On December 7, Coastal Automotive CEO Paul Doyle spoke to the Senate Subcommittee on Surface Transportation, Maritime, Freight, and Ports in Washington, D.C., about the impacts of shipping supply chains on businesses. Mr. Doyle testified as one of four guest witnesses at the invitation of Senator Gary Peters’ office.
“I have worked in the automotive market for 33 years and have been a member of the Original Equipment Suppliers Association (OESA) Board of Directors for 14 years,” said Doyle in his written testimony. “I have never seen such a combination of challenges and issues facing our manufacturers, including those in the great recession from 2007-2009. One of these is the ports and shipping crises facing our industry and our country.”
At the hearing Senator Gary Peters acknowledged the challenges facing Coastal and other Michigan businesses. “Throughout the past year, I have heard many times from small businesses, across multiple industries, about significant delays and problems that they are having with supply chains, specifically as they relate to ocean shipping,” he said. “And the bottom line is this: small businesses and families throughout Michigan as well as all across the country are experiencing higher prices and major delays associated with importing and exporting their products and their supplies.”
Doyle reported the impacts on manufacturers’ bottom lines to the subcommittee. “The profit is the gas in our tank to fund our future, to fund innovation,” Doyle said. “We’ve been a three-time Supplier of the Year to General Motors but by virtue of our reduced cash and profit I suspect that we are two years behind in our product innovation.”
Doyle encouraged the subcommittee to act with urgency to resolve these shipping concerns and take care of manufacturing in the long-term through infrastructure improvements such as those included in the FREIGHT Act.
“There’s 900,000 MEMA team members affected and every day I get to look 200 of them in the eye,” Doyle said. “All they want is the opportunity to do meaningful work and provide for the dreams of their family.”
While in Washington, D.C., Doyle also attended other meetings with the staff of local lawmakers including Senator Debbie Stabenow, Representative Haley Stevens and Representative Bill Huizenga, where he discussed safety, the current semiconductor shortages, labor challenges, and training/professional development in the workforce. Coastal Automotive also holds seats on the MEMA Government Affairs Council, as well as other OESA councils including the Chief Financial Officers Council, the Operations & Plant Manager Council, and the Environment, Health, Safety and Sustainability Council.