Motorcycle manufacturers have been dealing with logistics-related nightmares for months now. Semiconductor shortages affect bikemakers just as much as automakers, and slim magnesium supplies could also impact production very soon. Even if OEMs are able to produce motorcycles despite those challenges, skyrocketing shipping costs could hinder them from delivering those units to waiting customers.
During the pandemic, when people stopped going to restaurants and events, most consumer spent their hard-earned cash on products—like motorcycles. Of course, they also bought a host of other consumer goods, which has now resulted in import and shipping delays worldwide. In the U.S. alone, ports form Long Beach, California, to Houston, Texas, to Savannah, Georgia are dealing with “container terminals are becoming the warehouse for all these goods” with pickup times doubling from four days to eight days.
We’ve already seen Harley-Davidson implement a two-percent surcharge to deal with the increasing production and shipping costs, but many European manufacturers are also raising prices. Due to the surge in global imports, the price of shipping containers has increased tenfold in two years. On November 8, 2019, shipping containers cost $1,325. Today, November 8, 2021, the market now values the same 40-foot container at $10,321.
As a result, many European brands are increasing motorcycle price tags by €400 ($465 USD). The extra charges help offset the extra costs of cargo shipping, which has gone up by 16-percent between 2020 and 2021 alone. Of course, with so many companies vying for the same shipping resources, many freight companies are also awarding shipping containers to high-priority/high-paying clients. Those clients may not always be motorcycle OEMs, further extending customer wait times.
At the moment, supply chain shortage, delays, and disruptions are impacting manufacturers before and after production. Motorcycle sales figures may have soared during the pandemic, but the same factors that drove up those numbers may bring them back down to Earth very soon.