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Ikea: Suez Canal Crisis Could Cause Shortages

Retailer says disruptions in channel may lead to stocking problems

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PHOTOGRAPHY: Sundry Photography/iStock.com

Inter Ikea Group (Delft, Netherlands) is alerting costumers that some products at its Ikea stores may be unavailable as it manages the volatile situation at the Suez Canal, Retail Dive reports. Starting in the last quarter of last year, attacks by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen have been disrupting the passage of major cargo ships through the canal in Northern Egypt.

“We are in close dialogue with our transportation partners to ensure the safety of people working in the IKEA value chain and to take all the necessary precautions to keep them safe,” an Inter Ikea Group spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “This is our main priority.”

Ikea is evaluating alternatives. Because the furniture retailer doesn’t own the container vessels, its freight partners manage all its shipments, the spokesperson said.

The violence at the Suez Canal is a response to the Israel/Hamas war in Gaza that started on Oct. 7. Ikea’s situation is a sign that further disruptions to the supply chain is possible. Several shippers have been taking precautions, and an increasing number are avoiding the route entirely, RD reports.

The trouble around the Suez isn’t the only challenge to ocean freight at the moment, the retail news service notes: Low water levels have prompted restrictions for ships seeking to traverse the Panama Canal.

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