While vehicle exports from China are surging, with more than 483,000 units recorded in the January to November period (up more than 68% from a year earlier), the country has also seen a big increase in vehicle imports that are reported to have more than doubled in the first ten months of 2010 compared to the previous year.
According to figures released by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers the number of passenger cars imported reached 628,100 units from January to October in 2010, up 111.9% year on year.
The leading countries of origin are Germany, Japan, South Korea, the US and the UK.
For logistics provider Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics the biggest increase in volumes has been from Europe to China and both it and Eukor, 40% owned by WWL’s parent company Wilhelm Wilhelmsen ASA, have been facilitating the growth. This has included an increase in business at its terminals in the ports of Tianjin and Shanghai. It also reports healthy growth at its Xinsha terminal in Guangzhou.
“This spurt of imports has also increased demand for our factory to dealer solutions in China too, whereby we use our outbound supply chain expertise to manage auto distribution from ports all the way to Chinese dealerships,” said WWL spokesman Jonathan Spampinato. “This is an important area of expertise we have to offer to relatively new market entrants, so we are excited about the potential here and the variety of ways we can help automakers succeed in the Chinese markets.”
WWL announced it was setting up logistics and inland transport to support customer requirements in China in October 2009. WWL maintains its own vehicle distribution centres in Guangzhou, Shanghai and Tianjin and has established a joint venture with local trucking operator Guangzhou Citic Xintong Logistics to handle car distribution services to and from all import/export ports (read more here).
The company now reports “a new and significant piece of supply chain management factory to dealer business” as a result of the latest boom with an announcement about the foreign brand involved expected in the new year.
Meanwhile, K-Line has also confirmed a dramatic increase in vehicle exports to China.
“We can certainly confirm huge increases ex Europe and ex US,” said the company’s director and general manager, Car Carrier Group, Peter Menzel, who added that the increase is set to continue in the years ahead.
“Whilst the increase might slow down somewhat due to an increase of local production and new plants coming on line for the major European OEMs in China directly, many models will still be imported, and the Chinese buyer still likes the label ‘made in Germany’, which OEMs specifically put on their cars for the Chinese market.”
Menzel said that K-Line’s major customers are Daimler from Europe and the US, as well as BMW exports from the US, with substantial movements in the movement of agricultural machinery and high and heavy on top.
“We have also supported on a spot basis VW from Europe to China with additional capacity to cover their excess volume,” said Menzel.
VW reported a significant rise in Group deliveries to China this week, with the total for January to November running at 1.82m units (up nearly 38%). Growth in the Asia/Pacific region as a whole was 38.6%.
The import volume increase, while significant, is still low compared to total cars sold in China. Estimates show that 15m vehicles will be sold in China this year with the great majority made in the country, and the biggest volume growth at ro-ro terminals remains linked to domestic volumes.