DETROIT – On the American side of the border, it’s been a quiet day of anticipation.
There are many conflicting stories about whether a lane is open or closed again. We’ve seen no traffic on the Ambassador Bridge Friday (Feb. 11) except Border Patrol and bridge company repair crews.
And this deafening quiet continues to get more and more expensive.
Ford says its Ohio Assembly Plant is down due to a part shortage associated with this situation. That plant makes medium-duty trucks and super-duty Chassis.
That’s a 1,600 worker layoff.
“This interruption on the Detroit/Windsor bridge hurts customers, auto workers, suppliers, communities, and companies on both sides of the border that are already two years into parts shortages resulting from the global semiconductor issue, COVID, and more,” said Ford. “We hope this situation is resolved quickly because it could have a widespread impact on all automakers in the U.S. and Canada. Today our plants in Oakville and Windsor are running at reduced capacity. Ohio Assembly Plant is down as a result of a part shortage associated with this situation.”
Stellantis said, “All Stellantis North America Plants started Friday morning, but this remains an incredibly fluid situation.”
GM tells us their first shifts ended early Friday, and the second shift is now working at the Cami Plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, where they make terrain & torrent SUVs, and at the Flint Assembly Plant where they make them heavy-duty pickups.
GM has taken to flying parts in.
“When you see automakers put heavy parts on planes just to fly them 50 miles across the border, you know that there is a lot of money on the line and a lot of production and employment that’s being affected,” said Economist Patrick Anderson.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer reached out to Washington and the Canadian government for a quick end to this while also offering heavy equipment support.
“We’ve got to push to resolve this, and it’s got to be swift, and of course, we want it to be safely done as well but has to happen here; we cannot let another minute go by unnecessarily,” Gov. Whitmer said.
Julie A. Fream, President and CEO of the Original Equipment Suppliers Association, said, “many automotive suppliers are being impacted by the shutdown of the Ambassador Bridge. They are seeing slowdowns on sub-components and final product shipments at the border. As automotive assembly plants are forced to curtail or stop production due to component shortages, ALL suppliers supporting these assembly plants are impacted by the production interruptions. This is regardless of whether they are directly impacted by the border issue or not. Automotive suppliers are on the brink of a significant production crisis. We need both the Canadian and U.S. border authorities, as well as local law enforcement, to fully enforce the laws and regulations to reopen all border crossings including the Ambassador Bridge.”
Anderson did a study to give you an idea of just how much this is costing our economy. He said this week that in just the auto industry, $51M in wages had been lost, and that is what so many on the American side are hoping this border issue ends very soon.