Mercedes renews contract with Brit European
Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz van division has extended its contract with finished vehicle carrier Brit European for a further three years.
Building on a previous contract that began in 1997, the logistics provider will handle the final delivery leg of all Sprinter and Vario van models as well as Mitsubishi Fuso Canter trucks.
Mercedes-Benz produces the Sprinter and Vario at its German plants in Düsseldorf and Ludwigsfelde, as well as in Vitoria/Spain. Daimler produces the Fuso Canter Tramagal plant in Portugal, which it took over in 2003.
Brit European will collect the vehicles from the ports of Purfleet and Killingholme for delivery to dealers and bodybuilders across the UK.
In other news, Daimler’s joint venture in China with Fujian Motor Industry Group and the Taiwan-based China Motors – Fujian Daimler Automotive – has begun production of the Mercedes Benz Sprinter van at its plant in Fuzhou. It is the third van manufactured by Fujian Daimler for the Chinese market and follows the Viano and Vito, also built at Fuzhou.
All vehicles will be distributed by road from the Fuzhou plant, in Fujian province, to dealerships in 42 cities over 21 provinces in China, from Kunming in the south to Hohhot in the north. That exclusive mode may be subject to review as volumes increase according to a spokesperson for Daimler.
CDN sails in to North America
Car Delivery Network (CDN), which provides real-time information on outbound vehicle movements via cloud-based applications for shippers and carriers, has secured its first customers in North America for a networked transport management system (nTMS) – the first cloud-based system to be made available in the region according to the company.
Currently in pilot with a number of US companies, automotive shippers, brokers and carriers are reported to be showing strong interest, the system professes a more cost-effective and collaborative way of capturing electronic data along the each stage of the outbound supply chain and makes it visible online in real time to better effect the track and trace of vehicles. 
It also provides an online trading platform to improve visibility of capacity and demand, a solution based on CDN’s established online trading system for the delivery of vehicles, which already processes over 10,000 vehicles each month.
According to CDN the latest solution offers totally networked data and gives authorised companies end-to-end visibility and control of the vehicle delivery supply chain. 
What is also significant about the solution said Wayne Pollack, the company’s CEO, is that it saves companies the cost of investing in their own costly IT systems.
Talking about last year’s Automotive Logistics Global conference in Dearborn, Michigan, Pollock said that the company came away having learned that a number of carriers, shippers and brokers were planning to invest heavily in building or buying their own transport and marketplace management systems when a solution already existed.
“Everyone is building their own yacht at great expense to sail across the ocean rather than taking the fast ferry at a fraction of the cost,” said Pollock by way of analogy.
Mike Thorby, director of Car Delivery Network, said: “This is the next step in our plans for a global automotive logistics platform to support all entities involved with outbound automotive logistics and downstream automotive sectors.”
The full CDN USA launch will take place in the first quarter of 2012.
Tacoma boosts auto and H&H volumes
The US port of Tacoma’s in Washington state has increased automotive imports by 40% for the period ending October 31 compared to the same period in 2010. It has also increased breakbulk volumes by 60% for the same period compared to last year thanks in large part to high and heavy business including agricultural, industrial and construction machinery exports.
The port moved more than 131,600 vehicles over the first 10 months of the year as well as nearly 116,000 tons of machinery. Earlier this year the port received a consignment of Kia vehicles that included the carmaker’s one millionth import to the US. The 2011 Optima Hybrid rolled off a K-Line vessel at the port's Blair Terminal in August.
Last week the port saw a shipment of 75 units of Genie lifting equipment move through terminal 7 for export on WWL’s ro-ro vessel Tarago to international markets via Panama. From the Tarago's destination in Manzanillo, the equipment will ship to customers in Belgium, Argentina and Australia.
Last year the port of Tacoma processed nearly 121,000 vehicles.
10,000km on Indian Highways launched
A new book documenting the logistics challenges faced by heavy commercial vehicles and their drivers on the Indian highway network has been released as part of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of Pallia Transport Company, which took place in Gurgaon in the Indian state of Haryana on November 18.
Called 10,000km on Indian Highways it has been written by Ramesh Kumar, a regular contributor to Finished Vehicle Logistics magazine.
Readers may recall that for eight days in November 2010 Kumar travelled nearly 3,000km on a Mercurio Pallia car haulier from Chennai to Gurgaon. He witnessed both the growing strength of the Indian economy and automotive logistics industry, as well as its many shortcomings, including treacherous driver conditions, corrupt border and patrol officials and a road network that is still painfully inefficient, particularly around cities (read more here
The heads of some of India’s leading carmakers and logistics companies participated in the launch of the book, including: Maruti Suzuki’s R S Kalsi, executive officer, sales and dispatch, spare parts and logistics: Prem Verma, CEO of Tata Motors vehicle logistics subsidiary, TML Distribution; Pirojshaw Sarkari, CEO of Mahindra Logistics; Min Joo of Glovis India; J Sen of Honda Siel Cars; Andrea Conti of Mercurio Group; Christophe Poitrineau; Gefco Group’s East Asia Zone director; and Vipul Nanda, chairman and managing director of Mercurio Pallia Logistics.
Those wanting to purchase the hardcopy or pdf version, which is also available, can write to
Yusen Logistics moves UK operation
Yusen Logistics has moved its UK crossdock and storage facility from Castleford to nearby Leeds in the north of England. 
The Leeds operation, which will be based just south of the city, has access to rail and major routes connecting the UK. It will play a key strategic role as an inland import centre said the company and enables Yusen Logistics to move more freight off the roads.
Ian Veitch, managing director, Yusen Logistics (UK), commented: "We are extremely excited by this move. The location provides a better-suited facility to service customers and underlines our commitment to continued provision of a North Yorkshire network platform. The new site's location is optimal and enables vastly improved flexibility for road and rail links."