Opel Bochum PDC will remain open beyond plant closure
GM’s Opel division has confirmed its spare parts distribution facility next to the Bochum assembly plant in Germany will remain open after the plant closes next year to fulfill contract obligations with Neovia Logistics Services. Neovia, previously Caterpillar Logistics Services, works with GM to distribute spare parts from the centre to dealerships across Europe.

The Bochum assembly plant will close when Zafira production there finishes at the end of 2014 but the Neovia contract has three years to run.

Los Angeles private equity firm Platinum Equity bought a majority stake in Caterpillar Logistics Services in July 2012 and the company was renamed the following November.

Greenbrier unveils MultiMax railcar
North American transport equipment maker Greenbrier has unveiled its MultiMax railcar, which features an adjustable deck that can shift between bi- and tri-level options for the transport of vehicles.

The company held an unveiling ceremony for rail and automotive industry leaders at its Cleburne facility in Texas on Wednesday this week.

According to the company Multi-Max, which was developed with input from both rail providers and carmakers in North America, allows for complete deck adjustments in as little as five hours, without removing the deck during reconfiguration and operators do not need to segregate Multi-Max or manage it separately from other railcars

"Greenbrier designed Multi-Max to help railroads meet the changing requirements of today's automobile manufacturers," said William Glenn, senior vice president and chief commercial officer at the company. "Consumer preferences for automobiles are less predictable, causing automakers to build factories that can quickly transform from manufacturing large vehicles like SUVs and light trucks to smaller vehicles like sedans and subcompacts. With its proprietary adjustable decks, Multi-Max means railroads no longer need to place a bet on whether they will need bi-level rail service to transport large vehicles or tri-level service for smaller vehicles. Multi-Max means railroads always have the right mix of equipment ready to move automobiles."

Greenbrier has reported worldwide orders for 2,100 automotive-related railcars or racks in the current fiscal year.

Daimler Trucks rolls out PINC yard management system
Daimler Trucks North America has chosen a yard management solution from PINC Solutions to manage inventory at its production facility in Saltillo, Mexico. PINC is providing real-time logistics controls for just-in-time delivery of parts and supplies to the facility using GPS and passive RFID, which are integrated into the yard management software.

PINC streamlines and speeds trailer activities at the facility gates, which helps to reduce congestion, and within the facility yard, the system provides managers with visibility and control of all inbound and outbound shipments, as well as the ability to make real-time decisions on load movements. The real-time control enables just-in-time parts delivery for assembly line manufacturing.

“An effective and efficient supply chain is a must in a highly competitive and complex environment like the vehicle manufacturing industry,” said Dr Aleks Gollu, CTO and founder of PINC Solutions. “Visibility to timely shipment processing remains a key challenge. We are proud that Daimler Trucks North America has chosen our solution to tackle this challenge.”

Malaysia eases import duties
The Malaysian government has reduced excise duties on new vehicles imported to the country, which is expected to increase competition in the market between local carmakers Proton and Perodua, and international brands. The gradual decrease is expected to see a reduction in vehicle prices of between 20% and 30%.

The latest move follows the announcement of a reduction of import duties on cars from Japan and Australia which was made in February. The duty will gradually decrease from 30% to 0% in 2016.

The overall impact of that move was expected to be minimal given that most Japanese cars were assembled in Thailand where they are already exempted from paying import duties under the Asean Free Trade Agreement.

Ford holds 15th World Excellence Awards for suppliers
Ford has recognised 47 of its top performing suppliers at an event held last week in Dearborn, Michigan. Among the logistics providers recognised, NYK received a silver award for transportation while a gold award went to Mexican road transporter Transportistas Unidos Mexicanos in the Truckload Carrier category, putting it in the top 5% who have been seen to demonstrate superior quality, delivery and cost performance.

Union Pacific railroad received a ‘Go Further’ award along with 34 other companies for their contributions to recover from the fire which devastated the Evoniks polymer making facility in Germany in April last year and which led to issues with the global supply of components (read more here http://www.automotivelogisticsmagazine.com/Newsitem.aspx?aid=1356#story)

Mark Fields, Ford chief operating officer, thanked the supplier partners for continuing to embrace the Go Further mindset in the face of adversity.

“We want to recognise those suppliers who have demonstrated excellence despite the unforeseen challenges that have happened over the past year,” said Fields. “Thanks to your unwavering commitment, we are closer than ever to reaching our goal of delivering profitable growth for all.”