Is The US West Coast Port Strike Hurting Nintendo’s Supply?

Is The US West Coast Port Strike Hurting Nintendo’s Supply?

New 3DS XLs are near-impossible to find in stores. Collectors are going crazy over inconsistent and unreliable Amiibo supply. And the limited edition Majora’s Mask 3DS XL has been a real mess, with retailers cancelling pre-orders after it became clear they wouldn’t have enough stock to fulfil all of their promises.

The whole situation doesn’t seem normal, and in fact it raises a pressing question: is there something wrong with Nintendo’s supply chain? Is there something preventing the video game publisher from properly getting stock to retailers?

Well, as you might have heard, there’s been a major port strike on the west coast for the past few months that, according to Reuters, has affected 70 per cent of goods coming in from Asia. The bulk of Nintendo’s products, from 3DS hardware to Amiibo toys, are made in China, and the quickest supply route for cargo ships from China to North America takes them right to the west coast… where dock workers are currently on strike.

The labour outage has been dragging on for months now, but negotiations have stalled and the situation has worsened in the past few weeks — just in time for the New 3DS XL, which launched in North America last Friday. This past weekend, west coast ports shut down entirely as the Pacific Maritime Association refused to pay dockworkers holiday rates.

The congestion is almost unbelievable. Here’s a shot of the Seattle port, where tons and tons of fully-loaded trucks are idling:

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Ships, too, are just hanging out on the Pacific Ocean, waiting for something to happen:

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

So the prevailing — and most logical — theory is that Nintendo’s supply is getting choked by this labour strike, especially when you consider that European customers seem to have had no problems getting their hands on Amiibo toys and even the most limited New 3DS systems.

Though Nintendo won’t officially comment on whether the port strike has impacted them — we asked, and they declined to say anything — we’ve heard from people at the company that it has indeed put a throttle on their supply of Amiibo and New 3DS systems, which explains a lot.


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