Trucker Blockade of US-Canada Border Bridge Forcing Carmakers to Cut Production
Automakers are canceling shifts and shutting down production on both sides of the border.
On Feb. 7, Canadians protesting the nation's cross-border vaccine mandate and other pandemic-related restrictions began a blockade of the Ambassador Bridge, a vital crossing over the Detroit River between the Motor City and Windsor, Ontario. Constructed in 1929, the bridge is a vital trade artery between the two nations with $323 million worth of goods crossing over it each day—over a quarter of the trade between the U.S. and its neighbor to the north.
The blockade, now on its third day, is starting to cause headaches for the auto industry. Yesterday the Detroit Free Press reported that General Motors had canceled two shifts at its Lansing assembly plant where it builds the Buick Enclave and Chevy Traverse. A shift on Wednesday night and on Thursday morning were both scrubbed in response to parts shortages caused by the blockade, GM spokesman Dan Flores confirmed to the Free Press. Just the same, Ford and Stellantis are having issues as well.
A spokesman for the Dearborn automaker, Said Deep, told Automotive News that Ford's Windsor (Essex) engine plant where the 5.0-liter "Coyote" and 7.3-liter "Godzilla" V8s are manufactured is completely stopped. Its Oakville, Ontario plant where the Ford Edge and Lincoln Nautilus are built is running at a reduced schedule in response to shortages caused by the blockade as well.
Stellantis says so far only one shift at its Windsor Assembly plant where it builds the Chrysler Pacifica has been shortened in response to supply issues.
Spokespeople from every automaker affected noted that they hope the situation is resolved soon. Of course, these blockade-related shortages are only one of many challenges automakers are facing right now. The chip shortage is still a problem, and other associated supply chain issues have hampered the production of vehicles like the Ford Bronco.
Some pandemic restrictions in some regions of Canada are easing soon, as per the BBC, however, as of right now, there is no clear end to the blockade in sight. The closest crossing between the two countries is the Blue Water Bridge north of Detroit, which has also seen delays and intense traffic in response to the Ambassador Bridge blockade.
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