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Nintendo Says Suez Slowdown, COVID-19 Causing Switch Shortages

Nintendo blamed the Suez Canal blockage for Switch sales slowdowns.
Nintendo blamed the Suez Canal blockage for Switch sales slowdowns. / Emanuele Cremaschi/Getty Images

Nintendo says its ongoing struggle to meet the demand for Nintendo Switch consoles has been caused in part by both COVID-19 and the blockage of the Suez Canal earlier this year.

"COVID-19 has caused declines and delays in freight traffic in markets outside of Japan, and retailers in some regions are experiencing temporary shortages," said Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa in a translation of a recent Q&A with investors. "In particular, the accident that blocked the Suez Canal caused delays in the transportation of products bound for Europe, and retail inventories are tight in some countries."

The Suez Canal is a major shipping route that allows passage into the Mediterranean Sea from the Red Sea. In March, a container ship called the Ever Given got itself wedged across the canal, blocking shipping for several days and causing an estimated $9.6 billion loss in trade. Nintendo says its Switch sales were affected by the incident.

Furukawa also said supply has failed to keep up with demand because of the ongoing shortage in semiconductors.

"Demand for hardware continues to exceed our expectations even after the beginning of this calendar year, and production has currently not caught up to this high demand due to the tight supply and demand situation for semiconductor materials worldwide," Furukawa said.

"Although we are currently striving to produce as many units as possible, the fact is that our production plans are more uncertain than they were at the beginning of previous fiscal years," he added. "Our full-year sales plan is based on the premise that we can secure the materials necessary for production, but if we are able to produce more units, we will work hard to meet the strong demand, and to be able to ship and sell those units."