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Northwest News Network

Luxury Car Part Factory Shut Down 3 Days As Materials Stalled In Tacoma

The SGL carbon fiber plant in Moses Lake, Washington.
The SGL carbon fiber plant in Moses Lake, Washington.

A slowdown at West Coast ports is beginning to stifle the flow of goods in and out of the Northwest.

The SGL carbon fiber plant in Moses Lake, Washington.
Credit SGL Group
The SGL carbon fiber plant in Moses Lake, Washington.

Apple, hay and potato farmers say they’ve been having a hard time getting their harvest to foreign buyers because of port congestion. And the delays are now hitting luxury car parts.

A facility in Moses Lake, Washington, that makes carbon fiber elements for BMWs had to shut down production for three days this week. The German company that owns the facility says the problem was at the Port of Tacoma.

The plant is part of an international network of factories behind BMW’s electric and hybrid vehicles and the workers in Moses Lake depend on a steady flow of raw materials from Japan. But a company spokeswoman said the materials weren’t being unloaded in Tacoma.

Carbon fiber manufacturing for BMW electric and hybrid car shells in Moses Lake, Washington.
Credit SGL Group
Carbon fiber manufacturing for BMW electric and hybrid car shells in Moses Lake, Washington.

All of this is happening against a backdrop of a months-long labor dispute between the dockworkers and the shipping companies. Lately there have been delays up and down the West Coast.

Longshoremen said the problem is equipment and personnel shortages. Shippers said it’s the longshoremen.

SGL Carbon Fiber Automotive in Munich said that an “immediate return” to normal operating conditions at the ports is crucial.

Trade groups representing everything from egg exporters to perfume makers have urged both sides to reach a resolution before the holidays.

Copyright 2014 Northwest News Network