The Spanish Association of Car and Truck Manufacturers (ANFAC) has suggested that logistics costs in the automotive sector in Spain could be cut by €500m ($635m) while overall cost savings for the industry could reach as high as €5 billion.

Currently, logistics costs in Spain's automotive sector amount to around €3.5 billion annually, which is around 10% of the total cost of a vehicle. According to José Manuel Machado, president of ANFAC's logistics working group and also president of Ford of Spain, significant savings would require just three simple measures.

The first would be to roster larger trains, of up to 750 metres in length, which would mean that cross-border movements of car transporters would no longer have to be cut in half when passing between France and Spain.

The second measure would be to increase the overall size of specialist road haulage vehicles, deploying road trains, with trucks of 25.25 metres. These, claims Machado, could be deployed rapidly in certain corridors.

Finally, Machado called for the T3 port tariff to be applied to all car carrying vehicles entering ports. At the moment, many of them pay more, because they are heavier than 1,500kg.

The automotive industry in Spain would also like to see a reduction in stevedoring costs in ports, but this would require deregulation in the handling of vehicles and enforcement of existing port legislation.

ANFAC has also registered its concern over the quality of cross-border movement of finished vehicles. The quality ratio for vehicles fell from 3.57 in 2010 to 3.31 last year. Similarly, the ratio for components dropped from 3.15 to 3.

The organisation said that the main challenge here is that of ensuring that there is strict adherence to timetables. In contrast, domestic movements of finished vehicles improved from 4 to 4.03, while component haulage scored 3.91, which was also up around three decimal points. Domestic road haulage of finished vehicles also improved in quality, from 3.5 to 3.8, with the picking up and delivering of vehicles being the areas where quality ratios improved most, by four decimal points in both cases. International movements by road increased from 3.7 to 3.8.

ANFAC has also presented its fifth annual study of finished vehicle handling in ports.

The port of Santander, which was fourth in 2010, finished 2011 in top place, its quality ratio increasing from 4 to 4.5. This was followed by Sagunto, up from 4.3 to 4.4, and Tarragona, which increased from 4.1 to 4.2. Pasajes and Malaga both repeated their 4.2 mark. Valencia and Bilbao scored 4.1, while Barcelona and Vigo were awarded scores of 3.7. Gijón, which is entirely new to this area, was given a nominal 3.1 mark.

In separate news, Spain’s Bergé group, a leading logistics provider to the automotive sector, has expanded the portfolio of services that it is offering to the industry thanks to the setting up, together with the Royal Automobile Club of Catalonia (RACC), of a new company: Fleet Car & innovation.

This new company is based at a new 5,200-square-metre workshop at Hospitalet, near Barcelona, and will mostly cater for RACC clients and also those of RACC Seguros. It will offer value-added services, as well as being equipped with the most up-to-date to technology to undertake repairs to mechanics, bodywork, paint work, windows and tyres.

Both participating companies have invested a total €1.25m in the project. The new facility in Barcelona is similar to that which opened at the end of last year in Madrid.