North America’s busiest trade link — the Ambassador Bridge between Canada and the U.S. — reopened on Sunday evening, after Canadian police ended a six-day blockade by protesters objecting to COVID-19 mandates and restrictions.
Canadian police cleared the bridge, which had been blocked by truckers and other protesters, after obtaining a court order on Friday. Normally the bridge carries goods worth about $360 million every day between the two countries — roughly a quarter of all Canadian/U.S. daily trade.
Detroit-based auto makers ,including General Motors, Ford and Toyota, have been particularly hard hit and have announced production cutbacks because many of the components they rely on traverse the bridge.
The bridge blockade has had an impact on a wide range of industries and added to inflationary pressures in both nations while once again highlighting the fragility of some supply chains.
“When a major bridge like the Ambassador Bridge is blocked, it can have a ripple effect across the entire supply chain,” says Richard Howells, an SAP expert on supply chains. “Companies must have the resiliency to minimize and mitigate risks by designing supply chains to withstand disruptions and respond to business opportunities.”
He adds: “In this case, you need the visibility to identify which shipments and resulting orders are effected, and the agility to sense, predict and respond by re-planning distribution routes, or even identify different modes of transport.”
Among the factors Howells identifies as crucial for enterprises he says companies must have visibility into:
- Which materials and goods are at risk?
- What are my alternate sources of supply for key resources?
- Where is my inventory?
- Which shipments are affected?
- What are the knock-on effects to production scheduled, customer orders and ongoing campaigns?
In addition he says, they need agility to redirect shipments in transit, identify and switch to alternate suppliers, identify alternate logistics modes and routes, collaborate with trading partners to secure alternate materials, products and logistics capacity, and adjust manufacturing to respond to unavailable materials.