Montana license plate production is back on track after aluminum shipment

Montana license plates
Posted at 6:04 PM, Dec 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-14 20:04:11-05

GREAT FALLS — After dealing with a shortage of aluminum in late October due to supply chain disruptions, Montana Correctional Enterprises (MCE) received about 40,000 pounds of aluminum last week, allowing workers to resume regular license plate production for the state of Montana.

MCE in Deer Lodge is a bureau of the Montana Department of Corrections; the license plate shop produces about 750,000 plates per year for for all 56 Montana counties.

At the end of October, MCE depleted its supply of aluminum and due to a material shortage affecting businesses throughout the country, received no clear guidance from suppliers regarding when the shop could expect to receive its next shipment.

In consultation with the Montana Department of Justice’s Motor Vehicle Division (MVD), Butler and her staff determined that as a short-term solution, MCE would print license plates on the same reflective sheeting used in its regular production process without the aluminum backing.

“Last week’s delivery provides us with enough material to make more than 200,000 aluminum license plates and take us through February or March 2022,” said MCE Administrator Gayle Butler in a news release. “Workers in the license plate shop are working overtime to get us caught up.”

Now that the normal process has resumed, the approximately 1,200 people who received the temporary plates should expect to receive an aluminum plate within the next four months, according to Laurie Bakri, administrator of MVD.

Anyone who does not receive a replacement plate by April 30, 2022 should contact MVD at for more information.