Tuesday, April 23, 2024
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SUEZ CRISIS TO HIT BIKES?

Motorcycle brands manufacturing in Far Eastern factories are already struggling to overwhelm inventory shortages in their UK and European dealer networks, caused by pandemic-related production and logistics problems. But now they have another potential excuse for those yawning gaps in showroom stock.

The Ever Given, a fully loaded 220,000-tonne container ship bound for Europe, has run aground in Egypt’s Suez Canal, completely blocking this crucial waterway. Operated by Taiwan-based Evergreen Marine, it’s one the largest vessels of its type in the world — 400 metres long and 59 metres wide — and will be very difficult to refloat and shift.

Normally about 50 very big commercial vessels use the vital 120-mile shortcut every day, carrying more than 10% of global seaborne trade in goods and a similar quantity of oil shipments. After four days of blockage, fleets of ships are now anchored off Port Said in the Mediterranean or Port Suez at the Red Sea end, or stuck in the middle, waiting to transit.

Resultant bottlenecks at ports across Europe are anticipated and the return of desperately-needed empty containers to Asia is being disrupted. The redirection of affected shipping around Africa, via the Cape of Good Hope, will add more than a week to voyage times and ramp up costs considerably.

Don’t expect all those forward-ordered bikes to turn up according to schedule. And apart from machines made in Japan or China, Triumph’s stock destined for Europe from its plants in Thailand all passes through Suez too.  

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