Nissan snags its supply chain on a sandbar

Japanese automaker Nissan's manufacturing plant in the central Mexican state of Aguascalientes had to shut down for three days at the end of January for lack of supplies. As this is being written, the supplies were still on board the APL Panama, which is stranded on a sandbar outside the port of Ensenada, 60 miles south of San Diego. Union spokesman Gabriel Jasso reports there were still more than 300 containers on the ship, loaded with harnesses and electronic components.

The plant's just-in-time production line went down when the ship ran aground during the Christmas season.

Nissan replaced some components, shipping them by air, but the number was insufficient to keep the plant running. The work stoppage was handled by agreement with the company's 4,600 union workers.

During the first week of February the containers were being unloaded and transported by other means. At that point, according to a Nissan spokesman, the downloading was being handled in a disorderly fashion and the company still didn't know when their containers would reach land.

Mighty efforts were made by emergency crews to pull the APL Panama from the sandbar, all to no avail. Moves included bringing tugboats from San Diego and Los Angeles to the scene. Initial thoughts were that the ship could be pulled back into the sea with the containers on board. When that scheme failed, it was decided to download the cargo.

Other companies with cargo on board the stranded ship include Ford Motor, Samsung, Pioneer and Sony. Jasso says that if the cargo didn't arrive in a more timely fashion, the company would file for total loss with its insurance companies.

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