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Egypt crisis hits auto shipments

 

The nine days of anti-government protest against the authoritarian regime of President Hosni Mubarak that have brought Egypt to a standstill have also hit automotive production there, as well as exports to and from the country.
 
On Sunday Nissan suspended operations at its Giza plant south of Cairo, which has an output of around 10,000 SUV and truck units annually, and it is not expected to resume operations until the beginning of next week on review of the situation, according to a spokeswoman for the company.
 
Sunday is the first workday of the week in Egypt.
 
Daimler also suspended shipments of Mercedes CKD kits on Sunday to the assembly facility in which it has a stake near Cairo at 6th of October City. A spokesman told Automotive Logistics News that “due to the unclear security situation in the country the company has decided to suspend business operations there.”
 
Daimler has a sales operation in the country and holds a minority stake in a CKD production plant with local Egyptian partners under the Egyptian German Automotive Company where it assembles the Mercedes C-, E-, S- and GLK-class passenger vehicles for the Egyptian market.
 

While shipments through the Suez Canal remain unaffected, Mercedes exports will remain suspended until the state of affairs in Egypt becomes clearer. “We are continuing to monitor the situation and we will make a decision when the time is right,” added the spokesman.
 
GM is also reported to have shut its assembly facility outside of Cairo, as has BMW, and Volkswagen confirmed that it had stopped deliveries to Egypt “because of the unsure situation.”  
 
Egypt’s second biggest city, Alexandria, is home to its main port, and according to Peter Menzel at ocean freight transporter, K-Line, deliveries there are being hit by the curfew restrictions.
 
“The ports in Egypt basically don’t work. The main reason is the curfew which doesn’t leave sufficient time to work after taking the commute into consideration,” he said. “Therefore, shipments into Egypt have been presently suspended.”
 
Despite the disruption, Grimaldi’s logistics director, Costantino Baldissara, said that operations were continuing there and that no major problems have been experienced in recent days. “We are calling three times per week at Alexandria port and all next calls are confirmed. Like we have done for Tunis, we will not discontinue the service to Alexandria,” he said.
 
Container terminals are reported to be working between 0900 and 1400 hours local time but delays are expected as containers continue to be discharged while no cargoes are being released.