NYK vessel attacked near Indonesia
A car carrier operated by NYK Line was attacked by pirates off the coast of Indonesia, near Kalimantan, earlier this month. The Cheerleader, which was travelling between Kobe, Japan and Jakarta in Indonesia,was boarded by pirates on September 10th. The pirates stole money but fled without injuring the crew of 19 or damaging any of the cargo on board. Details of the vehicles being transported have not been released.
The latest attack on the car carrier follows a near miss at the end of August when a Höegh Autoliners car carrier was pursued by pirates in the Gulf of Aden. The Höegh Oslo avoided capture thanks to the intervention of NATO naval forces.
BMW to supply Saab with engines
BMW is to supply Saab with 4-cylinder 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engines from 2012 in a major order signed on Wednesday this week by Ian Robertson, member of the Board of Management of BMW, responsible for Sales and Marketing, and the CEO of Saab Automobile, Jan Åke Jonsson, in Trollhättan, Sweden.
The engines, which will be supplied from BMW’s Hams Hall plant in the UK and will feature Start-Stop and other measures designed to reduce emissions and fuel consumption, are intended for a new Saab model series. No financial or contract volume details have yet been disclosed and details on the logistics provider responsible for the engines’ delivery have yet to be revealed.
“We are continuing to expand our powertrain system sales business worldwide as planned as part of our Strategy Number ONE. Today’s agreement marks another important milestone along this route,” explained Robertson in a statement.
Ceva launches ‘Control Tower’ in Italy
Ceva logistics has invested more than €6m ($8.5m) in a computerised information hub in Assago (Milan) in Italy to control its logistics operations in the country from a central location.
Called the ‘Control Tower’, it is structured into three areas, each performing different specific functions: the Red Area, dedicated to monitoring overall transport including the network of national and international transport and financial targets; the Blue Area, dedicated to planning and flow optimisation of the 4PL approach which includes the handling of all transport; and the Grey Area, dedicated to monitoring alarms during the transport phases, including real-time CCTV monitoring of high-value transports and scrutiny of warehouses.
Gianfranco Sgro, president for Ceva in Southern Europe, Middle East and Africa said the control tower “transforms Ceva's approach to work, increasingly providing close links, structure and coordination of the key functions of our logistical solutions.”
Ceva has a number of automotive contracts in Italy, including Fiat. Most recently it signed a three-year agreement with BMW to operate a new dealer metro distribution centre (DMDC) for supply of spare parts to dealers in Lombardy and Piedmont. It also handles distribution of spare parts for Mazda dealerships and repair outlets throughout the country.
Chennai port development aimed at carmakers
The Chennai Port Trust has purchased more than 50 hectares of land at Sriperumbudur near Chennai for development of a dry port and multimodal logistics hub that will be aimed at carmakers, including Ford and Hyundai.
The $83.2m project will include the development of a roll on-roll off and multi-purpose berth with a multi-level car park that will increase car exports from Chennai port to about 300,000 vehicles per year.
Ford India plans to launch eight new products in India by the middle of the next decade, with a view to tap the country's fast growing car market and to make it an export hub. The company is already experiencing a favourable response for its Figo with 30,000 cars sold in the first six months of sales. 
The carmaker already uses Chennai for exports of the Figo to South Africa, the first compact car to be produced and exported by Ford India, and has plans to accelerate its export strategy (read more here).
American Honda awards top suppliers
American Honda Motor has recognised 15 suppliers in its 2010 Premier Partner Awards for demonstrating excellence in quality value and customer service. The 15 winners include logistics service providers and were picked from a 45 companies nominated by American Honda associates from a list of more than 1,000 eligible suppliers.
Among the winners was Atlantic Container Line, a Grimaldi Group company, presented the award by American Honda’s president and CEO Tetsuo Iwamura, in recognition of its provision of transport between North America and Europe.
William Kearns, executive VP for ACL, said: "It's an honour and a distinct privilege for ACL to receive this prestigious award from American Honda. We are very fortunate to have earned their trust and support the past 20 years in providing transportation services for their transatlantic shipments."
Among the other winners were Meiko America, recognised for export shipment booking, and Crown Packaging, awarded for providing service parts packaging.
"Today we acknowledge an outstanding group of suppliers who embody Honda's philosophy of delivering the highest possible value to our customers through quality products and customer service," said Gary Kessler, American Honda's senior vice president of Human Resources, Administration and Corporate Affairs. "The support of these suppliers is critical to the success of American Honda and we are honoured to recognize them for their exceptional contributions."