In the face of Q1 results that saw business at its Bremerhaven Auto Terminal drop by half, BLG Logistics is benefitting from charters arising from the surfeit in vessels that many shipping companies find themselves with in the current downturn. K Line and Van Uden are just two of the most recent to establish new ro-ro charter agreements at Bremerhaven.
Talking yesterday to Automotive Logistics at this week’s Transport Logistic event in Munich, Germany, Wolfgang Stöver, Director of Marketing and Sales at BLG Logistics, explained the situation: “At the moment a lot of customers are coming to us because they have a vessel on hand and don’t know what to do with it. That’s an opportunity for us.”
The downturn in the automotive market has hit both the finished vehicle and car parts activity, the highest volume segments that BLG handles at Bremerhaven. However, K Line is now offering additional ro-ro capacity for the Mediterranean, US East Coast and Mexico regions from the German port. Three new vessels with 6,000 RT capacity will also boost high-and-heavy activity while offering better transit times to those markets every 14 days.
Peter Menzel, Director & General Manager at K Line’s Car Carrier Group, said that the new service will merge two previous services and expand the company’s transport to Mexico. Previously in Northern Europe K Line only included Southampton and Zeebrugge in its Trans-Atlantic Link (TAL) service.
Meanwhile, Van Uden has recently relocated a ro-ro service from Hamburg to Bremerhaven for shipments to a number of Mediterranean ports including Piraeus, Limassol, Beirut and Tripoli.
“For Van Uden it was very attractive because one of the major accounts out of Bremerhaven is VW to Tripoli,” continued Stöver. “That is one of the main reasons this service came to the port. Van Uden have a mixture of cargo such as factory-new cars and high and heavy. Now with high and heavy they can influence it themselves and tell exporters and send it to Bremerhaven but it was attractive to them to be able to load factory-new cars on the same shipment.”
BLG is also expanding the rolling stock handled by its AutoRail joint venture with French supplier ABRFI. In the next few years the number of special wagons will be increased to 1,275. Currently a monthly service of 19 rail cars takes Audi and VW vehicles to Emden and Bremerhaven from Bratislava.