GM to stop assembly at Bochum
General Motor’s European division Opel has confirmed it will close its Bochum plant in Germany in 2016.

The announcement follows one in June when the carmaker said it would not be producing a successor for the current Zafira at the plant because of shrinking European demand and existing overcapacities.

However, GM did say that its warehouse there will continue to offer jobs beyond 2016 and it “could be expanded”. Opel said it is also negotiating with employee representatives to allocate new component production in Bochum and has recently established working group called Bochum Perspective 2022 to focus on site redevelopment and job creation.

“Building on the Bochum Perspective 2022, we have a clear goal for securing a significant number of tariff-bound jobs at Adam Opel AG,” said Steve Girsky, GM vice chairman, chairman of the Opel Supervisory Board and acting president of GM Europe. “They include positions in our warehouses and potentially component production.”

Opel announced earlier this year that it was also ending Astra production at its Rüsselsheim plant in Germany.

JLR looks at manufacturing in Saudi Arabia
Jaguar Land Rover has signed a letter of intent with National Industrial Clusters Development Program (NICDP) to look at the viability of building an automotive facility in Saudi Arabia.

"We are committed to further international partnerships to meet record demand for our highly sought after vehicles,” said Dr Ralf Speth, chief executive of Jaguar Land Rover. “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is an attractive potential development option, complementing our existing advanced facilities in Britain and recent manufacturing plans to expand in other countries including India and China."

Jaguar Land Rover said in a statement that discussions with the Saudi government were at a preliminary stage but it had already identified opportunities in aluminium component production, an established area of interest for the carmaker. It pioneered aluminium body development in the premium car segment, using lightweight metals for the Jaguar XJ model and the new Range Rover.

Pending agreement on development options in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Jaguar Land Rover said it would announce further plans in 2013.

DB Schenker adds 4PL service
DB Schenker Logistics has added a fourth party logistics (4PL) service to its transport and logistics offering. DB Schenker leadlogistics will manage various service providers, particularly freight carriers on behalf of customers. Services include coordinating transport by lorry and rail, as well as logistics services.

"We have noticed that demand for this special service is increasing across Europe and thus wish to make our expertise accessible to a broad spectrum of customers" stated Karl Nutzinger, member of the Schenker AG Board of Management responsible for Land Transport at DB Schenker. "We offer efficient cost controls and monitor the entire supply chain."

Every customer is assigned its own ‘control tower’, according to the company, which is similar to an outsourced freight forwarding department. Customers benefit from lower capital commitment, increased flexibility, consolidated figures and invoicing.

Freight forwarding gets global voice
A new body representing independent freight forwarders has been formed with nine major global logistics networks constituting the founding members. Called the Elite Association of Logistics Networks (Elite) it will work alongside major global industry associations, regulators and government agencies representing the interests of small to medium sized freight forwarders. Combined global membership comprises over 3,550 companies.

"Elite has the potential to become a powerful and potent voice for freight forwarders around the world,” said Des Vertannes, head of global cargo at the International Air Transport Association. “The size and quality of the networks within Elite ensures that their views will be heard and taken seriously by associations, regulators and carriers.”

The founding networks are: Global Logistics Network; Global Project Logistics Network; Lognet Global; Project Cargo Network; Time Critical Logistics Alliance; Universal Freight Organisation; WCA Family of Logistic Networks; WCA Projects Network; and Worldwide Partners Alliance.

According to a joint statement from them Elite will also provide the global logistics industry with visibility and clarity by differentiating bona-fide, high-quality logistics networks from a growing number of ‘rogue’ networks around the world. More information is available here.

Evonik facility back in action
Repairs to the Evonik Industries plant at Chemiepark Marl in Germany have now been completed and the facility is starting polymide production operations again this month, with distribution to begin in January.

The plant was closed in March when a fatal explosion and fire caused widespread damage to the cyclododecatriene (CDT) facility. CDT is used in the manufacture of Polymide 12, which in turn has application in a wide range of plastic parts integral to vehicle production, including fuel and brake lines.

The shutdown caused shortages of the polymide affecting the supply of vehicle components in Europe and wider markets (read more here).