Daimler Trucks has resumed manufacturing at its plant on Swan Island in north Portland almost four weeks after it shut down during the initial progression of COVID-19.
The truck maker originally shut down the plant on March 25, citing a shortage of parts and supply disruptions that were impacting production operations, according to media reports. The closure affected 600 employees who were furloughed during the month-long stoppage that was extended past the initial projected restart date of April 6.
Unions representing the plant’s employees mentioned that health risks and worker safety concerns were also a factor in the decision to close the factory.
During the shutdown, Daimler redesigned manufacturing methods to create more space for employees while dividing its staff into two shifts so workers have more area to move on the shop floor. The factory’s plant manager stated, per media reports, that engineers were using new methods and equipment and the plant was following around 500 processes to ensure workers’ health and safety when the plant begins manufacturing again.
Auto manufacturing is slowly starting to resume in the US as Mercedes-Benz recently put plans in place for its Alabama plant’s restart scheduled for early next week.
Several manufacturers have continued functioning during the pandemic such as Intel, Boeing and ON Semiconductor. While others, like Evraz, Greenbriar’s railcar manufacturing plant in Gunderson and Precision Castparts have reduced operations or workforce due to drop in product demand.