Senior logistics executives from leading carmakers and LSPs are heading for Newport Beach in California next week to discuss what needs to be done in terms of capacity, infrastructure and regulation to support even the modest recovery in the North American finished vehicle sector.
Following the success of the inaugural Finished Vehicle Logistics Conference last year, delegates will meet to tackle issues including driver shortage, model mix, railcar design, terminal operations, multi-modal capacity, damage management and IT systems among others. Topically, there will also be a session on collaboration with Asia regions on import flows.
Speakers from the OEMs who will be present include Ford’s North American Vehicle Logistics Manager, Walter Lowe, the vice presidents for logistics for Toyota and Honda, Nancy Davies and Dennis Manns respectively, together with logistics executives from BMW, Chrysler, Hyundai (Glovis), Kia, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Porsche, Subaru, Tesla and VW among others.
They will be joined by a range of logistics providers including: from the road side, Steffen Perfect, President of Car Haul Co-op, Greg May, president of Jack Cooper Transport and Mike Wysocki, president of United Road; from the rail providers Linda Brandl, VP for Automotive at Union Pacific, Richard Kiley, Group VP for Automotive at Norfolk Southern, and Kevin Doucet, assistant VP for CN; and from the ocean side John Felitto, CEO of both Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics and WWL Vehicle Services, Gary Hurley, VP of NYK Line’s Ro-Ro division, and Steve Rand, CEO of port operator Amports, among others.
The conference is being held at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel, starting with a cocktail reception on Tuesday 17 May and continuing for two days of discussion between the 18th-19th, including the conference dinner on Wednesday evening.
Once again there will be a particular stream of presentations and discussions covering the re-marketing and auction sector. It will feature speakers including Richard Okida, remarketing manager at Toyota Financial Services and Theo Jelks, general manager of auction services provider Adesa.
The issue of renewed capacity is central to an industry in which the leading carmakers are experiencing an upturn in volumes, albeit to a level well below the historic 15-16 million of annual sales (though currently running in excess of 13m annually).
Recent increases of production and imports to meet demand have taken rail freight providers by surprise and resulted in a shortage in railcar availability amongst the region’s leading providers (read more here).
The story is similar for road haulage, where providers are also grappling with a huge deficit of drivers caused by the recession and the fact that pay and benefits have been in long-term decline and have failed to attract younger employees..