Finnlines begin Ust-Luga service
Baltic and North Sea shipping operator, Finnlines, has made its first delivery of Kia vehicles to the Russian port of Ust-Luga. More than 1,000 vehicles were delivered aboard the Finnsun to the Railway Ferry Terminal at Ust-Luga for onward shipment to the Russian market.
The terminal is one of two at Ust-Luga operated by the Ust-Luga Company's subsidiary Sea Commercial Port of Ust-Luga, though the Railway Ferry Terminal is state-owned.
The delivery marks the start of a regular Finnlines service to the terminal from the Swedish port of Wallhamn, which will call every second week and connect to Grimaldi's network. Finnlines, which is owned by Grimaldi, started its service from Walhamn to Russia in February this year. The port of Walhamn, also operated by the Grimaldi Group, is used for the transhipment of vehicles from deep-sea vessels for onward transport to the Russian market.
A second vessel shipping vehicles from the Finnish port of Helsinki, which will connect with the Finnlines network, will be introduced on a weekly basis at a later stage.
Kia vehicles are normally shipped into Russia via the Yug-2 car terminal at Ust-Luga, owned by Ust-Luga's sister company Transport and Logistics Complex, but an increase in the number of regular services means the latest service will use Russian Federation terminal.
Russia's Ministry of Industry and Commerce is anticipating an annual growth of 6% in the Russian vehicle market in 2012 according to state news agency RIA Novosti. The market had grown by 3.9% in 2011 (2.6m new cars).
Spain axes state interests in logistics providers
The Spanish government has said it will close down certain freight logistics companies and sell stakes in private logistics operators as austerity measures bite into public services expenditure.
Among the 80 companies affected are vehicle carriers Logistica y Transporte Ferroviario a freight transport subsidiaries of Renfe, Spain's state rail provider. However, Pecovasa, another Renfe subsidiary that provides rail transport services for VW amongst others, remains unaffected.
The government is also selling its 20% stake in rail freight operator Transfesa, which manages a fleet of more than 2,000 car carrier wagons. Stakes in three other companies specialising in rail freight services for automobile logistics - Semat, Autometro and Cargometro - are also being relinquished.
The withdrawal of government interests in operators and the closure of certain services opens up the market to international logistics providers.
DB Schenker, which already has a 20% stake in Transfesa, could increase its interest in the company but has so far refused to comment on its intentions in Spain.
Autologic buys Sensible assets
UK-based transport and logistics provider, Autologic, has acquired the assets of rival firm Sensible Transport following its insolvency and move into administration earlier this year. The acquisition increases Autologic's transporter fleet by 30 units and the company expects the purchase to generate around £6m in annual revenues. Autologic also expects to increase the range of dealership, fleet and rental company relationships, an area it is keen to expand.
The latest acquisition follows similar activity in 2010 when Autologic bought the assets of Autocarriers, which operated in the UK as Mainland Car Deliveries (MCD), following its own insolvency. The company spent 2011 integrating the Autocarriers business.
Autologic has recently reported a number of contract renewals, including a three-year contract with BMW from January this year for distribution to dealerships in the UK and the transport of Minis from the Oxford plant to the port of Southampton for export. It has also signed a new three-year contract with GM for UK distribution and renewed technical services at Chaul End, Ellesmere and Luton.
It has also renewed UK contracts with Gefco, Chevrolet, Mazda and Toyota.
In Europe it has signed a new contract to move VW Audi Group products for three years from January and renewed a contract with Glovis for two years to move Hyundai products from the Czech Republic to the UK.
Autologic increased its revenues for 2011 by 5% to £144.7m.
Norbert Dentressangle opens facility for CTG
Norbert Dentressangle has invested more than £1m ($1.6m) in a new site at Rugby in the UK, primarily to serve as a national distribution centre for Continental Tyre Group (CTG).
The transport and logistics provider has been working with CTG since 2006 and is responsible for the storage and distribution of tyres to retailers and fitters throughout the UK. Previously located in Birmingham, the operation transferred to the new facility in October 2011, providing CTG with enhanced capacity and flexibility.
The site is also one of the first to benefit from CTG's new in-house warehouse management system which has been fully interfaced with Norbert Dentressangle's own SHARP3 transport planning system, providing real-time visibility and control throughout the supply chain.
The new 212,000 sq ft  facility at Rugby will also act as a consolidation centre, where tyre volumes for CTG are combined with volumes from Bridgestone UK, another Norbert Dentressangle customer. In support of the operation, Norbert Dentressangle has also invested in a new 50-strong fleet of radial vehicles in addition to the existing fleet of 35 articulated vehicles for trunking, cross-dock and bulk deliveries.
With the CTG operation currently occupying around 60% of the available space, the site also will also provide high quality warehousing for other existing and prospective Norbert Dentressangle customers.
Sevatas opens a new office in Cologne
Risk management, claims and damage expert Sevatas has opened a new office in Cologne, Germany to meet demand for manufacturers and insurer clients in the region.
This latest development follows the successful introduction of their office in Moscow last year, dedicated to support the Russian market.
"Our German subsidiary is focused specifically on Central and Eastern European markets and is already receiving claims from six territories," said Sevatas' director Matt Holmes. "Locating our business in Cologne, centrally located for German automotive manufacturers, as well as a home for many major marine insurers, means we are well placed to develop our service provision in the future."