Seat starts exports to China from Spain

In January, Spanish producer Seat began exporting cars to China from the port of Barcelona, in northeast Spain. The initial consignments, which consisted of 250 Leon units, were shipped directly to the Chinese ports of Huangpu and Xingang.

The new service is being marketed by the Evge agency, which represents the Eukor Car Carriers shipping line in Spain. According to a spokesperson, this direct link with China, which will eventually be regular in nature, could also attract interest from other car manufacturers in the country and is of particularly interest since vessels make no intermediate port calls en route for China.

Vehicles were loaded at the specialist Autoterminal facility in the port, where Eukor Car Carriers has links with local agents Bergé y Cía.

For the inaugural service, Eukor rostered the Morning Cornelia, which has a capacity of just more than 6,500 units, suggesting there is much scope for other manufacturers based in Spain to buy into the concept.

The service is also an interesting one for Autoterminal, which is used as an import/export hub for Europe and North Africa, whilst also receiving many consignments inbound from manufacturers in the Far East. To date, however, no regular service has been established transporting export cars into Asia.


Mazda chooses Norbert for UK aftermarket

Mazda Motor has chosen logistics provider Norbert Dentressangle to handle aftermarket and service parts distribution to its dealerships across the UK.

The three-year contract will see Norbert Dentressangle pick up parts from Mazda Motor UK’s parts distribution centre in Staplehurst, Kent, and deliver consignments via its national shared-user night network to approximately 170 dealers per night. Up to 3,200 modules are delivered every week.

The logistics provider said it took just two weeks and three days from the date the contract was awarded to start of operations.

“The execution of the implementation process was very challenging in such a short timescale,” added Mazda’s parts and accessories sales manager, David Elphick. “With Norbert Dentressangle’s automotive night network we can react quickly to orders of any size from our dealers. The parts are guaranteed to reach dealerships before 8:00am the next day, which in turn enables them to deliver a high level of service to their customers.”

In addition, Mazda is using Norbert Dentressangle’s bespoke SHARP (Shipment Handling and Reporting Program) system, which allows it to process orders electronically. The integrated online system is reported to have improved overall efficiency by ensuring orders are processed immediately, allowing Mazda and its dealers to track deliveries using real time information.


ECG meets with EC transport vice president

Representatives from The Association of European Vehicle Logistics (ECG) have met with the vice president of the European Commission in charge of transport, Siim Kallas, to discuss a number of concerns shared by Europe’s finished vehicle logistics providers. 

The association said it discussed loaded weights and dimensions, the impact of incoming sulphur content limits in marine fuels, security for drivers and its support for incentives to remove older vehicles from European roads. 

ECG president Costantino Baldissara described the meeting as “highly encouraging”. 

In terms of truck weights and dimensions, the ECG is arguing for a harmonisation of loaded trailer lengths at 20.75 metres against the current maximum of 18.75 metres set by EU law. The move would not increase truck lengths according to the association but would allow more cars to be loaded per truck and improve efficiency while reducing emissions. 

Directive 96/53 on weights and measures is currently under review and Kallas urged the ECG to participate fully in the consultation process – “an invitation we will certainly take up,” said Baldissara. 

More on the weights and measures issues and the ECG’s position can be read here  

With regard to the 0.1% sulphur content limit on marine fuels, which will affect forwarders operating in the Baltic and North seas from 2015, the response was more muted. Kallas said it would be difficult to make changes to the pending regulations. The ECG is concerned that rise in costs could lead to a modal shift from short-sea to road. Kallas noted that the issue is being debated in the European parliament and Council of Ministers and encouraged the association to engage with environment committees involved (read more here).

Kallas said he would consider the issues affecting driver security, including secure parking, as part of targeted initiatives for improving transport efficiency.

On the question of scrapping incentives for older vehicles, Kallas said it was not currently in the EC’s remit and suggested that ECG work with member states on the issue.

“On this issue, as on those others discussed in our meeting with meeting with Mr Kallas, we will continue to look to the European Commission for insight and direction,” said Baldissara, “and we will continue to put our case in the belief that a more efficient, sustainable transport system is in the interest of us all.”

Nissan reveals Nichioh Maru for Japan routes

Nissan Motor has unveiled a new car carrier which it says is more energy efficient and will be used to transport finished vehicles and parts on a coastal route around Japan taking in the Kanto, Kinki and Kyushu regions.

Called the Nichioh Maru, and built by the Shin Kurushima Dockyard, the vessel features solar panels and is propelled by an electronically controlled diesel engine. According to Nissan the vessel also employs LED lighting in the ship's hold and living quarters and its hull is painted with the latest low friction coating, among other energy-efficient features.

Compared to an existing car carrier of the same type, Nissan said the ship can achieve a fuel reduction of up to nearly 1,400 tons annually, which converts to an annual reduction of 4,200 tons of CO2 emissions.

The company usually operates four sailings per week on the route the Nichioh Maru will support, but said it will increase this to six times per week with the addition of the new carrier, something that it said would improve the transport of Nissan vehicles to their destinations.

The introduction of the vessel is part of the Nissan Green Program 2016, the company's new mid-term environmental action plan. Under the plan, Nissan is engaged in the development of zero-emission and environmentally-friendly vehicles, as well as CO2 reduction efforts during vehicle production, logistics activities, and in its offices and sales points.