Steel Markets

Bridge Opens, Disruptions Ease for North American Automakers

Written by David Schollaert

Production at North American auto plants has begun to return to normal now that truckers protesting vaccine mandates have been removed from the Ambassador Bridge over the U.S-Canada border – a major supply route for the North American auto industry. Following a week-long blockade, traffic flow over the bridge Sunday night was a welcome sight for automakers on both sides of the border after widespread delays and outages that began on Feb. 7.

AutoAssembly2Except for Toyota Motor Corp., all North American carmakers were back to normal operations on Monday, automakers’ representatives told Steel Market Update (SMU). Toyota saw downtime at its U.S. facilities in Alabama, West Virginia and Kentucky, as well as its Canadian assembly plants in Woodstock and Cambridge, Ontario, but expected all plants to be back up and running by close of business on Tuesday, Feb. 15.

“I’m happy to report that we are returning to normal operations by the end of today at all of our North American plants,” said Toyota’s spokesperson. “We’re expecting the supply chain to improve each day this week as we get all routes back to normal.”

Ford, Honda, Stellantis and Subaru are all open and have returned to normal schedules this week, as shipments are no longer being rerouted from previously affected suppliers.

Though typical shipping routes have re-opened, and assembly plans are back online, the disruptions were significant. The auto industry is estimated to have taken a $300 million hit in lost wages and production while the bridge was shut down by protesters, according to Anderson Economic Group, an East Lansing, Mich.-based consulting firm.

GM, which was forced to cancel two production shifts at its Lansing Delta Township plant in Michigan early last week, has been running regular production since last Friday morning, while Daimler and Nissan confirmed that they were not affected by the blockade.

By David Schollaert,

David Schollaert

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