Opel has a new logistics service provider for all inbound deliveries to its German plants and regional distribution centres in the Rhein-Ruhr/Mannheim and Saarland region. The new contract, which starts at the beginning of August, follows the insolvency of Opel’s previous provider Lueg.
The new company, a 50:50 joint venture between LSPs Ewals Cargo Care and Schüchen, called ESteam, will collect parts from suppliers and deliver them to plants including those at Bochum, Eisenach, Kaiserslautern and Rüsselsheim. Delivery will also be made to the Antwerp plant in Belgium (though the future of the plant hangs in the balance this week as final negotiations are made). 
ESteam will also organise pre-collection of parts from German suppliers and organise them at regional distribution centres for shipment onto production plants by GM’s selected carriers to other countries including South America.
Both companies have experience in automotive inbound logistics for a range of OEMs and tier ones, and Opel is one of the biggest and most important clients for Ewals Group. It was recently awarded the Carrier of the Year Award for 2008 by GM.
Low level volumes, which have already begun, will reach full volume around August 10th according to Ewals Cargo Care’s Managing Director, Ulrich Selders. Lueg will fulfil the terms of its contract with Opel until the end of July.
Selders told Automotive Logistics that ESteam will receive, manage, monitor and administrate the entire order pool. “It will allocate transport orders to the local (area) branches of Ewals Cargo Care and Schüchen,” he said. “Depending on given parameters, such as shipment size and geographical aspects, transport will be effected as direct transport of FTL or milkruns, or as consolidated transport via local hubs.”
Five of Schüchen’s bases in Germany will be used for the contract – Raunheim (where the new joint venture is based), Heddesheim, Köln, Wenden-Gerlingen and Saarlouis). Ewals centre in Herne will be in change of local transport.
So far, Ewals Cargo Care, which has long been a partner with Opel, has been focussing on FTL movements and interplant logistics. Schüchen, meanwhile, has been focussing on “Gebietsspedition” [inbound transport of externally purchased parts] and cross docking.
“Both JV partners will benefit from Opel’s transport volumes, that will replenish the utilisation of resources, being it local collections, cross docking or direct transport/line hauls,” continued Selders. “As both companies are strongly engaged in automotive logistics, we will reactivate synergies and thus stabilise, reinforce and extend our networks.”
The operation will adhere to Opel’s concept of Lean Materials Management.
The choice of provider has not been influenced by ongoing negotiations concerning future ownership of GM Europe, said Opel spokesman Andreas Kroemer.