DHL adds Asia-Europe services
DHL Global Forwarding, Freight has added two new routes between Asia and Europe for intermodal shipments, including those for the automotive sector.

The first route offers daily rail shipments from Shanghai via the trans-Siberian route in the north and through the border at Malaszewicze in Poland where the freight is shifted to road for last mile delivery.

DHL said the service would reduce C02 emissions by up to 90% compared to air freight and decrease door-to-door delivery by 21 days.

The second route offers a weekly service from Chengdu through China’s West Corridor rail line through Kazakhstan, also to Malaszewicze. It departs on Friday and DHL said the service offers lower transit times of eight days compared to the trans-Siberian route, as well as offering lower costs.

"As a flexible solution, this service offers the option of booking variable capacity – ranging from a single container to a whole train," said DHL Freight’s CEO, Amadou Diallo. “At the same time, it connects seamlessly with both our groupage network in Europe and DHL Global Forwarding Freight’s Asian network, including markets such as Japan and Korea.”

A spokesperson for DHL told Automotive Logistics News that the multi-modal service had so far focused on automotive, high value, and high tech goods, as well as fast-moving consumer goods. Engineering and manufacturing goods are being moved from China to Europe.

“Eastbound from Europe to China we have goods from the engineering and manufacturing as well as automotive sectors,” said the spokesperson, adding that the company was expanding the service into other sectors including spare parts, chemicals and white goods.

WWL to get two Post-Panamax vessels
Wilh Wilhelmsen ASA and Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) have signed an agreement to build two post-Panamax car carrying vessels for use by Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics (WWL). The vessels will be delivered between 2014 and 2015.

“Although the car carrying market at the moment might be somewhat weaker than we would like, we believe that the long term underlying growth potential for deep sea transportation of cars and high and heavy equipment is strong and positive,” said Jan Eyvin Wang, president and CEO of Wilh Wilhelmsen ASA. “We are therefore pleased to have come to an agreement with HHI to build two state of the art post-Panamax car carriers. The agreement also includes an option to build another two vessels.”

Wilh Wilhelmsen is not divulging the investment figure on the new vessels in accordance with its supplier agreement.

The vessels will have a car carrying capacity equivalent to 7,930 CEUs, be 200 metres long and have a beam width of 36.7 metres, approximately 4.3 metres wider than today's car carriers.

“These vessels are specially designed to cater to the demands of the automotive, rolling equipment and manufacturing industries, with regard to both capacity and quality,” said Arild Iversen, president and CEO of WWL. “An efficient design enabling optimum cargo handling, together with the latest environmental solutions will ensure that we continue to deliver first-class value to our customers,” he added.

As yet the company has not determined exactly where the vessels will be deployed but a company spokesperson said that this would be where there was most demand from customers at the time of delivery.

BMW recalls vehicles because of defective airbag
BMW is recalling 220,000 BMW 3 Series vehicles to replace front passenger airbags provided by safety systems supplier Takata. The announcement follows the recall of nearly 3.5m vehicles produced by the Japanese OEMs including Toyota, Nissan, Honda and Mazda last month, which also had problems with passenger airbags supplied by Takata (read more here).

The BMW vehicles affected were produced between December 2001 and March 2003. The carmaker said that it has been made aware that there is a risk that in the event of an accident the airbags will not inflate sufficiently but that no incidents have been reported.

“At the moment, our supplier is producing additional replacements, which will be delivered to our dealers,” said a spokesperson for BMW. “Customers are being sent official letters from BMW. The replacement of the front passenger airbag is free of charge to the customer. The workshop visit will take approximately one hour.”

In the wake of the recalls, Takata announced last week that it was appointing Stefan Stocker as its new president and COO. Stocker, the first non-Japanese president the company has appointed, was previously executive officer. He replaces Shigehisa Takada as president. Takada is moved into the newly created role of chairman, CEO and representative director. The changes are subject to approval at the next general shareholder meeting to be held on June 23rd.

Management buys out Barloworld Belgium
The management of Barloworld’s Belgian division has bought out the business from the parent company and will now continue commercial contracts under the new name of B-Close nv. This includes exclusive distribution of the Hyster range of lift trucks and warehouse equipment in the region. The management has now bought all shares in the company from Barloworld and will continue under the leadership of managing director, Eric Maertens.

“Eric Maertens and his team have proven their ability to run the Hyster business in Belgium successfully and I am confident that they will take the business to a new level,” said Ralf Mock, managing director of NACCO Materials Handling Group, representing Hyster.

In a statement B-Close said that not being part of a multinational, stock exchange-listed structure would allow it to simplify internal processes and concentrate on its core activities.

Denso moves module assembly to US
Automotive parts supplier Denso has opened a new $500,000 cooling module assembly plant and warehouse facility in the state of Iowa, US. Denso Manufacturing Michigan Iowa (DMIA) is situated in Urbandale, Des Moines, and will produce the modules for the agricultural and construction industries.

“With the opening of the Urbandale facility, Denso has localised the assembly of products that were previously assembled in the United Kingdom, for its North American customers,” said Howard Sugi, president and CEO of Denso International America. “Denso has been in Iowa since 1974, when we opened our first facility in Cedar Falls, mainly to support heavy duty, off highway engine management and others. We’re excited about the opportunities we see in the years ahead for our new site.”

The decision to move assembly to the US could bring significant logistics savings though the company would not provide any details.

The facility will also handle “pass-through” products such as radiator assemblies and cooling modules for the construction, agricultural and electric power industries.

DMIA is part of an expansion plan the company is pursuing with a planned investment of nearly $2 billion in North America designed to strengthen and expand its product development and manufacturing capabilities across the region. More than $750m of that will be invested in the US.

Alliance awards outbound suppliers
The Renault-Nissan Alliance has recently given awards to two of its outbound suppliers at the 2013 Alliance Logistics Europe Supplier Convention.

Ocean services provider UECC took the Innovation Award in recognition of the successful implementation of its Atlantic Loop service and the engineering of all maritime flows in the Atlantic, which achieved a lead time reduction of flows by almost five days. The Alliance said that from the start of contract UECC had demonstrated innovative solutions that catered for volume increases.

The Performance Award went to Sintax Logistica for supporting Alliance activities even outside allocated routes and providing a high flexibility in delivery to the market. The award also recognised high capacity with respect to challenging transit times at arrival ports thanks to Sintax’s method of programming inland transport inline with vessel schedules, as well as its benchmark level in terms of proactivity to support Alliance demands.