Honda to resume UK output after problems at ports

Honda to resume UK output after problems at ports

Honda has said its British car plant will restart production on Monday after problems importing parts had halted output since Wednesday.

The Japanese company said in a statement on Sunday it had told staff at its Swindon plant “full production operations will resume in all areas”.

Congestion at UK ports and delays in the arrival of ships disrupted Honda’s “just-in-time” production schedules.

A number of companies have reported congestion at ports increasing.

Also on Sunday, Ikea apologised to customers after facing stock shortages due to port congestion. Angry shoppers complained they faced delays to orders and could not get through on the retailer’s helpline.

The issue at ports has been building in recent weeks, with problems initially at Felixstowe, but recently at Southampton and London Gateway as well.

The backlog has built up as companies increased orders after the initial coronavirus lockdown, while others have looked to stockpile goods before the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December.

Regardless of whether a trade deal is reached, there is likely to be “significant disruption” at the beginning of next year, according to a House of Lords committee. Some carmakers are thought to have been increasing stocks of components to avoid issues next year.

After last week’s temporary halt to production, Honda, which makes the Civic model at Swindon, said it was looking at other arrangements to bring in parts, such as using air freight.

Just-in-time supply chains mean companies bring in components only when they are required, but timetables are vulnerable to disruption.

Congestion at some English container ports is now so bad that some shipping firms have limited the amount of cargo they will bring to the UK. Consignments have reportedly been offloaded at continental ports such as Antwerp, Rotterdam and Zeebrugge.

Honda’s Swindon factory built just under 110,000 cars last year, but is due to close permanently next year.

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