The production line at Volvo's factory in Gent will again come to a halt because of the global shortage of semiconductors, also known as microchips.
Last Monday night, the factory had to temporarily stop assembling vehicles for one night shift, Belga News Agency reported. Like other manufacturers, Volvo has faced supply issues for various parts – in particular microchips that have been in short supply around the world. This has disrupted production for several months now.
Semiconductors are essential to many industries, where they are used in a variety of technical applications. Production has been affected not only by the pandemic, which saw factories close, but also by fluctuating demand. In 2019, global demand for semiconductors fell, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association. Yet demand rose sharply during the pandemic, fuelled in part by the increase in people working from home which grew consumer appetites for gadgets and home appliances. US sanctions on China also impacted supply chains.
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Volvo's Gent factory is the largest industrial employer in Flanders, with 6,500 employees. As much as possible, affected staff will be assigned other tasks or will undergo training. When this is not possible, staff will be put on temporary paid unemployment.