Redesigned Nano could reach US shores in three years
A redesigned version of Tata's low-cost Nano minicar will come to the United States in three years, according to Ratan Tata, chairmen of India's Tata Group.

"The US is a very enticing market," Tata said in an interview during the opening of a Jaguar Land Rover dealership in New Jersey. "We are redesigning the Nano for both Europe and the US."

The new Nano would have more features and a higher price tag than in India, but would be priced below $10,000, according to Ratan Tata.

But neither he nor the company have provided any details on distribution or retail, calling such plans "premature". Tata currently has no dealer network in the US. There have been no plans discussed so far to combine the Nano into the retail network of Tata's luxury marques, Jaguar or Land Rover, according to Automotive News, quoting Andy Goss, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover North America.

The Nano went on sale in India during 2009 with a price tag of about $2,500. Sales have been below expectations, however, after Tata had to switch plant locations and faced subsequent quality issues.

No Indian carmakers have yet to distribute their vehicles in the US. Long-touted plans by Mahindra & Mahindra to bring its trucks and SUVs to the country by 2008 have ended in numerous lawsuits by US dealers against the company.

Panalpina takes over BMW spare parts logistics in Brazil
Panalpina has assumed responsibility for BMW's spare parts logistics operations in Brazil with immediate effect. Panalpina will run a new distribution centre for the automotive manufacturer in the country.

The new 10,000 square metre warehouse, which has been set up exclusively for BMW's operations in the Brazilian market, opened on October 1st in Cajamar near Sao Paulo. Panalpina will serve the entire market from this base. Apart from services such as goods receipt, storage, order picking and return goods handling, Panalpina will be responsible for order management and spare parts deliveries within Brazil, using its own just-in-time concept. Panalpina will also supervise customs clearance for incoming consignments.

The new mandate represents a further extension of Panalpina's long-standing partnership with the BMW Group. According to the company, the contract is in line with the company's strategy to increasingly offer value-added logistics services.

The Panalpina Group has also released preliminary financial figures for the third quarter of 2012, which indicated that EBITDA would be between CHF 15m-20m ($16m-21.5m), which already incorporates a one-off extraordinary charge of CHF 12m. Although ocean freight volumes have continued to increase, disappointingly weak air freight volumes (-8% year-on-year) and a higher cost base negatively impacted profitability. In September, the Group recorded particularly low air freight volumes.

"After a weak July and an improvement in August, we expected our air freight volumes to grow sequentially in September. However, compared to August they came in much weaker than seasonally normal, especially on Europe-related trade lanes," said Panalpina's CEO Monika Ribar.

The company did say that while air freight was significantly down for high-tech, chemicals and telecom, it actually rose for manufacturing, oil and gas and healthcare.

Detailed financial earning will be released 2 November.

DHL Supply Chain bulks up India investment
DHL Supply Chain has announced an investment of €100m ($130m) to further strengthen its logistics infrastructure in India. This will include development of eight multi-client warehouses across India and upgrading its current fleet to meet the needs of various sectors, including automotive. The warehouses, which DHL calls multi-client sites (MCS), will add a further 5m square feet (465,000 square metres) of warehousing space, and will be located at major cities such as, Mumbai, Gurgaon, , Bengaluru, Nagpur, Chennai, Kolkata and Ahmedabad.

"In 2010 the Indian logistics market was at $82.1 billion, with a projected growth of 9% in 2011. With government investments in infrastructure on the rise coupled with streamlining of regulatory policies, we are enthusiastic about the fast paced growth in the logistics market," said Paul Graham, chief executive officer, Asia Pacific, DHL Supply Chain.

The company said that it has put "strategic sector focus" on several sectors in India, including retail and automotive.

According to DHL, the eight new MCS sites in India have been designed to DHL's global standards and will include loading docks and dock levellers, RFID technology for barcode scanning and fully secured warehouses equipped with CCTV, electronic access controls, intruder alarms and traffic management systems.

DHL's global environmental protection programme GoGreen – run by DHL's parent company Deutsche Post DHL – will be implemented across the MCS facilities. "All our sites will use green technology like LED lighting and wind assisted ventilation in line with the company's commitment to improving the carbon efficiency of its own operations and those of its transportation subcontractors by 30% by 2020, compared to 2007 levels," said Vikas Anand, DHL Supply Chain's chief operating officer for India.

DHL Supply Chain has also expanded its transport network in India, having recently opened branches that provide dedicated full truckload services (FTL) across the country. This service, which was previously offered only to its warehousing customers, is now available for other customers. According to the company, the transport branch network is equipped with a transport management system, which DHL suggested would bring higher standards of reliability to a FTL market that is otherwise fragmented.

In other DHL-related news, Renault will supply DHL France with a fleet of electric vehicles by 2015. A total of 50 Kangoo ZE and ZOE vehicles have already been confirmed. The first four Kangoo ZE will be delivered by the end of 2012. The Renault already chose DHL in 2011 to manage the logistics of battery shipments to all Z.E. centres and expert sites across France. Additional orders will depend on the different potential needs.

Priority Freight moves to Polish auto centre
Priority Freight has opened a business in Wroclaw, southern Poland, to target industrial sectors including automotive manufacturing which has a strong showing in the region.

Group managing director Neal Williams said the company, which is a logistics expeditor, has been in Poznan for around four years and took the decision more than a year ago to move to the Lower Silesia region and centre itself within the main industrial area there to get closer to its customers.

Automotive accounts for 70% of Priority FreightÕs business to and from the region and it also has a strong presence supporting the aerospace sector to the east of Wroclaw.

"Wroclaw's location means that it is well situated to serve the growing Polish automotive supply sector," said Williams. "Poland is now one of the leading producers of auto parts in Europe and is experiencing consistent economic growth despite the current global recession. The new office complements our existing bases in the UK and Germany and will be critical in managing our expanding network of transport service providers."

The Priority Freight team in Poland will be led by general manager Arek Kowalewski, who has a career in both the automotive and aerospace sectors. Kowalewski told Automotive Logistics News that, as well as being closer to its customers, being in the western part of Poland means being ideally located for routes to destinations in wider Europe.

Wroclaw's location in Lower Silesia is significant in terms of its vicinity to the fast developing automotive industry that, as with other sectors, has flourished since the introduction through the 1990s of Poland's 14 special economic zones, three of which are in the Lower Silesia region. Wroclaw falls within the Walbrzych Special Economic Zone and production companies setting up business there employing more than 100 people benefit from tax benefits. While Priority Freight doesn't qualify for tax breaks, its vicinity to the tier suppliers and OEMs which do, including Fiat, Opel and Toyota, is of significant benefit said Kowalewski.

Besides its office, Priority Freight has warehouse space a mile from the airport in Wroclaw, and uses local courier operators and haulage companies to carry the goods on its behalf to and from the plants and to the airports.

"It is a good development and shows our commitment to Poland as an important developing power in automotive in the region," said Williams.

Chapman Freeborn acquires Euro Express
Air charter specialist Chapman Freeborn has successfully acquired the on board courier business of Hong Kong-based Euro Express, a specialist logistics company providing hand-carry services in Asia and worldwide.

Operating as Chapman Freeborn OBC in Hong Kong, the company said that the new venture would afford global freight forwarders and cargo clients greater access to the Chinese and Asian markets.

According to the company, the Hong Kong branch will serve as a hub between America, Europe, China and other parts of Asia, particularly for the shipment of electronics and high-tech communications equipment, as well as deliveries for other time-sensitive industries such as the automotive sector.

Nikolai Bergmann has been appointed as head of the new company, having previously served as Euro Express's managing director.

Cup holder deliveries can make a critical difference
Last week, Evolution Time Critical used four aircraft charters in one day to complete a critical delivery to a major OEM which was launching a model upgrade. While the components posed no risk to a production shortage, the deliveries have underlined the role that critical logistics can play in building the brand reputation of an OEM or new model.

According to Brad Brennan, Evolution Time Critical managing director, the parts that were delayed, cup holders, would not have resulted in a line stoppage and therefore the financial penalty to the OEM for not delivering would have been relatively low. However, the reputational damage of a supply chain failure would have been significant. If the delivery wasn't successful, the parts would have had to be retrofitted delaying final delivery by an estimated three days and incurring the damage risk inherent with a retrofit.

"Delaying delivery of a new car can be immensely frustrating for the customer and damaging to an OEMs brand at a critical point of the customer experience," said Brennan. "The short term financial penalties for failing to deliver on this job would have been relatively small. It's a credit to the OEM and the tier one that they place such value on consumer experience that they are willing to pull out all the stops to make sure the car can be delivered on time."

Network Rail plans road haulage hub at former car plant
The UK's Network Rail has announced plans for a 300,000 square foot (28,000 square metre) national road haulage distribution centre on the site of the former Peugeot plant at Ryton in the West Midlands.
The £25m ($40m) centre will create approximately 100 jobs when it opens, according to Network Rail. It will be a hub for Network Rail's National Delivery Service (NDS), with direct access to the UK's motorway network. Network Rail said that it would also help reduce the cost of the railway by centralising previously leased properties in Lichfield, Worcester and Ludgershall and will cut Network Rail's carbon footprint by reducing road fleet mileage.

Martin Elwood, director of Network Rail NDS, said: "Network Rail's first preference is to transport goods by rail. This is not always the right solution so we have an extensive road fleet to transport goods and equipment to our work sites and depots. By bringing the logistics for this together at Ryton we can offer a more effective and efficient service for Network Rail. This will mean reduced costs and faster turnaround times when we do work on the railway."

The site is being acquired from Prologis and it is anticipated that the new distribution centre will open its doors in July 2013. The former Peugeot plant was closed in 2006.

Honda back in Kenya
Honda is opening a dealership in the Kenyan capital Nairobi in a return to East Africa after a seven-year absence. Honda East Africa will operate the facility, which is expected to open in the first quarter of 2013, in partnership with TransAfrica Motor, a Dubai-based conglomerate that already has four commercial vehicle dealerships in Kenya. TransAfrica Motor will run the dealership as a separate division within the company.

The new facility will stock the soon-to-be-launched Brio entry-level compact hatchback, the new-generation Honda CR-V, and the Accord luxury sedan.
Honda Motor Southern Africa (HSAF), based in Johannesburg, South Africa, will provide wide-ranging support for the new venture including product and parts supply, staff training and operating systems.
"We are delighted to bring Honda cars back to Kenya after such a long absence," said Graham Eagle, HSAF director of sales and marketing. "Our return to Kenya is an important step in our strategy of expansion, which has already seen the opening of our Honda East Africa representative office in Nairobi."
Honda said that HSAF has expanded its own operational capability in the areas of dealer support staff, technical support and training, and will supply substantial stockholding of products and parts, as well its established logistics systems.
STVA Geodis station reduces CO2
French rail provider STVA and its freight transport and logistics division Geodis have inaugurated a photovoltaic power station installed by EDF Energies Nouvelles at the Soptrans site at Le Boulou.
The facility contains 33,000 rooftop photovoltaic panels over an area of 57,000 square metres making it one of the largest installations of its kind in France.
The power station will produce 10 GWh of electricity a year, equivalent to the consumption of 4,000 households, and thus avoid 1,200 tons of CO2 emissions said STVA.
Geodis chairman and CEO Pierre Blayau said the installation illustrated the company's determination to meet its goal of achieving a 20% carbon saving by 2020.
STVA and Geodis are looking at other photovoltaic panel projects at their logistics sites. In 2007, STVA was one of the first to sign the charter committing transport operators to reducing their CO2 emissions. In July 2012, its subsidiary Ortrans, based near Lyon, won the silver trophy for sustainable logistics in the Rhone-Alpes region for its installation of a wood-fired industrial boiler at Amberieux.
Schenker opens new HQ at Heathrow
DB Schenker Logistics' UK division has opened new headquarters at London's Heathrow airport in the UK.
Board members, customers, key suppliers and a team from industrial facility developer, Segro, joined the DB Schenker team last week to celebrate the completion of the 9,900 square meter facility, which will also be the main airfreight hub for the UK.

"The facility is perfectly located for access to all areas of the airport and our 15 year lease, shows real commitment to London Heathrow," said Helgi Ingolfsson, managing director, Schenker Limited.
The new corporate office is constructed as a "green building", which is designed to achieve 25% lower CO2 emissions than the standard contributing to the group's sustainability strategy DB 2020.
DB Schenker intends to cut the specific CO2 emissions by 20% over 2006 levels by 2020.