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Kawasaki

Kawaski in Lincoln has been experiencing production slowdowns because of delays in getting parts. Officials say congestion at West Coast ports is to blame.

A logjam at ports on the West Coast is leading to production problems for Lincoln's largest manufacturer.

Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing Corp. has had to shut down its plant in northwest Lincoln early this week due to a shortage of parts, said Jason Hellbusch, director of administration for the Lincoln operation.

Hellbusch said the parts shortage has been caused by congestion at West Coast ports, which has led to delays getting necessary parts to Lincoln, which have to come by rail.

The Port of Los Angeles, which is the nation's busiest, had the biggest January in its 112-year history, with more than 852,000 container units moving through. That was a nearly 5.5 percent increase over a year ago.

The Port of Long Beach saw its second-best January ever, just 0.1 percent lower than the record set in January 2018.

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Hellbusch said the congestion is due in large part to U.S. companies trying to import as many products as possible prior to new tariffs taking effect.

The U.S. had been set to raise tariffs on Chinese goods from 10 percent to 25 percent, but it put that increase on hold indefinitely this week.

Volumes also apparently have been higher due to strong consumer demand.

According to media reports, there also is a shortage of warehousing space around the ports, which may be playing a role in transportation delays.

Hellbusch said Kawasaki is hoping the port issue will be a short-term one, "as it does have a negative effect on our operations and employees."

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Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or molberding@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.

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Business editor/reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

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