Grimaldi terminal to bolster Med services
Italian ocean carrier and shipowner Grimaldi is strengthening its provision of short-sea services in the Western Mediterranean with a new terminal at the port of Barcelona in Spain. The company was awarded a 15-year concession by the Barcelona Port Authority (renewable for a further seven years) for the management of the terminal at the Muelle Costa complex. Construction has now begun following a ceremony to lay the foundation stone held last week.

Once complete, the 63,000-square-metre terminal – called Grimaldi Terminal Barcelona – will provide passenger and ro-ro services, including for volume shipments of finished vehicles.

Grimaldi provides regular services in the Tyrrhenian sea between Spain and Italy, part of its continued investment in the European Commission’s Motorways of the Sea (MoS) project, a European-wide initiative that is aimed at shifting more cargo from road to shortsea.

According to Grimaldi’s commercial and logistics director, Costantino Baldissara, over the past decade, Grimaldi has built a reliable network in the region and the trade routes between Spain and Italy are the backbone of the MoS project.

“Clients have recognised the opportunity of these services, which represent a more-than-valid alternative to road transport, also assisting carmakers to lower inventory costs, thanks to fast and frequent connections,” he said

Baldissara added that the port of Barcelona represented a key port within Grimaldi’s Euromed and Intramed services, both for cargo and for passanger services, with vessels calling there more than 600 times per year, equal to approximately two vessels per day.

Grimaldi offers six sailings per week from Barcelona to Civitavecchia in the Italian province of Rome, three sailings per week to Savona in the north, one sailing per week to Piraeus in Greece, and Gemlik and Derince in Turkey, and one sailing per week to Northern Europe (calling at Setubal, Portbury, Antwerp, Hamburg, Emden, Wallham, Esbjerg, Cork).

“Of course the many transhipment possibilities within our network allow also fast connections to St Petersburg, as well as to the Middle East and North Africa countries,” said Baldissara.

The Group also offers a weekly service for passengers and freight to the ports of Livorno and Tangier and a three-times-a-week service to Livorno and Savona for freight only.

Last week’s ceremony to mark the foundation of the venture was attended by Sixte Cambra, president of Barcelona Port Authority, Guido Grimaldi, Corporate Commercial Truck & Trailer director of the Grimaldi Group, as well as Mario Massarotti, managing director of Grimaldi Logistica Espa?a.

Gefco implements training with Shanghai Institute

Gefco China has announced an agreement with the Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade (SIFT) to improve the training of students entering the field of logistics and to increase the skills of its own employees.

Gefco China will offer internships of three to six months to students from SIFT designed to familiarise them with the work environment at a global transport and logistics company. According to the company the internships will include tailor-made training modules covering most areas of the logistics field with a focus on business the priorities of the Chinese market in 2013, including leadership, solutions and sales, and will culminate in a final assessment offering references for future career development.

It will also hold orientation workshops for graduates who want to pursue a career in the logistics sector.

In exchange for the internships SIFT will open its doors to Gefco China employees enabling them to take advantage of the professional training provided by the Institute’s professors.

“The collaboration with SIFT is officially signed for 2013 only and the training initiative programme is one of the key parts of the agreement,” said a spokesperson for the company. “Gefco hopes to extend the collaboration in future and we’re expecting more opportunities to cooperate with Chinese universities in an effort to help cultivate more talents for the future of the logistics industry in China.”

This reflects Gefco’s global approach to training, which it said is designed to strengthen employees' key skills in leadership and management, business development and internationalization.

“In China, there are two to three sessions conducted by the senior management to train staff each year,” said Gefco.

At last year’s Automotive Logistics China conference, Beijing Jiaotong University’s Dr Zhang Xiodong told delegates that benchmarking and monitoring of information systems were important in improving logistics quality there. But the general consensus was that a lot more had to be done. 

While IT is not included in the memorandum with SIFT, Gefco China said it may work with Chinese academies or local vendors to develop tailor-made systems to meet customer needs.

“Gefco has a large IT product portfolio supporting the business on finished vehicle, spare parts warehousing and freight transportation,” said Gefco China’s spokesperson. “In China, Gefco possesses a fast growing IT team and the team is working on centralising the network infrastructure, and implementing a cooperating system with localisation to meet China business needs.”

Gefco China is one of four businesses that the group is present in China, the others being the joint ventures Dongfeng Gefco, Gefco Hong Kong and Minsheng Gefco. By end of 2012 Gefco had nearly 1,100 employees across the country, a number expected to grow to 1,300 in 2013 as its logistics business develops.

DB Schenker opens warehouse for Fiat Serbia suppliers

DB Schenker Logistics has opened a new bonded warehouse in Kragujevac, Serbia providing logistics services for suppliers to Fiat’s plant just 7km away and connected to the carmaker’s free trade zone. AGC Automotive Europe, a supplier of glass components, is the first supplier to use the facility. AGC also works with DB Schenker in Slovakia on deliveries for Hyundai Kia Automotive Group and in Bremen for deliveries to Daimler.

DB Schenker’s is employing its own production supply system at the facility and AGC’s glass components are shuttled to the Fiat plant just-in-time according to the production demand. DB Schenker is providing EDI data flow for AGC.

“The partnership between DB Schenker and AGC in Serbia became a successful story thanks to a strong co-operation between both parties, in a particularly difficult project,” said Luc Tassignon, European Logistics Flows coordinator of AGC. “Only six months before starting the operations, the decision was taken to open a sub-contracted warehouse. Despite the very short period, we achieved unexpectedly good results on objectives in a very complete project with customs clearance topics, warehousing, EDI links and re-deliveries to Fiat.”

Fiat reopened the Kragujevac plant last April to build the Fiat 500L, following a €1 billion investment to overhaul a site previously used by Serbian-state owned Zastava, which build rebadged Fiats. Fiat expects to build 28,000 units this year at the plant, which has an annual capacity for 186,000.

DHL to handle VW engine shipments
Following the opening of its new $550m engine plant in Silao, central Mexico, Volkswagen has revealed that supply of the fuel-efficient TSI engines made there to its Puebla assembly plant, also in Mexico, will be handled by DHL Logistics. Road shipments are to begin at the end of February.

Shipments to the company’s assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee will begin in the second half of 2013. A spokesperson for VW said that the carmaker was still determining which provider would be handling the movement of engines there.

The Silao plant is designed for a medium-term annual capacity of 330,000 units of the TSI engine.

“The Silao factory is the Volkswagen Group’s 100th plant and therefore represents one of the largest and most international production networks in the automotive industry,” said the group’s CEO Martin Winterkorn. “Over the next three years the VW Group will be investing more than $5 billion in North America alone. Silao is thus also a strong symbol of our untinterrupted growth trajectory and the groups continuing internationalisation.”

The German carmaker said it is planning sales of 1m vehicles in the US alone by 2018, based on models such as the Jetta, Beetle and US Passat.

Subaru working with Pangda in China
Japanese carmaker Subaru has entered into a joint venture with Chinese vehicle distributor Pangda Automobile Trade. The move is designed to help it meet its goal of doubling annual sales in China to 100,000 by the end of 2016. The company, which is part of Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI), entered the Chinese market in 2006. The new joint venture will be 60% owned by FHI and its primary business will cover wholesale and retail sales of Subaru vehicles as well as parts and accessories.

Nominations sought for sixth everywoman in Transport and Logistics awards

There are two weeks left to enter the sixth everywoman in Transport and Logistics awards, the UK’s leading awards programme designed to promote women working in the transport and logistics sector. Once again this year competition categories encompass those who are drivers, managers, or those identified as the stars of the future in the sector.

For 2013, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) is once again partnering with everywoman as title sponsor of these awards, demonstrating the commitment of both the organisation as well as its members to supporting women in the industry.

According to the organisers, the UK logistics sector is worth over £93 billion to the economy with one in twelve working people in the country employed in logistics, equating to some 2.3m people spanning 196,000 companies. However, significantly fewer women than men are working in this industry, with only 25% of the workforce being female according to research undertaken at the second annual everywoman Transport and Logistics Leadership Academy event held in June 2012,

“By raising awareness of women who are currently enjoying career satisfaction and success within transport and logistics, others will view it as a sector where they can excel, creating a pipeline of future leaders,” said the organisers in a statement.

The winners will be announced at an awards Ceremony, held at the Savoy Hotel in London on 16 May 2013.
Nominations will close on 11 February 2013 and entries can be made online from 3 December 2012 at