Figures for finished vehicle movements through the European ports for 2009 do not make happy reading on the whole. For the second year in a row there was a decline across leading ports with many down in double figures. Bremerhaven saw a combined drop in exports and imports of nearly 41% on 2008, closely followed by Zeebrugge, down more than a 39%. The Port of Koper in Slovenia saw a drop of over 44%.
But at the Port of Livorno on the west coast of Italy, imports and exports in 2009 bucked the trend and showed a combined increase of just over 6.3%, with 463,877 vehicles moved.
The port terminals handling automotive, including the Leonardo Da Vinci and Livorno Est terminals, which are both operated by CILP (Compagnia Impresa Lavoratori Portuali), process finished vehicles from carmakers including Hyundai-Kia, Fiat, Mitsubishi and Ssangyong.
The increase at Livorno can in part be explained by Hyundai Kia's decision to change its delaer system in Italy according to the carmakers' carrier Eukor, which saw its volume of deliveries there increase in 2009.
"The reason behind this is that 2008 volumes were extraordinarily low," said Eukor spokesman Espen Hofland. "This was due to the fact that Hyundai-Kia changed the dealer system by creating their own Italian branch that year, which slowed down the import volumes. In 2009 volumes went back to a normal level after the transition period."
A further increase in handling is expected through a new contract to import and distribute new cars made in China from October through the ‘Il Faldo’ storage and distribution centre located 9km from the port.
Il Faldo, which is run by Italian logistics operator Autotrade & Logistics, is being developed into a major entry point for vehicles destined for central and southern European markets.
In the first phase of operations annual traffic from China is estimated to hit between 8,000-10,000 vehicles, rising to an eventual annual volume of up to 40,000.
The facility already provides storage for up to 25,000 finished vehicles coming through Livorno on an asphalted area of 64,000m2 and features a 2,000m2 PDI centre as well as a machine shop and spare parts warehouse. Daily distribution capacity at the moment is 1,500 vehicles handled by the company’s subsidiary TVA (Trasporto Autovetture Adriatico), which owns 70 car transporters and directly supervises 140 vehicles owned by sub-hauliers.
Il Faldo is linked directly with the port via the Florence-Pisa-Livorno expressway and only 1.2 km from the entry to the Genoa-Rosignano motorway.
Autotrade & Logistics also has dedicated berthing facilities with unloading priority for 100,000m2 at the port.
A full report on the performance of European finished vehicle handling ports will be published in the forthcoming edition of Finished Vehicle Logistics magazine