Chess game. Two team stand confront each other on China and USA national flags. Trade war concept.
© Tanita Chunsiripongpann

Urgent attention from European and North American governments is required to address China’s “egregious” practice of stockpiling electric vehicles (EVs) at western gateways.

In a call to arms, shipping advisor for The Kemmsies Group Dr Walter Kemmsies said that, while the US administration had made strides in addressing what he described as China’s anti-competitive behaviour, it had not been enough.

“As far as US automakers are concerned, the big issue surrounds government stepping in to protect it from unfair competition,” he told The Loadstar.

“What’s needed is protection from what is not competition at all. It is the Chinese Communist Party buying market share.

“Ten years ago, there were 60 combustion-powered vehicle manufacturers, today there are 100 EV manufacturers – even China’s market cannot absorb this output.”

And Dr Kemmsies says his figures are possibly at the low end, with some reports suggesting  the number of EV manufacturers may well exceed 400 worldwide.

From a supply chain perspective, he said, the manufacturing practice deployed by China’s EV makers resembled what Korean automotive companies did during their heyday, which was to produce a specific number of vehicles each month regardless of demand.

“This very organised, constant production schedule had benefits in that everyone knew what to expect each month,” Dr Kemmsies explained. “But it also brought a cost. And that was to be borne by ports, which had to sacrifice space to accommodate storing unwanted vehicles – and for many, this was useful as those ports were often struggling to find work.”

However, while this model is not abnormal – “even Toyota at times used it” – Dr Kemmsies said the sheer volume of EVs coming from China was flooding western markets.

He said some Chinese EV makers had vehicles waiting inside European ports for anywhere up to 18 months, “significantly over the standard dwell time of 1.5 days to up to a week”, leaving no space for domestic manufacturers to compete in a burgeoning market.

And Dr Kemmsies suggested China’s deep production space was leading to monopolisation.

“We have seen trade tariffs come into effect, but I suspect these have been pushed much more by the recommendations of intelligence agencies than the Biden administration, because this is really now an issue of national security,” he said.

“Essentially, with China subsidising these brands, they are taking over port space and are forcing other countries to act against free market principles to counteract their behaviour.”

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