Supply chain issues have put a halt to Europe’s top bicycle manufacturers in Portugal.
A supply chain crisis connected to Asia has put the brakes on Europe’s largest cycle producers in Portugal, which are riding a pandemic-driven demand surge.
InCycles Bike Group, a leader in the country’s flourishing export-led manufacturing cluster centered on Agueda in the north, is working hard to stay ahead of the pack.
“We have orders through mid-2023,” says export manager Filipe Mota, “but will we be able to meet them?”
People “fought to buy bikes” during the coronavirus outbreak, so Mota, who is in the center of four assembly lines that employ roughly 200 people and supply 40 brands, says they sold a lot.
However, he tells AFP that the “surge in orders” has resulted in a “scarcity of extremely crucial spare components.”
According to Mota, deliveries from mostly Asian sources can take up to two or three years.
Turnover jumped from three million euros ($3.5 million) in 2018 to 50 million euros the following year when the company began constructing bicycles for Uber under the Jump brand, which was later acquired by Lime.
People initially stayed at home in lockdowns due to the Covid-19 epidemic before stepping out and seeking motorcycles, reducing sales to 37 million euros in 2020.
They are projected to stay at the same level this year, because to the shortages caused by the surge in demand.
“We could have easily made 60 or 70 million euros if we had the parts,” Mota claims. The new facility began this year with a capacity of 250,000 units per year, but it plans to produce roughly 140,000 by 2021.
By 2023, the logistical headaches are expected to be resolved, giving Portugal’s 8,000 employees in the sector reason to be optimistic.
Cycle sales overseas have nearly doubled since the national organization of two-wheel businesses, ABIMOTA, launched an export campaign in 2015, reaching 425 million euros last year.
According to ABIMOTA general secretary Gil Nadais, they might climb by as much as 30% in 2021, despite supply chain issues.
“We have a number of cutting-edge enterprises here, some of the greatest in Europe or the world,” he says, citing the first non-Asian company to build carbon frames, the only factory in the world where robots produce welded aluminum frames, and the world leader in children’s saddles as examples.
Last year, Portugal produced 2.6 million bicycles, almost all of which were exported. According to Eurostat data, this places the country alongside big powers Italy and Germany in terms of cycle exports.
Approximately half of the units. The Washington Newsday Brief News is a daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C.