirus pandemic and shipping incidents such as the blockage of the Suez Canal in March among the worries they face in getting the most-wanted gifts to eager customers.

Toy companies like Hasbro and Mattel are in their "ramp-up period" for products that will be shipped out in September and October for the holidays, Jefferies analyst Stephanie Wissink told CNBC.

Advertisement

"We're not seeing any panic yet about the flow of holiday goods," Wissink told CNBC. "If we see persistent constraints into late summer, then we will start to worry a bit more."

One of China's busiest shipping ports has partially shut down since late May because of a new outbreak of the coronavirus there, snarling exports. The stoppage has also resulted in record freight prices.

RELATED North Korea acquired two new oil tankers last year, report says

Yantian Port said it will not be fully operational again until the end of June. Experts said exports out of China and the region were already behind, with Europe and the United States opening their markets again and India demanding medical gear because of their exploding COVID-19 outbreak.

Advertisement

"There are bottlenecks in ports all over the world because of COVID outbreaks -- people are not going to work in the same numbers and aren't working at the same speed as they did before the pandemic," Bjorn Hojgaard, CEO of Anglo-Eastern Univan Group, told Bloomberg.

These challenges add pressure to the global shipping industry still grappling with pandemic the aftereffects of the massive container ship Ever Given being stuck in the Suez Canal.

RELATED Korea's top shipper, HMM, reports record profits amid COVID-19

Eytan Buchman, chief marketing officer of the online freight marketplace Freightos, said in April that the trade challenges caused by the incident could reverberate for months.

The ship was carrying 220,000 tons of goods and forced scores of other container ships to make costly detours that added weeks to their travel, resulting in delays that continue to affect industries.

"It's really just another example of how crazy things have been over the past year," Buchman told Vox.com. "Rather than a very sexy explosion in prices overnight or a total lack of capacity, you'll see a very, very long and drawn-out death by 1,000 small changes over the next couple of months or weeks."

RELATED Biden cites Coast Guard's role in protecting shipping lanes at academy graduation

Latest Headlines