Thursday, May 27, 2010

Car Shipping in SA Ports Still Disrupted

Car transport services in the Ports of South Africa is still being disrupted this morning, but according to the latest reports some of the transport unions have signed up for the latest offer, while others have rejected the offers and are still disrupting car delivery services in the ports. There are apparently some transport workers that have returned to work or are thinking about doing so and this could mean that some customers’ car freight has started to move, but for the moment it appears things are still at a standstill for the most part between Transnet and its troubled unions.

Transnet has been calling for the rest of the unions to follow the example of the unions that have returned to work, but so far the unions in question appear to have set their feet and don’t look like they plan on moving anytime soon. Transnet has also been vocal of late about their disappointment in the unions’ demands during tough financial times and their desire to try to find some common ground for both to stand on in this labour dispute. The unions on the other hand appear to be very guarded in their opinions and statements concerning this strike action, while being firm in their demands at the same time.

What does all this mean for customers that have vehicles waiting to be transported to destination? It most likely means that they’re at the mercy of a situation that they have little control over and they should probably try to be patient, since getting upset is probably going to be as effective as trying to talk to the unions and Transnet about their problems.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Car Hauling in Europe Still Tough Business

Car haulers in the United Kingdom will be interested in the recent calls by the Freight Transport Association (FTA) for the government of the United Kingdom to lower fuel and excise duties in order to help car transport firms deal with plans to introduce a Lorry Road User Charging scheme in the United Kingdom. The government has proposed a charge that would be levied toward all car transportation services in the United Kingdom. The FTA however is concerned that the implementation of this idea isn’t going to be equal for foreign and truckers in the United Kingdom, and the agency thinks it might be necessary to reimburse truckers in the United Kingdom with lower fuel duty or vehicle excise fees.

According to some firms foreign truckers already have a cost advantage because they can fill up with cheaper fuel bought outside the United Kingdom, so they hope that the implementation of this Lorry Road User Charging scheme is going to help even the playing field for foreign truckers and truckers based in the United Kingdom in the future. They also hope that some of the revenue generated with this idea could be used to help improve the transport roads of the United Kingdom. This would help alleviate problems with traffic congestion on the roads of the United Kingdom in the years ahead and Mother Nature, residents and commuters in the United Kingdom will all benefit significantly. All of this has yet to be determined though, but it sounds feasible to think all of this is possible, unfortunately competing interests could keep all of this from becoming reality. Hopefully, all of this comes to be in the years ahead for the United Kingdom as it travels further into the century of the environment, and we see Europe’s car haulers do a little better.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Investment Bank Hired for GM IPO

There was good news for car carriers out of Washington and Wall Street late last week, as the Treasury department hired veteran investment banking firm Lazard Frères to oversee a potential public offering of General Motors stock.

Lazard will be earning a half-million a month for its services, but that is a modest initial floatation cost for a multi-billion dollar stock offering; the US government has $50 billion invested in GM and should expect to get roughly that much back. It seems unlikely that they’re just sending business to an administration-friendly investment bank (initial “car czar” Steven Rattner is a Lazard alumnus), but that GM is nearing the point where an IPO of its post-bankruptcy stock is due.

That will be good news for the car transport industry, for if GM is ready for critical inspection by would-be investors looking for actual profits, the GM that Uncle Sam sees going forward is one that would be profitable enough to earn a good price on the stock market. That will mean that there will be profits to potentially share with its suppliers when the next batch of contracts come up, including those of car haulers.

To warp the old phrase, “what’s good for GM is good for the American car hauling industry.” While it is possible to see a vibrant US car market without GM in it, such a market would entail a lot of creative destruction to get to that point, pain that the trucking industry would rather go without. Thus, seeing a GM IPO on the near horizon is a good sign.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Car Hauling in Europe Still Tough Business

Car hauling services in Europe will be interested in the fact that new car registrations on the European continent decreased by 7.4 percent in April as compared to the same period of time in 2009, according to the ACEA. This apparently is the first decrease in new car registrations in the last ten months and according to many in the car transport industry can be linked to the markets benefiting from agencies replacing their fleets. This however appears to be over and the government has finished this phase, but tough economic condition still exists in the car shipping industry of Europe. The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association also reported in their latest release that over the first four months of 2010 the market for new cars increased by almost 5 percent when compared to the same period in 2009, while going down almost 12 percent in comparison to the period from January to April 2008.

In April it was reported that 1,134,701 new cars were registered in the European Union, with Germany being the largest market at 259,414, and the rest of Europe following behind. New car registrations went down the most percentage wise in Bulgaria, with Germany, Italy, the Czech Republic, Poland and Austria right on Germany’s heels in the decline of new car registrations for the first part of 2010.

This means that in the first four months of 2010 Europe has registered a total of 4,809,647 new passenger cars, which is up almost 5 percent from the same time in 2009. The numbers indicate that the largest new car markets in Europe experienced an increase in the number of new car registrations during this time, which probably isn’t a surprise to vehicle shipping professionals.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Car Hauling of 2011 Ford Fiesta in Future

We can expect American car haulers to be transporting the 2011 Ford Fiesta to car dealerships in the United States sometime in the future. It was announced the other day by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that they have certified this vehicle with a rating that should see drivers get about 40 mpg on the highway and 29 mpg in the city. This means that the 2011 Ford Fiesta is rated for 5 mpg more than the Honda Fit and 4 mpg better than the Toyota Yaris, which means we could see a lot more of these vehicles being taken to international destinations on ocean car carriers in the future.

Just how does the 2011 Ford Fiesta manage to achieve these results? Engineers have added a new 1.6-liter Duratec engine combined with Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing (Ti-VCT) that will put about 120 hp at your disposal. To this they have added as many fuel-saving technologies as they could add and a six-speed automatic PowerShift transmission that is suppose to provide fuel benefits unlike anything seen so far. They have even added energy reducing features that improves overall efficient of the vehicle by decreasing the amount of energy required to use features such as air conditioning and the alternator.

When can you expect to see the new 2011 Ford Fiesta being taken to dealerships by American car delivery services? We can expect the 2011 Ford Fiesta to be appearing in a four-door sedan and five-door hatchback version sometime this summer, according to the latest sources.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

International Car Shipping Firm Back From Edge

The international car delivery services of Compania Sud Americana de Vapores (CSAV) have apparently been doing a little better in the first part of 2010, after a 2009 that saw this Chilean containership owner rack up financial losses that probably had their accountants sweating a little. Reports from the shipping industry report that this shipping firm was having trouble last year, but is starting to see better financial numbers and this company could be ready to emerge from the troubles that the firm experienced last year. This probably means that they have been moving more car freight for customers in 2010, but the exact numbers on any increases in auto transport services on this shipping company’s vessels wasn’t available. Still, this has to be relieving for officials at Compania Sud Americana de Vapores and they must be breathing a little easier these days. In fact, the company expects that they might even break even in 2010, which might not be much too many shipping companies, but after the recent history of this company, better volumes of freight to transport must be a heavenly relief.

Being happy just to break even isn’t a place the company can be happy to have reached though and they’ll certainly need to see the volume of freight that needs to be transported for their customers increase even more in the future, if they’re going to recover the losses they sustained in the past two years. Still, this is good news for the international vehicle shipping industry after seeing this particular shipping company sink into the red during the recent bad times and hopefully it means the business of providing customers with international car shipping services is going to start to return to the levels the industry was experiencing before the last two years of rough financial seas the shipping industry just travelled through.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Car Shipping Price Down for 10th Straight Week

Asian customers that need to transport cars to Europe will be happy to hear that the rates for shipping containers to Europe from Asia has been dropping continuously for the past 10 weeks according to sources in the shipping industry. The price of shipping containers has been fluctuating a lot of late, with the average price at the end of April just $3 higher than the rates at the end of the first week of May. This is considerably lower than the rates at their recent high near the end of the first week of March and there could be reason to believe that the rates for shipping containers could continue to decrease in the days and weeks ahead of us. The rates have been falling less and less with each drop in price through, so this might indicate that the decrease in rates could be starting to ease. This could be the time for you to take care of that car shipping chore you have been putting off for awhile now, if you have a car in Asia you want to ship to Europe and take advantage of some cheap car transport rates?

Why would the rates continue to fall you ask? Recent announcements by two major container shipping firms that they would be launching a new Asia to Europe service implementing at least 10 13,000 TEU vessels is one reason. This announcement means that a lot of capacity is going to be brought back on line in order to try to take advantage of the peak season for container movements through the summer months and this is going to increase capacity and possibly drive the rates down some more in the days and weeks ahead.

Friday, May 14, 2010

First Large Ocean Car Carrier for Vietnam Shipyard

A landmark moment in Vietnam shipbuilding history occurred a few days ago as the largest ocean car carrier ever to be built in a Vietnamese shipyard was delivered to Israel’s Ray Shipping Company. This vessel was according to sources designed by the professionals at the Italian Naval Progetti Design Institute under the watchful and experienced eye of the Norwegian DNV Register of Vessels. Apparently, the last thing the builders saw of this new vessel was the car transport vessel as it started on its way to Israel, and the smiling faces of officials from Vietnamese shipbuilders Viet Nam Shipbuilding Industry Corporation as they watched this vessel leave.

This first large ocean car carrier can carry up to 4,900 cars at one time on its 11 decks designed to transport vehicles and apparently even has a basketball court, gymnasium, swimming pool and landing pad for helicopters, so it can do more than just deliver cars. The crew of this vessel is going to have some nice facilities to use on their off time and it appears the company that runs this vessel thinks about its workers mental and physical health.

The first international vehicle shipping vessel of this size being built in a Vietnamese shipyard is great news for Vietnam and its shipbuilding industry. It’s also good news for the business of taking cars to market and hopefully the partnership between Vietnamese shipbuilders and the world’s international vehicle shipping firms turns into a beautiful relationship that benefits all involved.

In a few years we could see some of the world’s best top vessels of this type coming out of Vietnam and if this happens we could be talking about Vietnam being a country where the world’s vehicle shipping companies head when they want to have a new ship built.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Daimler to Look at Mid-Range Vehicles in US

After getting rid of Chrysler a few years ago, Mercedes Benz now has to work at how to move cars in the US without the help of a US brand. Mercedes Benz has less of an upscale reputation in Europe than it has in the US; thus, it often makes more down-market cars for the European market and has started selling some mainstream versions of their B class cars in Canada.

One of the models it is focus-group testing in the US is a five-door hatchback model similar to their Euro-Canadian offerings. According to, the focus groups didn’t like it since it didn’t “reflect the company’s luxury positioning.”

One possibility that Daimler-Benz might consider is to have a second brand to carry its more economical cars in North America, so that they can have car haulers drop the Mercedes-built car off at the dealership, but sell it under a different banner. For example, Toyota has the Lexus brand of luxury cars that are Toyota-built but are pitched to an upscale market; when Lexus cars with problematic Toyota parts were recalled earlier this year, Lexus didn’t get as hammered by recallitis as much as Toyota did.

A separate Daimler line of mid-range cars might be a solution to the positioning issue. Some new name might be used, but I’d recommend using Daimler; since US car folks remember the Daimler-Chrysler name, you’d have some recognition without it trashing the Mercedes name. More dealers mean more deliveries, so car transporters would be happy if Daimler did go downscale.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Vehicle Transport for Vans

The car transport of a van or vans is best done using the skills of a professional car shipping service experienced in the safe, efficient and reliable transportation of larger vehicles and vans have been growing in popularity in some parts of the world. Over in Europe vans are expected to increase in popularity in the months ahead according to the new van sales forecasts recently released by the agencies tasked with forecasting the levels of new vehicles that will be sold in the months ahead. According to the latest forecasts by the agencies in question they expect consumers to purchase new vans in increasing volumes from 2010 to 2012, which means there will be increasing numbers of vans being delivered to destination in Europe in the years ahead.

This is news that will make car haulers in Europe a little happier just knowing that the experts are forecasting better van sales in the years ahead. These are of course just forecasts and they’re far from written in stone, but at least they’re indications by the professionals tasked with looking into these forecasts that it looks like there are going to be more vans being transported in the future. The manufacturers will certainly be looking at all of the forecasts and might even use them to help them make plans for the future and this could mean more vans will be brought to market to prepare for the increase in van sales that the forecasts predict.

This forecast appears to be a win-win situation for the moment, but we’ll have to wait and see how many vans are really sold and delivered in the forecast years, before we can really comment on the usefulness of these predictions. Hopefully, the predictions are a little low and the volume of vans sold and delivered to European markets is even greater than expected.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Car Transport During Canadian Winter Tough Road

Canadian winters are something you have to experience to believe some years if you’re a car shipping professional and up north this makes the job of car transport on the roads available a difficult and often dangerous endeavour. A Canadian winter can also be extremely hard on the large trucks that are implemented in the job of bringing cars to destination. These facts combined with the desire to use more biodiesel fuel blends as a greener alternative to diesel and gasoline fuels has created a desire in Manitoba Hydro and the Canadian government to do experiments to see how a Canadian winter will affect the usefulness of biodiesels for car delivery services firms that operate in Canada?

According to sources at Manitoba Hydro they have been using biodiesel fuel blends in their Winnipeg fleet operations for awhile now. They probably need the results of this project in order to help reduce the effects of the long-term of using biodiesel fuel blends in their trucks and even storing them in their storage facilities. Considering they’re using biodiesel in their trucks already, it might help them reduce costs in a number of ways in the future and this seems like a sound business move at this point.

The government of Canada is throwing their support behind initiatives such as this one as part of their Government of Canada’s Renewable Fuels Strategy. In the end all of Canada will benefit though and this idea is really only one of many that will be implemented in the future in order to help understand the affects different kinds of biodiesel fuel blends will have on the trucks car transportation firms operate in Canada and the various forms of transport that use them in their business operations.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Best Car Hauling Firms to Work For

Owner operators that are thinking about looking around for another car hauling firm to work with in order to improve their prospects will want to make a date to attend the closest 2010 Best Fleets to Drive For seminar to them. The Best Fleets to Drive For survey and contest is conducted by the Truckload Carriers Association and CarriersEdge to gather information on the best for-hire trucking companies for owner operators to work for in the trucking industry. The questions in the survey include driver workplace experiences, the range and depth of driver programs at each firm, the rated effectiveness of the programs and the thoughts of surveyed truckers.

This is a great opportunity for owner operators to start looking at each car transport firm in an individual way and allow them to usefully measure any benefits each vehicle transport firm might have as compared to other firms. It’s also away for trucking firms with better programs for owner operators to get a little recognition and maybe attract some of the top truckers in the business. It might also be a reason for some trucking firms to look at how they measure up to their competition for the best drivers and make changes that will ultimately benefits all in the industry.

Interested owner operators can attend The Best Fleets to Drive For seminar at a number of locations in Canada from May 12 to June 11. The Best Fleets to Drive For website is the best place to find all the information you need on the dates and times to attend.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Backlog of Freight Growing in China

The party has apparently started in China and air and even sea freight carriers are having problems with delays in Chinese ports and airports. Air and ocean freight backlogs are apparently growing in size as Mayday holiday season and Expo 2010 is adding to the problems with getting freight in and out of China at this time. This in turn according to Chinese freight carrier industry reports means inflated trucking services costs and congestion problems for some customers. The security measures being implemented by customs officials in Shanghai are apparently also pretty strict at the moment and this is adding to the delays for some freight shipments. Apparently, dangerous freight that needs to be moved is being allowed to move in a complicated procedure, so customers might want to avoid Shanghai, if at all possible.

The extra security measures are certainly at least partially due to all of the other events occurring in Shanghai at the moment and timing certainly seems to be at least another part of the problems customers are having with moving freight in and out of China. Hopefully, they figure out away to take care of some of the problems that have been created and get the freight moving a little quicker in China. We probably should expect things to get worse before they get better though, at least until some of the events are finished and things settle down a bit, and then we can probably expect them to get to work on the backlog of freight that needs to be transported to destination.