A spare parts warehouse run by Yusen Logistics close to Chennai, India, which served the nearby Renault Nissan Automotive India assembly plant, was almost completely destroyed by a fire last week. It has necessitated the rollout of emergency plans to ensure the supply of aftermarket parts to Renault Nissan dealerships around the country. Yusen has a number of alternative stockholding facilities in India.

The Chennai facility caught fire at around 13.30 on Thursday last week and the blaze was described as “very intense” by the local fire service because of the type of components stored there, which included tyres and batteries. It took fire services around six hours to get under control.

There were no casualties reported.

Yusen Logistics is the logistics service provider for the Orangadam plant that makes Nissan and Renault vehicles, including the Nissan Micra and Sunny, as well as the Renault Koleos and Fluence. The $990m plant, which opened in 2010, has an annual capacity of 400,000 vehicles.

Initial reports in the Indian press said that production at the plant could be affected but this was denied by a spokesperson for Nissan’s global operations, who told Automotive Logistics News there would be no impact on production at the plant because the facility affected was for dealership supply only. The Renault-Nissan Alliance is now working on a contingency plan to minimise disruption to those aftermarket supplies but the company would offer not further comment on the plans.

A spokesperson for Yusen Logistics said that the company was still investigating the incident and would only confirm that there had been a fire and the company was working with the local authorities to establish its cause. No further details were made available.

According to Andrew Austin, CEO at emergency logistics provider Priority Freight, what the incident does highlight is the concern that OEMs have for the availability of their stock following a major supply chain interruption.
“The increasing complexity of the component, both in the item itself and the resources that are required to collect, store and dispatch it to the required destination, mean that more effort and visibility are required in these processes,” he said.

Austin said that, as a result, OEMs may have a lead logistics provider but they do well to engage others (either with specific capabilities, or to provide options in the event of issues) to safeguard their supply of materials.

“The supply chain is obviously now conducted throughout the globe and so some degree of sophistication is required by the OEMs and logistics providers in the planning of this,” he added. “Full consideration therefore needs to be given to contingency planning, to include expedited freight as a cost-effective option.”

•In other news, Indian newspaper the Deccan Chronicle reported that a car service centre and battery showroom were gutted by a fire on the Greams Road in Chennai on the Saturday following the fire at the Yusen facility. The paper reports that after destroying the service centre, the flames spread to the neighbouring battery showroom and the corporate office of a spare parts company. The cause of the second blaze is also under investigation.