Protestors blocking traffic between the U.S. and Canada to oppose vaccine rules are further stretching an auto supply chain already worn thin by pandemic-related labor shortages and a scarcity of chips.
It’s the latest obstacle for an auto industry that has been struggling to navigate a pandemic and global semiconductor shortage that have made vehicle production erratic. Smaller suppliers that have run out of Covid-relief loans and suffered shutdowns because of virus outbreaks are particularly vulnerable, said Alex Calderone, president of Calderone Advisory Group, a Detroit-area consultancy that works with distressed suppliers.
“The supply chain has been destabilized” during the pandemic, he said by phone. “The smaller suppliers in particular are just not in a position to be able to withstand this type of a blow.”
Calderone spent Tuesday morning with a Michigan-based client that needed to send plastic parts to a supplier in Canada this week in order to make payroll, he said. They were planning an alternate route to avoid the bridge.