BLG handles more vehicles in 2012
BLG Logistics Group has reported earnings before tax of €49.1m ($64.4m) for 2012, a slight increase over the €48.5m recorded in 2011, with gains in the Automobile Logistics and Contract Logistics sectors.

The strongest division with earnings of €419m was Automobile Logistics, followed by Contract Logistics with €405m and Container Logistics with €327m.

A total of 6.75m vehicles were handled, transported and processed in 2012, 4.7% more than in the previous year. Altogether 3.82m vehicles were handled at the company’s seaport and inland automobile terminals last year, with Bremerhaven handling nearly 2.15m vehicles thanks in large part to the export success of German carmakers. Exports accounted for 75% of business at the port, while imports dropped to 25%.

BLG also reported that it transported 1.44m vehicles by road, rail and water, and 670,000 via freight forwarding services. At the end of the 2012 BLG AutoRail had 1,100 special rail wagons for vehicle transport and said that the number would climb to 1,300 by the end of this year.

BLG also carried out work on 820,000 vehicles at its technical centres last year.

Meanwhile, the Contract Logistics segment grew on the basis of its existing business and several new deals. These included a new contract with BMW for car parts logistics at Wackersdorf and through increases at Mercedes in Germany and the US said the company.

The Automobile and Contract divisions maintained their position as market leaders in Europe added the company.

BLG has also recently reported a growth in vehicle handling at the Gioia Tauro port terminal it operates with NYK subsidiary International Car Operators (ICO) in Southern Italy.

Since October 2012 the port has been handling a monthly average of 20,000 vehicles, which is an increase of 100% on the previous year. BLG said the increase was down to recovery in the Algerian and Libyan markets following the social unrest in those markets.

In addition, since last October, South Korea’s Glovis, which provides transport and logistics services for Hyundai-Kia, has also begun making use of the port.

Valparaiso benefits from labour unrest at San Antonio

By Barry Cross

Ongoing labour unrest at the Chilean port of San Antonio has resulted in car carriers having to divert vehicle volumes to the centrally-located port of Valparaiso. Both ports effectively vye for traffic generated by the capital, Santiago.

During April, with San Antonio effectively closed down, no fewer than 12 car carriers, conveying some 19,000 finished vehicles, made port at Valparaiso. Eight of these services were originally bound for San Antonio. This compares with Valparaiso's normally monthly traffic of 4,800 units, generated by just four port calls.

To accommodate this increase in traffic, finished vehicles have been able to make use of various areas of the port normally given over to other types of cargo.

In fact, finished vehicles traffic at the port is on the rise even in spite of the current difficulties suffered by San Antonio. In 2012, for example, the port handled 107,167 units, an increase of 63% over the previous year. Most of these – all inbound – come from manufacturers in Asia, the US and Mexico.

In January 2013, Valparaiso reported a 18% increase over the corresponding month in 2012.

Chrysler drives ePoD standard out to carriers
Chrysler has been working with software solutions provider Car Delivery Network (CDN) on an electronic proof of delivery (ePoD) standard that can be used across carriers and shippers without them having to replace current systems.

According to CDN the project took the AIAG Electronic Proof of Delivery Business Process Guideline as a starting point and incorporated new developments in technology and capabilities to create the first implementation of the AIAG Guideline. It uses a shared network platform and mobile apps and was tested from ramp pickup to dealer delivery in a live environment with carriers and their drivers.

"We have found that the information can be collected, it is reliable and can be used to automate processes in both the Carrier and Shippers organization,” said Erika Mercado-Gratton, damage prevention and claims manager at Chrysler. “We are now driving for all of our carriers to be fully ePoD compliant by 1 July 2014."

Mike Thorby from the Car Delivery Network said: "The next phase in the project is to look at how the data can be collected by all carriers, to obtain further buy-in from other OEMs, to set a standard so anyone can implement ePoD and to continue to investigate the benefits the data can bring to all."

According to Thorby one benefit already identified for both parties is in the area of damage claims. With damage now online supported by photographic proof, the data collected protects the carrier from damage claims before freight movement and the OEM from claims after freight delivery. As a bonus it also strips out the damage reconciliation administration costs for "in-delivery" damage.

“After years of discussion and debate, ePoD is firmly back on the agenda for OEMs and carriers,” said Thorby. “There is now broad recognition that the data collected is more valuable than just replacing paper or flagging a vehicle as delivered.”

Toyota begins exports from US to Russia and Ukraine
Toyota Motor North America has started exports of its Venza crossover SUV from its Georgetown plant in Kentucky to the Russia and the Ukraine. The vehicles were shipped from the port of Brunswick in Georgia aboard the K Line vessel California Highway. International Auto Processing are handling processing at the port.

The movement of the vehicles through the port of Brunswick marks the beginning of a new partnership between Toyota and the Georgia Ports Authority. As reported at the end of February, the company aims to export around 5,000 units in the first year via the port of Brunswick.

Brunswick port’s Colonel’s Island Terminal handled around 612,500 vehicle and machinery units in 2012, a record number and up from 498,000 handled in the previous year.

“The export of American-built Venzas to Russia and Ukraine further solidifies Toyota’s commitment to establishing its US manufacturing operations as a key supplier of vehicles for global markets,” said Corinne Akahoshi, national manager of Marine Logistics Operations at Toyota Motor Sales, USA. “We are proud to partner with the Georgia Ports Authority and all other parties involved, and are grateful for their support of this initiative.”

Yusen secures inbound contract with SMR for Jaguar supply
Yusen Logistics has secured a new a contract with SMR Automotive Mirrors UK, a supplier of door mirrors for the Jaguar XK and new F-Type.

The operation involves the collection of mirrors from the SMR manufacturing facility in Porchester and quality inspection prior to line-feed preparation and sequencing to the Jaguar’s plant in Castle Bromwich. Further to assembly, product is packaged and labelled prior to delivery to plant on dedicated transport twice daily.

Returnable packaging is laundered for re-use and returned to the manufacturer.

SMR was looking for a tailored sub assembly and sequence picking service, with delivery into plant on a just-in-time basis. It also required complete IT visibility and Yusen Logistics is providing stock traceability and alert messaging in real time for the sequence picking and dispatch operation.

The latest announcement follows a similar contract with car mat maker Visscher Caravelle for the sequence picking and linefeed preparation of car mats for the Jaguar XK and new F-Type models.

Both operations are based at Yusen Logistics’ Tamworth automotive centre, which is located close to major automotive manufacturers with assembly facilities in the Midlands.  The facility is supported by Yusen Logistics' forwarding control tower operations, with volumes arriving by air, sea and road.

The Tamworth operation was developed further to requests from first and second tier suppliers for decanting, cross-docking, stockholding and sequencing operations in readiness for line-feed into the assembly process on a just-in-time basis.
SNCF Geodis takes stake in Spain’s CRT
SNCF Geodis, the logistics and goods transport branch of SNCF, has signed an agreement with Spanish service provider Comsa Emte to take a 25% stake in its rail division Comsa Rail Transport (CRT). A representative from Geodis will now sit on the CRT board of directors.

Both companies have also signed a partnership to develop rail freight between France, Central Europe and the Iberian Peninsula.

SNCF Geodis said that the partnership with CRT is designed to step up collaboration on developing goods transport by rail on both sides of the Pyrenees, “notably by taking advantage of the extension of the standard-gauge network in Spain and new infrastructure on the Mediterranean corridor between Gibraltar and Perpignan”.
Growth will also be driven by VIIA, the rail motorway business of SNCF Geodis that was formed by the merger of the company’s Lorry Rail subsidiary and Autoroute Ferroviaire Alpine. The service transfers trailers between road and rail. VIIA is now reviewing the feasibility of extending the Bettembourg (Luxembourg)-Le Boulou (France) link to Spain.

In 2011, rail-motorway services removed over 50,000 semi-trailers from European roads.

The latest agreement with CRT is currently awaiting approval by the European competition authority and will not entail a change in the management of the Spanish company.