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Transformers toymaker Hasbro ensuring product availability on Christmas amid supply snags, albeit at higher prices

With freight rates quadrupling from the start of the year, Transformer toys would be more expensive on Christmas.

Hasbro, the Transformers figures and Monopoly board game maker, placed holiday orders earlier and diversified its sources, ports, and carriers to ensure product availability during the holiday season, said Chief Financial Officer Deborah Thomas.

However, with sea freight rates quadrupling from the start of the year, Hasbro will have to increase its prices in the third quarter.

Barbie Dolls manufacturer Mattel is also working to ensure it will meet the demand, according to CEO Ynon Kreiz.

But Kreiz is wary of unanticipated supply chain challenges, saying it's hard to tell what the future may hold.

With 85 percent of toys sold in the US manufactured overseas, toy stores face exorbitant shipping rate increases and other snags that would lead to a short supply this Christmas.

Shippers that are already overwhelmed by online orders also have to deal with shipping container shortage and slowness of boats to unload their goodness, taking up to several days in some ports.

Some toy factories were forced to shut down during the pandemic, impacting manufacturing.

Worse, trucking firms are also struggling to recruit drivers.

Jennifer Blackhurst, a supply chain specialist at the University of Iowa, noted that with supply chains disrupted for over a year now, delays have piled up.

Consequently, the delays impact not several industries all competing to get the shipping capacity.

Blackhurst warned that the situation is unlikely to return to normal before next year.

With small businesses bereft of extensive networks, unlike multinationals, the Toy Association, an industry trade federation, put up a resource center at the end of July to assist members in navigating the shipping crisis.

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