During the first quarter of 2011 DB Schenker Rail UK has reported moving 15% more cars by rail for STVA, the vehicle transport subsidiary of French rail provider SNCF, than it did during the same period in 2010.
A spokesman for DB Schenker Rail would not disclose the actual number of vehicles the company moved but confirmed that its customers included Ford, BMW and Jaguar, and that the increase was exclusive to the business handled for STVA.
“We have a long-term contract with STVA to provide rail logistics services for them in the UK. We only move cars for them,” he told Automotive Logistics.

Cars manufactured in the Midlands are being moved by rail to the North West and Scotland, while vehicles made in Oxford, including BMW MINI, are being transported to Purfleet for export. Cars imported through the port of Southampton are also being taken by rail to the North West, Scotland and Yorkshire. Additional trains are operating to meet this increased demand on all routes said the company.

The spokesman added that the company was looking at growth opportunities that included higher utilisation of the Channel Tunnel for the mainland European market, while also establishing new distribution corridors in the UK for the domestic market.

In an official statement, Dr Carsten Hinne, managing director of logistics for DB Schenker Rail UK, said:  "As the economy strengthens from the recession there is strong demand to move more cars by rail.  We are meeting that demand through additional train services, while also working with our partners to develop new solutions to increase the role of rail in the automotive supply chain."

Despite this increase in vehicle movements, there has been an overall drop in new vehicle registrations in the UK since January. According to the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders, in June the new car market fell 6.2% to 183,125 units, continuing the trend seen over the past 12 months, though fleet sales are showing stronger performance.
“June new car registrations continued to perform in line with industry expectations with robust demand in the fleet sector and a relatively weak retail market. The balance of demand makes this a tough time for vehicle manufacturers and their dealer networks,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive. “Slow, but steady economic growth in the second half of the year should see volumes increase, although the overall market is still expected to be around 1.93m units.”
The weak retail market does not seem to be affecting business for DB Schenker, however. “On all flows–domestic, import and export–there has been in a rise in volume,” reiterated its spokesman.
In other news, DB Schenker Logistics has opened a new subsidiary in Belarus. See this week’s Global Round Up for more details.