DB Schenker Logistics is doubling the size of its Leipzig logistics centre to meet demand for BMW assembly in China and South Africa.

The $33m facility began making regular shipments of complete knockdown (CKD) kits of the 3 and 5 Series by rail to Shenyang in December 2011. The kits are assembed at BMW’s joint venture plant there with Brilliance China Automotive. The carmaker also sends kits from the centre to its assembly facility in Rosslyn, South Africa by ocean.

BMW is experiencing high demand in China helped by the addition of the new 3 Series and the market launch of the BMW X1. The availability of the new 3 Series in Sedan and Touring versions is also increasing demand in South Africa.

To cope with the extended order volume, Schenker Deutschland is now building additional logistics warehouses and hiring a further 700 employees bringing its workforce at Leipzig to 1,500.

Currently up to 50 containers leave the logistics centre daily and this is expected to double once the new facilities are completed.

“BMW has once again expressed its confidence in us,” said Dr. Karl-Friedrich Rausch, member of the DB Mobility Logistics Management Board responsible for Transportation and Logistics. “We will deliver excellent quality to meet the requirements of this order. To this end, we will create new jobs in the Free State of Saxony and Greater Leipzig. Our specialists at DB Schenker have served as reliable partners for the car industry and its component suppliers for many years."

Around 8,000 different automotive components for BMW models are received, packed and stowed in containers at the 63,000 square metre Leipzig facility. Protective treatment is also given to parts for ocean transport through different climate zones, including sheet metal components.

Daily rail shipments are made to China from the Leipzig-Wahren transhipment terminal along an 11,000km route using the Trans-Siberian Railway. The 23-day journey is twice as fast as alternative ocean routes and saves 20,000km.

DB Schenker is also involved in supplying the BMW plant in Shenyang, in addition to handling contracts for BMW in other countries, such as the distribution of spare parts in South Africa.

BMW delivered more than 31,000 vehicles to mainland China in November, an increase of 62.3% over the same month in the previous year (19,155)

In other news, Karsten Engel is replacing Dr Christopher Stark as head of China in March next year. Stark is retiring from BMW after almost nine years as head of the China region. Engel, who has been senior vice president at BMW Group Germany since 2009, will transfer to Beijing in January of next year. His responsibilities will include the coordination of the BMW Brilliance Automotive joint venture.