The Spanish Association of Car and Truck Manufacturers (Anfac) is continuing to call for improvements in the provision of logistics services as a means of boosting the competitiveness of Spanish industry, believing that by doing so the automotive sector could save an estimated €500m ($790m) a year.
The latest annual report compiled by Anfac stresses that logistics costs determine in which country production of new models takes place. It emphasises that, in Spain, vehicle manufacturers often have to pay up to €300 per vehicle in additional logistics costs when compared to other European countries, and therefore, on occasion losing out to plants situated abroad.
Miguel Aguilar, the Anfac director with responsibility for markets and customers, underlined the need for improvements to be made to logistics provision and, in particular, would like to see collaboration between different operators.
In particular, he wanted to see major improvements to road and rail access to ports, since this is currently one of the worst deficiencies to be found in the Spanish logistics chain and has negative repercussions on costs. In this respect, Aguilar called for more cooperation between the rail track authority, Adif, the National Ports Authority and the authority overseeing highway provision; the aim would be to improve overall intermodality.
In part, he said, industrial competitiveness is being lost because of the lack of a holistic vision in respect of integrated logistics.
According to the association's report, ports are offering a better service. In 2012, Santander was given a score of 4.5 out of a possible five points in terms of efficiency, followed by Tarragona (4.4) and Valencia (4.3). However, Vigo and Gijón were awarded a mark of just 3.9 and 3.3 points respectively.
Nevertheless, the way in which dock workers handle vehicles in the ports needs to be improved and true deregulation in this sector is required, says the report.
As for the roads sector, the report says that haulage companies are improving services at home and have consolidated them in the international market. Overall, they were seen to achieve timely collection and delivery of vehicles and have introduced good quality control.
Internationally, hauliers have sufficient flexibility to adjust to the volume needing to be transported and also have a good track record of processing all the necessary documentation, says the report. Nevertheless, Anfac believes that vehicle maintenance needs upgrading to avoid breakdowns and that solutions need to be found to the imbalance of traffic flows.
The report also recognises that rail needs to up its game on an international basis, although manufacturers do appear to be happy with rail haulage within Spain itself. Quality of service remains acceptable, according to the report, with good on-time delivery and treatment of vehicles once in transit. Despite this, Anfac wants to see an improvement in maintenance of rail transporters to avoid incidents with new vehicles.
It also wants to see rail wagons adapted to be able to accommodate different sizes of vehicles and more multi-client trains operated for both components and vehicles. Above all, it believes further deregulation of this sector is the way forward.