Port closures could plague auto suppliers

An extended shutdown of 29 West Coast ports could severely affect the automotive supplier industry, according to the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA).

Carmakers and automotive suppliers depend on shipments through West Coast ports of commodities such as plastics and rubber to produce new vehicles, parts, and products. MEMA estimates the value of automotive commodities and vehicles shipped into West Coast ports to be at least $42 billion in 2002.

The shutdown could threaten the United States economic recovery, said Christopher M Bates, president and chief executive officer of MEMA. “The automotive sector is especially at risk, since the manufacturers rely on ‘just-in-time’ delivery of parts and components,” he said. “Our nation's economic recovery depends on ending this shutdown soon.”

“Closure of West Coast ports has already cost our economy billions of dollars,” said Charley Johnson, president and CEO of TransPro Inc and chairman of MEMA's Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA). “We have barely begun to feel the ripple effect that will occur if manufacturers can't produce finished products due to lack of raw materials or components. If not ended soon, these port closures will severely impact US jobs and our economy.”

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