Audi plans logistics facility in Györ
German carmaker Audi is reported to be planning a logistics centre just outside Györ in Hungary to boost production at its plant there, which is currently undergoing a €900m expansion to boost annual car output to 125,000 by next year.

Local press reports indicate that the logistics facility supporting the plant will be built at Gönyü, just 20kms outside Györ and will receive foreign investment funding from the Hungarian government to assist with the deal.

As well as engine production for VW Group, the Györ plant builds the Coupé and Roadster versions of the Audi TT as well as the Audi A3 Cabriolet and Audi RS 3 Sportback in conjunction with the carmaker’s Ingolstadt plant in Germany. The new expanded facility will add an A3 derivative to the assembly line.

It is one of Hungary’s largest exporters and produced a total of 1,883,757 engines and 39,518 automobiles last year.

Unicar snapped up by Bureau Veritas
Consulting multinational, Bureau Veritas, which provides monitoring and inspection services to the automotive industry, has bought German-based Unicar, a global specialist in automotive inspection services.

Unicar provides inspection services for new vehicles during transport between manufacturing plants, storage sites and in more than 60 port terminals around the world. In 2011 it generated revenue of €8m. The company said it will continue to expand its services worldwide under its own brand supported by Bureau Veritas while bringing its own expertise and providing online damage analysis tools to the new owner’s existing automotive customers.

“UniCar customers are pleased to see the continuing extension of both our global reach and customer driven services enabled by joining Bureau Veritas,” said Eric Imiola, Unicar’s managing director. “UniCar is already Europe’s leading new vehicle survey company and operates in over 30 countries on five continents. The synergy of our two companies will facilitate UniCar’s expansion goal of serving all emerging and existing automotive logistics markets.”
This year Bureau Veritas has also bought European Compliance Laboratory (ECL), an electrical and electronic product testing laboratory and Pockrandt, a company providing non-destructive testing services to major power plant contractors and operators across Germany. The acquisitions total €14m in annual revenue.

"Germany is a key country for Bureau Veritas where it is already active in the industry, maritime and consumer goods sectors,” said Didier Michaud-Daniel, Bureau Veritas' CEO. “The Group intends to expand significantly in the power, automotive and electronics markets, given the weight of these industries in Germany. With these new acquisitions, we can now offer a larger service portfolio to German customers and we have increased our capabilities in attractive segments."

Grimaldi takes charge of latest ro-ro vessel

Italian insurance and financial group, SACE, has secured €30m from the European Investment Bank (EIB) to support Italian ocean forwarder Grimaldi Group in its acquisition of a new ro-ro vessel to transport vehicles, trailers and containers.

The MV Eurocargo Livorno was delivered on 28 June and has been purchased using a combination of Grimaldi’s own equity and the EIB fund and the vessel will be owned and operated by the Grimaldi Group. SACE's role is to guarantee Grimaldi's liability.

Built by Korea’s Hyundai Mipo Dockyard in Ulsan, the 10-deck vessel has a capacity for 2,000 passenger cars or 800 containers and a gross tonnage equal to 25,000 tons. It will be be deployed on Grimaldi’s shortsea Mediterranean routes between the ports of Livorno, Genoa, Catania, Patras, Bar and Salerno.

"The delivery of the EC Livorno is just one part of a big investment that Grimaldi carried out during the last years of a total worth of more than €2.5 billion and with the delivery of more than 30 vessels," said Grimaldi's commercial and logistics director, Costantino Baldissara. "To complete this investment, another Eurocargo unit will be soon delivered from the same shipyard, while two other multipurpose ro-ro ships will be delivered by the Chinese Jinling shipyard to Finnlines, daughter company of Grimaldi Group," he said.

The arrangement is part of the Motorways of the Sea project set up to move freight from Europe’s roads to short sea and which is sponsored by the European Commission and supported by the EIB.

The project is aimed at improving access to markets throughout Europe and bringing relief to what the EC sees as an over-stretched European road system.

Acumen adopts night deliveries during Olympic Games
The UK’s Acumen Automotive Logistics will be switching to a night service to ensure deliveries of the London taxi get to the LTI Vehicles dealership in London during the Olympic Games, which start next week.

LTI, which makes the iconic London Black Cab, has a dealership in the London borough of Islington on Brewery Road, which lies on the Olympic Route Network, an are that is expected to be severely congested until 14th September when the event finishes.

Acumen’s car transporters carry around 2,500 taxis each year from Coventry delivering to LTI Vehicles’ distribution facility in Warwickshire.  It then transports the taxis to UK customers throughout the UK and to LTI Vehicles’ depot in Brewery Lane.