Ecuador increases car exports to Venezuela and looks at closer ties
Almost 3,000 finished vehicles were sent to the port of Cabello, in Venezuela, from the Ecuadorian port of Esmeraldas in August, the first of six consignments totalling 12,700 vehicles to be exported by sea between now and December.

This compares with just 6,876 vehicles exported from Ecuador to Venezuela last year.

The first shipment comprised of 2,475 Kia vehicles as well as 80 Hyundai units and 40 from Mazda. The vehicles were assembled in Ecuador by contract vehicle assemblers Aymesa (for Kia), Neohyundai (for Hyundai) and Maresa (for Mazda).

The vehicles were transported by ocean forwarder Höegh.

The increase in exports to Venezuela follows a MOU signed in June last year between the countries’ respective trade ministries for the allocation of vehicle import licences.

The deputy ministers of Industry of Ecuador and Venezuela have agreed to start work on a complementary bilateral productive agreement encompassing assemblers and auto parts makers in both countries during the ALBA trade fair, which will be held in Caracas from 12 to 14 September.

Audi chooses Puebla with logistics a deciding factor
Audi has announced it will build a new plant in San José Chiapa, in the State of Puebla, Central Mexico and has cited its central location, infrastructure and good logistics links as factors influencing its decision.

“The production site in San José Chiapa meets various key requirements of our global growth strategy and we can step up our activities in American markets,” said Rupert Stadler, chairman of Audi’s Board of Management. The chosen location is an ideal base from which to supply international markets from Mexico he said, adding: “We are delighted that the Mexican government and the state of Puebla are so supportive of our project.”

Audi will build the successor to its current Audi Q5 SUV model at its Mexican plant, with a planned annual output of 150,000 units. Production is scheduled to begin in 2016. Once the agreements have been signed, work can begin on preparing the site in San José Chiapa before the end of the year. Construction work on the plant buildings should start in mid-2013.

“The new plant in San José Chiapa will be the most modern in the Audi production network for its efficient use of resources and production methods,” said Audi board member for Production Frank Dreves.

Febi Bilstein expands German facility with Witron
German automotive and truck spare parts supplier Ferdinand Bilstein is expanding its warehouse facility in Ennepetal following increased sales and the purchase of UK automotive parts provider Automotive Distributors Ltd in January this year.

The facility, in western Germany, will be expanded from a 36,000 SKU capacity to around 105,000 SKUs.

The company has signed a contract with Witron Logistik and Informatik for the expansion. Witron, which designs and implements logistics and material handling solutions, has been working with Ferdinand Bilstein as a general contractor at the existing facility in Ennepetal since 2008.

“We already require the additional logistics resources originally planned to be used in 2015,” said Frank Boecker, logistics manager at Ferdinand Bilstein. “As a result of the very good experiences we made with Witron's Order Picking System and MPS Module Picking System in terms of cost-efficiency, performance, quality, flexibility, and ergonomics, we immediately made the decision to implement these same solutions for our future expansion.”

The module picking system for the automated storage and picking of heavy and bulky parts will receive eight additional pick workstations, making 20 in total; four new storage aisles to make eleven11 in total and 22,200 pallet locations making 61,500 in total. The Automated Product Packing Department will be expanded by six workstations to make 21 in total.

Storage aisles will increase from ten to nineteen, and its 100,000 storage locations will increase to 190,000.

A new four-aisle automated high bay warehouse will stand 28 meters tall and hold 10,250 pallet locations. This dispatch buffer will provide pallets in the proper timing and sequence for trailer loading, using far less floor space than the current manual buffering process.

Yusen opens eighth logistics centre in Australia
Yusen Logistics’ division in Australia has opened a new 5,000-square-metre logistics facility at Greystanes near Sydney to meet rising demand from a number of industries including automotive.

It will be the fourth logistics warehouse close to Sydney and is approximately 30kms from both Sydney airport and the port of Sydney. The company also has logistics centres and bonded warehouses in Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth providing storage, pick pack, domestic distribution and other added value services.

The combined storage remove house area, including the new centre, will total 95,800 square meters, making it the largest among Japanese logistics companies operating in Australia.

The vast size of Australia means delivery times to major cities are a challenge. Yusen claims its use of first class inventory management means deliveries can be made from the warehouse closest to the customer, enabling reduced delivery time and costs.

The company also reports the set up of an in-house Kaizen Team tasked with maintaining and improving daily operations, such as reducing operation time, effective space usage and minimising operational mistakes.

APL pilots latest containerised vehicle system
APL Logistics has introduced a new containerized vehicle transport system called AutoDirect that uses flexible but secure racks that can be configured to fit up to six cars in one intermodal container compared to conventional fixed-rack container equipment which typically accommodates two medium sized cars. The company said the solution offers door-to-door delivery, minimizing handling of vehicles throughout the supply chain.

In addition, AutoDirect racks fit easily with standard containers from any carrier, allowing customers to deliver small batches more frequently to destinations that prohibit standard ro-ro delivery.

The racks are removable, collapsible and returnable. They are also certified by independent quality auditors.

“AutoDirect is an innovative transport solution that can increase cost competitiveness compared to conventional containerized delivery,” said Rinaldy Sudyatmiko, APL Logistics’ director of Business Development for Auto Logistics for Asia/Europe. “This innovative solution is targeted to be the preferred solution for small to medium shipments by original equipment manufacturers, importers or distributors.”
The company has completed a pilot shipment involving seven 40-foot high cube containers and one 40-foot container that carried 28 cars in total from China to Thailand.

The eight containers made their way from Yantai, China via Dalian and transshipment port Kaohsiung, Taiwan before arriving at Laem Chabang, Thailand. The vehicles were moved to their final destination in Laos.

Ignazio Messina expands con-ro fleet
Italian shipping group Ignazio Messina, which is based in Genoa, has ordered four more state-of-the art con-ro vessels from the South Korean shipyard STX Offshore & Shipbuilding. The vessels will be employed for container, vehicle and special equipment shipment on the company’s services between main ports in the Mediterranean and Africa, the Middle East and India.

Messina’s overall investment in the latest vessels is approximately $300m. The 240m long ships are due for delivery between June and December 2014.

The latest investment follows a previous purchase of four similar vessels that Ignazio Messina is taking delivery of this year, two of which are already in service with a third to be delivered at the end of the month and the fourth delivered in December.

A spokesman for the company said that the vessels were equipped to load everything from passenger vehicles, trucks and high & heavy equipment as well as mafis and specialized trailers, with mixed cargo services available.