Machinery manufacturer Caterpillar is expecting shipment delays due to the Suez Canal gridlock

The US machinery maker is facing shipment problems.

  • The Suez Canal crisis will likely cause shipment issues for Caterpillar, sources told Bloomberg.
  • The blockage is pushing the machinery firm to consider airlifting products if deemed necessary.
  • Many US manufacturers were facing supply-chain issues, even before the blockage.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Caterpillar Inc., the world’s largest construction equipment maker, is enduring shipment delays due to the Suez Canal blockage. The US firm is contemplating airlifting products if deemed necessary, Bloomberg reported.

A source familiar with the matter told the outlet that the maker of the emblematic yellow diggers and bulldozers expected delays of a week or more in shipments from Asia to its destination facilities in Europe.

Many large manufacturers have been facing supply-chain issues in recent weeks. In part, this is because some countries are starting to reopen amid mass vaccine rollouts. This has triggered huge demand for essential products.

The mammoth container ship obstructing the Suez Canal has been jammed for three days. Experts have said that the blockage is costing about $400 million an hour and that the stricken vessel could take weeks to move.

As some container ships proceed to reroute around Africa to avoid the logjam, Caterpillar is inclined to send products by air if the delays threaten a factory-line shutdown, the source told Bloomberg.

Basic goods including toilet paper, coffee, and furniture are among the goods that could face supply shortages due to the jam. It will affect “basically anything you see in the stores,” Lars Jensen, an independent container-shipping expert based in Denmark, told NBC News.

US machinery factory activity growth slowed in the first week of March after double-digit gains for most of February, reflecting what could be supply-chain challenges across the sector, Bloomberg Intelligence reported. This mirrored potential supply-chain hurdles across the industry during the pandemic.

As for the Ever Given, the White House says the US has offered help to reopen Suez Canal and end the chaos. The vessel’s owner said he hoped it would be freed soon and offered up an apology for the ‘tremendous trouble’ caused.

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A major Apple supplier is reportedly using forced labor from thousands of Uighur workers to make glass for iPhones

Apple CEO Tim Cook in China, March 2019
Apple CEO Tim Cook at the Economic Summit held for the China Development Forum in Beijing in March 2019.

A major Apple supplier is using forced labor from thousands of Uighur workers in its factories, a new report from the Tech Transparency Project found.

“Our research shows that Apple’s use of forced labor in its supply chain goes far beyond what the company has acknowledged,” Katie Paul, the director of the Tech Transparency Project, told The Washington Post.

Evidence of Lens Technology’s use of forced labor was available publicly, hidden in plain sight as government propaganda in news media, according to the Tech Transparency Project. Lens has for years supplied Apple with glass for iPhones, and the company also works with Amazon and Tesla, The Post noted.

Read more: How Apple, Google, and other browser makers are quietly duking it out over the future of the web

The group’s report details a variety of Chinese media reports that portray worker transfers as voluntarily relocating, often with a positive spin.

Apple didn’t respond to Business Insider’s request for comment, but a representative, Josh Rosenstock, told The Post: “Apple has zero tolerance for forced labor. Looking for the presence of forced labor is part of every supplier assessment we conduct, including surprise audits. These protections apply across the supply chain, regardless of a person’s job or location. Any violation of our policies has immediate consequences, including possible business termination. As always, our focus is on making sure everyone is treated with dignity and respect, and we will continue doing all we can to protect workers in our supply chain.”

Apple has been repeatedly accused of labor issues in China and has even broken business relationships with major suppliers as a result. As recently as  March, a major report found that Apple benefited from forced Uighur labor through its Chinese suppliers.

Though Apple has taken a public stance against these practices, the company reportedly joined Coca-Cola and Nike in lobbying efforts to weaken a bill designed to ban US companies from relying on Chinese forced labor.

Read The Washington Post’s full report here.

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