Auto Marine Transport to build PCTCs with Samjin
Ro-ro and breakbulk operator Siem Car Carriers has helped establish a new ship tonnage provider Auto Marine Transport to build energy efficient pure car and truck carriers (PCTCs) to meet demand over the next decade. The new company has now signed an initial agreement with Samjin Shipbuilding Industries Korea to build eight PCTCs capable of carrying 6,700 car equivalent units.
“We are very pleased to have played a part in helping to establish Auto Marine Transport as the tonnage provider to access the energy-efficient PCTC market,” said Simon Stevens, chairman of Siem Car Carriers. “It is the intention to work closely and exclusively with Auto Marine Transport and Samjin to develop and build PCTCs beyond the initial series of eight vessels. 
Stevens went on to state that the energy-efficient design of the vessels will result in significant savings to future charterers and that Siem would need access to such vessels to build its own ro-ro and car-carrying operations over the next 10 years.
Ford halves production in Romania
Ford is cutting output from its Romanian plant in Craiova just five months after it started production there. The company has blamed weak sales in the European market.
The €500m ($650m) plant is the only plant to make the B-Max MPV with an output of 500 a day but the company has now said it is cutting that production in half to 250. The facility will be losing one if its two shifts on the assembly line as a consequence but Ford has said it will introduce a new shift on its EcoBoost engine line, also at Craiova.
The EcoBoost is used in the B-Max, C-Max and Focus. 
Ford officially took over the plant, formerly owned by Romanian Daewoo, in March 2009 following its purchase of 72% of Daewoo Automobile Craiova from the Romanian government in 2008.
First Line uses Jungheinrich wire-guide system
UK-based auto parts distributor First Line has consolidated two of its warehouses outside Oxford into a 12,000-square-metre, purpose-built facility and installed a purpose-built wire-guided machine system from material handling supplier Jungheinrich for the selection of parts. 
At its original two sites, First Line operated a mixed fleet of rail-guided order picking trucks. During the planning stage of the move to its new site it had initially planned to reconfigure the existing trucks to allow them to operate on a wire-guided system.
However, given the age of the existing trucks and the expense involved in switching the equipment’s operating process, First Line went with Jungheinrich’s proposas to replace the trucks with purpose-built wire-guided machines and using a combination of new and refurbished equipment, including two EKX 410 Kombis, combination picker/stacker trucks capable of lifting loads weighing up to 1,000 kg to heights of over nine metres.
The facility is now running at 96% availability and holds £9m ($14.4m) of stock, or 35,000 part numbers, in a mix of high bay pallet racking and small parts storage units. 
“Our clients rely on us for next day delivery to ensure that they can offer the highest standards to their customers so an efficient storage and picking function is essential,” said First Line warehouse manager Rob Currill.
Export partnership wins global freight award
Following the launch of the UK’s first vehicle pre-clearance facility for used car shipments to New Zealand in July this year (read more here) the joint venture between Pentalver, Autohub New Zealand and Jevic has won the Supply Chain Partnership award at this year’s Global Freight Awards 2012, recently held in London, UK.
Penalver is one of the largest inland container logistics companies in the UK and part of APM Terminals while Autohub is an international shipper offering door-to-door vehicle delivery to New Zealand. Jevic provides inspection services and developed the vehicle pre-clearance facility at the port of Felixstowe in the UK.
The partnership provides a drop off, one-stop service for second hand exports from the UK to New Zealand, a business that is showing some significant growth. The inspection service at the 225-metre-square Felixstowe facility involves a biosecurity contamination check, in line with the New Zealand government’s stringent regulations, as well as a structural inspection made on behalf of the New Zealand Transport Agency.
“I am delighted that our commitment to providing tailored, effective solutions for our clients has been recognised by this prestigious award,” said Chris Lawrenson, Pentalver managing director. “There was strong competition for the award with several high-profile companies making the shortlist and so we are extremely proud to have won.”