Protest by Canadian truckers impacts auto parts shortage

LOWELL, North Carolina — Protests erupting along the United States-Canada border over vaccination mandates are disrupting the flow of auto parts and other goods between the countries.

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Ontario has declared a state of emergency with truckers blocking roads and bridges entering and exiting the country

The Ambassador Bridge carries 25% of all trade between the United States and Canada

The Biden administration has urged the Canadian government to use its federal powers to end the blockade on the bridge

Ontario has declared a state of emergency, with truckers blocking roads and bridges entering and exiting the country.

Truckers blocking roads are blocking supply chains that are already struggling to keep up with demand.

Augusto Carillo-Perris fixed cars for most of his life.

“I’ve always had a passion for cars,” Carillo-Perris said.

Carillo-Perris and his family own the Speed ​​Street Collision Center in Lowell.

“Guess that’s the American dream, isn’t it?” Carillo-Perris said. “Everyone wants to open their own business and see if they can thrive.”

Fortunately, business is booming with 20% more cars passing through his store this year than last.

But he takes time to get his clients back on the road. Global layoffs and supply chain issues are hurting the manufacturing industry and taking even longer for auto parts to get to North Carolina crash centers.

“It becomes difficult for us because we have to stop on the car we are working on,” said Carillo-Perris. “And then wait for the parts and bring them back again, but that’s even worse for the customer.”

Carillo-Perris says in some cases they wait six months for a part.

“They tell us it’s going to be in three weeks,” Carillo-Perris said. “And then in three weeks it changes, and it’s going to take another two weeks.”

His son, Assael Mendoza-Santos, the store’s parts manager, says they are finally starting to catch up.

But protests in Canada are forcing some auto factories to halt production.

“It could delay more because even some manufacturing plants have two-week backup plans if things like this happen,” Carillo-Perris said. “But beyond that, you might start to see layoffs, and with the layoffs there are more out-of-stock parts.”

Carillo-Perris strikes an optimistic tone, but he admits that if the shortage gets worse, it could have a big impact on small business owners, like him.

“We don’t get paid until we’re done with a car,” Carillo-Perris said. “If we have to go ahead and wait months…we don’t really know until we get there.”

The Ambassador Bridge in Ontario carries 25% of all trade between the United States and Canada.

The Biden administration is urging the Canadian government to use its federal powers to end the blockade on the bridge.

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