John Deere, Toyota Suspend Tianjin Operations
Global equipment manufacturer John Deere & Co. has reportedly suspended operations near Tianjin after some of its workers were injured and several buildings were seriously damaged in the recent massive blast that killed more than 100 people and caused serious damage to the northeast China port city.
The company’s plant in Tianjin was opened in 2006 and produces agricultural and construction equipment, as well as replacement engines and other equipment components for the Asian market.
Work at the plant, the company said, will be halted “indefinitely” and, as recovery work has blocked staff from returning to assess the plant, “the full scope of the damage is not yet established.”
Japanese automaker Toyota, which has operations near the blast evacuation zone, has said that it’s temporarily suspended three assembly lines, which account for over half of its China production capacity.
The chemical blast that ripped the Tianjin Economic Development Area (TEDA), where the John Deere facility is located, was so great that the U.S. Geological Survey reported it as a “seismic event.” The exact cause of the blast is under investigation, a process, observers say, that “could take some time.”
A number of other multinational companies also suffered substantial damage in the catastrophe including conglomerate Hyundai and Kia, which lost a combined 4,000-plus high-end vehicles being stored there, and Volkswagen AG, which reported more than 2,700 autos and SUVs destroyed.
The TEDA opened in 1984 is a combination, industrial/distribution/logistical site that currently serves as home to more than 3,300 international companies that have invested more than $15 billion in their operations there.