Sea-Doo Maker Pivots to Air Freight After Parts Stuck at Blocked Suez
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Sea-Doo maker BRP Inc. has joined the growing list of companies inconvenienced by the Suez Canal blockage, with parts from Asian suppliers stuck on vessels behind the container ship lodged in Egypt’s waterway.
The situation prompted the Canadian maker of recreational vehicles to shift to its backup plan: flying another batch of components from Asia to its North American plants.
“It’s more expensive, but it’s better than stopping assembly lines,” BRP Chief Executive Officer Jose Boisjoli said Friday in a phone interview. “That’s our business, managing a just-in-time supply chain.”
The company enacted its Plan B within 24 hours, said the CEO of the Valcourt, Quebec-based equipment maker. Waiting for a resolution to the Suez logjam wasn’t really an option. BRP’s products, which also include Ski-Doos and the three-wheeled Can-Am vehicles, have been in high demand during the pandemic.
The adjustment is the latest example of weathering global trade hiccups for a company that manages production in 11 facilities worldwide, from Australia to Mexico.
When the virus hit last year, BRP had to close its own plants for weeks in some countries. Then, shipments of supplies from Asia hit bottlenecks at the port of Los Angeles, causing the company to design an alternative route. A few years ago, BRP helped an Italian supplier relocate its tools to another factory after an earthquake.
“We’ve never had so many cases to deal with, but we’re used to it,” Boisjoli said. “There’s always a way to solve things.”
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