What many people have thought was possible since a devastating tsunami hit Japan and much of the Pacific Ocean following a 9.0 earthquake in March appears to be coming to fruition: reduced exports of automobiles and parts to the U.S.
The Bureau of Transportation Statistics with the U.S. DOT's Research and Innovative Technology Administration published findings last month that indicates that the lower level of imports, which also include air and maritime imports and high-end electronics, may be a result of damaged equipment and reduced shipping capacity originating from Japanese ports. And the result is that supply chains in the U.S. are hurting.
Sean Jahanmir, the author of the report, pointed to a March 21 announcement by GM regarding a shortage of electronic parts that resulted in temporarily shuttering the company's pick-up truck plants in Louisiana and New York. And obviously Japanese automakers are struggling. Jahanmir reported that Toyota, Nissan and Honda all have seen supply problems and "shortages of essential parts."
Hino Trucks is a subsidiary of Toyota and a partner with Starcraft Bus on the new Type C conventional school bus that was expected to go into production by year's end. There was no comment as of yet from Starcraft on how supply is affecting this development.
Jahanmire also said Japan is America's number two trade partner for both maritime and air modes of freight transport over the past five years. The country saw $173 billion of total imports and exports traded in 2010 and is the top export and import partner for the Chicago air freight gateway.