Toyota delivers 3m cars through Zeebrugge
Toyota has moved its 3 millionth vehicle through its vehicle logistics centre (VLC) in Zeebrugge, Belgium, which it runs with logistics partner Sintax. The white Toyota Auris Full Hybrid is being delivered to the Belgian market.
The Zeebrugge VLC started operations in January 2001 with a €12m ($17m) investment and is a major logistics hub for the import and export of Toyota and Lexus passenger cars and commercial vehicles across Europe.
It currently processes between 250,000 and 300,000 vehicles a year and occupies a total area of 460,000m², following an expansion in 2003. The facility has also recently benefited from the construction of a new quay wall at the port, allowing it to handle more ships and vehicles annually.
The VLC is designed for storage, mounting of accessories and pre-delivery inspections for Toyota and Lexus vehicles en route to Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands.
Sintax, which has been providing Toyota with logistics services for ten years at Zeebrugge, performs all compound activities under the control of the local Toyota team.
Zeebrugge was once again Europe’s and the world’s largest port for handling new vehicles in 2010, at 1.6m vehicles, a growth of nearly 25% from 2009.
Caterpillar weighs options for 3PL business
Heavy machine maker Caterpillar has announced that it may be selling the 3PL part of its logistics division Caterpillar Logistics Services (Cat Logistics) by the end of the year, though it also weighing up the prospect of making it an independent business within the division; manufacturing logistics, transport operations and brand-parts distribution are not planned to be part of sale.
“The strategic options under review are a potential sale or operating it more independently as part of Cat Logistics in the future,” a spokesperson told Automotive Logistics News. “As part of this review of strategic options, Caterpillar will begin actively marketing the Cat Logistics third party business in the next few weeks.”
The announcement has raised questions about what Caterpillar will retain as inhouse logistics functions, and what could actually be sold.
The 3PL business has more than 50 customers worldwide.
Cat Logistics has $2.3 billion in revenue, 12,000 employees and 60+ contracts mostly related to automotive, industrial and hi-tech accounts.
UK govt proposes longer trucks to cut carbon
Trucks in the UK could be allowed to use longer trailers after independent research showed that this could cut carbon without compromising safety. The research is being published today by UK Roads Minister Mike Penning alongside a consultation seeking views on the proposed changes according to the Department for Transport.

The consultation proposes allowing a two metre increase in the total length of articulated vehicles operating within the existing weight limit of 44 tonnes. This would take the maximum permitted length of an articulated lorry to 18.75 metres but would not allow any increase in overall weight.

The Department for Transport estimates that this move could increase capacity for hauliers transporting lightweight goods by up to 13% and cut carbon emissions by around one hundred thousand tonnes each year.
Mike Penning said: "The road haulage industry is vital to the economy, making goods and services accessible across the country. These proposals would allow haulage firms to use one larger truck where previously they may have needed to send two vehicles. This will help to make our haulage industry cleaner and greener as well as allowing businesses greater flexibility without compromising safety.”
The Government has ruled out any further increase in length.
Gefco recovers turnover with global growth
Gefco increased its turnover 16.3% year on year in 2010, returning to pre-recession levels with a figure of €3.35billion. The company said the results were achieved through the group’s rigorous management of operational costs, sustained efforts of sales forces to target priority markets and a recovery in the automobile market, stimulated by government intervention.
The company saw 77% of growth outside France with a particularly strong showing in South America which saw a turnover increase of 63%.
Meanwhile, in Central and Eastern Europe, turnover was up by 38%, with two new subsidiaries set up in Bulgaria and Kazakhstan.
The company’s operations in China and in the Maghreb region of North Africa also saw growth more than 40%. Recent disruption in North Africa has been affecting automotive logistics activity but most recently Gefco’s Special Transport division has been working with Gefco Tunisia group to create an air bridge to maintain supply of parts made there for PSA plants in Europe.
In a statement Gefco said it will continue to pursue its international development strategy in 2011, with emphasis on Central and Eastern Europe and Asia. The group will strengthen its activities in China, currently operational under three entities: Gefco China, Gefco Hongtaï and Gefco Hong Kong.
The company said it is working towards strong financial objectives for 2015 to reach turnover of €5.2 billion and current operating income of 5.5%.
WWL reports sustainability results
Ocean forwarder and logistics provider Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics (WWL) has reported that it reduced CO2 emissions by 21% last year, compared to 2009, through better fleet use.
The company also reported results of its low-sulphur fuel policy, which has allowed the company to cut its sulphur dioxide emissions (SO2) emissions by 151,000 tonnes from 2000 to 2010.
“A future that demands sustainability is on our immediate horizon,” commented Melanie Moore, vice president of Environment, WWL. “New international regulations beginning in 2012 will significantly increase shipping costs as vessels will be required to burn cleaner, more expensive fuels. Improved environmental performance is the best way to prepare our fleet and our customers for these changes.”
Over the next five years ocean forwarders face three significant challenges relating to the International Maritime Organisation’s MARPOL regulations, and particularly the air emissions restrictions outlined in Annex VI.
The first is the addition of a 200 nautical mile Emission Control Area (ECA) around North America, stipulating the use of ECA specific fuel by 10-15% in volume. This becomes effective in August 2012 (similar zones already being established in the Baltic and North seas). The second is the CO2 energy efficiency instrument to be put in place by 2013 meaning a cost on marine fuels equivalent of $30/90/135 per tonne of fuel depending on the carbon factor. The third is the implementation in 2015 of the 0.1% sulphur content rule that will see a 0.1% requirement for MGO (marine gas oil) fuel, adding between $150-200/tonne fuel premium for ECAs.
WWL’s most recent figures are found in the company's 2010 Environmental Sustainability Report