Brexit-related port issues to blame
Parts shipments not arriving on schedule means production stop
Honda has been forced to stop work at the UK plant that’s home to versions of the Honda Civic like the Type R as ports in the nation deal with congestion over Brexit, COVID-19, and the usual holiday rush.
A spokesperson for the Swindon, UK plant told Bloomberg that the facility would not run today because of delayed parts deliveries. The plant, which employs more than 3,000 workers, is hoping to restart output quickly but is waiting on shipping to catch up.
The plant, which is home to UK production of the Honda Civic as well as all hatchback cars bound for North America including the Type-R is already set to shutter in 2021 as a result of the UK’s exit from the European Union. That exit has lead to crowding at UK ports, including the Felixstowe container port that Honda uses to receive shipments of parts from Asia.
While the port would normally see extra congestion around the holidays, this is said to have greatly increased this year as companies try to stockpile goods before the end of the Brexit transition January 1st. After that time, goods would be subject to new tariffs and duties upon entering the country.
Bloomberg reports that the congestion at this port has lead to a number of cargo ships simply skipping Felixstowe to remain on schedule.
Like most automakers, Honda uses a just in time system where parts go from transport to assembly line right away, rather than sitting in a warehouse waiting. Disruptions lasting longer than a few days can lead to stoppages like this one.
The report from Bloomberg says that Honda is looking at air-freighting critical components, which is something other automakers like Bentley have also pursued in recent weeks.