Two autonomous robots and two Škoda employees work together to put the small parts for vehicle production into storage, for example.
Michael Oeljeklaus, Škoda Auto Board Member for Production and Logistics, said, "Škoda Auto is consistently turning to the latest technologies to make our employees' workspaces even safer and more efficient," adding, "In our company, humans and robots already successfully work every day hand in hand. This future-oriented way of collaborating is therefore a key point in the Škoda 2025 Strategy for aligning industrial processes with the Industry 4.0 principles."
Škoda Auto's Kvasiny plant is a key pillar in the car manufacturer's production network and is considered one of the most modern manufacturing locations in the industry. Škoda currently manufactures its Superb, Kodiaq and Karoq models in Kvasiny. From 2019, the Superb with plug-in hybrid drivetrain will also be rolling off the production line at the plant in East Bohemia. Škoda Auto has invested heavily in the plant's expansion in order to reach a capacity of more than 300,000 units per year there.
In accordance with Industry 4.0 principles, the focus of the renovations and expansions is on automation in production and production logistics. Thus, a high degree of automation can be found in the automatic small parts warehouse (SPW) in Kvasiny, where man and machine work hand in hand.
Covering 1,750 square metres, the small parts warehouse at the Kvasiny plant offers space for almost 45,000 shipping crates known as small load carriers (SLC). Driverless transport vehicles are used early on when the parts are put into storage: they take the delivered crates, identify their shape and contents using a camera and scanner, and transport them into the warehouse.
There, two robots and two Škoda employees sort the parts into the racks. When a parts order is placed in production, other robots take the parts from the small load carriers and load them onto autonomous floor conveyors. These travel autonomously to the assembly line, where the small parts arrive just in sequence, i.e. in exactly the order they should be installed. RFID tags (Radio-Frequency IDentification) store information about how the transport vehicles should change their journey when they are carrying parts to the assembly line. Thanks to this information, they know whether to speed up, slow down or stop, and whether they need to store material.
If small parts are required particularly quickly in production, Škoda employees help out. For these express deliveries, ergonomics and workplace safety are first priority: the workstations for manual pickers are equipped with rotating and height-adjustable desks for optimal posture while working. For small load carriers weighing more than 8 kg, a claw arm is ready to take the strain off the employees.
The transport robots are 1.40 m long and 0.90 m wide. Depending on the version, they can carry loads of 1,300-2,000 kg to two production lines and have a speed of 2 m/s (7.2 km/h). In addition to a battery for their electric drive, the 35 automated robots are also fitted with a computer, safety scanners, speakers, a blue safety light and other warning lights.
First and foremost, this equipment provides workplace safety: if the equipment detects people or obstacles in its path, it stops. As a warning, it plays music chosen by its human colleagues. A further 11 transport robots in Kvasiny are guided via laser technology. They orientate themselves towards reflective dots attached along the conveyor path.
The new business sites are particularly designed to appeal to customers in the Hanover, Braunschweig, Göttingen, Wolfsburg and Rhine/Ruhr urban regions.
Rhenus not only offers international transport services at its new branches, but can also handle all the import and export customs formalities. Customers are also able to make use of combined services in the air and sea freight sectors.
"The German market is strategically important for us. Industry and commerce in the form of the automotive sector and the chemical industry, for example, are very strong here. Germany not only has a central geographical location in Europe, but is an attractive business proposition with its good infrastructure and international trading contacts," said Tobias Bartz, a Member of the Rhenus Board.
About 3.8 million people live in the Hanover/Braunschweig/Göttingen/Wolfsburg urban region. The services sector and manufacturing industry are particularly important there. The Rhine/Ruhr urban region, one of the largest in Europe, has a population of more than 10 million. Both large corporations and medium-sized enterprises have their base there.
Rhenus Air & Ocean currently operates 13 business sites in Germany and is planning to continue its growth course in the country in future too. One special focus at Rhenus Air & Ocean n Germany is on routes to America and Asia.
The most important hubs are the two gateways at Hilden and Frankfurt, which will support the two new business sites. Alongside Hanover and Dortmund, there are other branches at Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Leipzig, Mannheim, Munich, Nuremberg, Stuttgart, Villingen-Schwenningen and Weil am Rhein.
This demonstrates the strength of the partnership between the two companies and the trust that Groupe PSA has placed in GEFCO.
This contract covers all inbound and outbound logistics for Opel/Vauxhall in Europe and Turkey. GEFCO will distribute parts to Opel/Vauxhall assembly plants from supplier sites worldwide. The group will also deliver vehicles to dealers and importers.
"We are very pleased that Opel/Vauxhall continues to recognise GEFCO as a strong partner. GEFCO's 4PL solutions offer unique expertise in automotive logistics for the company. By managing all Opel/Vauxhall logistics flows in Europe and Turkey, we enable our customer to optimise its supply chain and focus on its core business," explained Antoine Redier, Executive Vice President 4PL Solutions at GEFCO.
Remi Girardon, Managing Director Manufacturing & Supply Chain of Opel Automobile GmbH commented: "We look forward to continuing our successful partnership with GEFCO. It's crucial for us to have flexible, innovative and cost-efficient logistic processes that are perfectly integrated in our industrial operations. We are delighted to count on outstanding partners like GEFCO."
To continually align its solutions with Opel/Vauxhall's needs, GEFCO will strengthen its teams of engineers in the six countries where the company operates in Europe (France, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom).
Luc Nadal, GEFCO's Chief Executive Officer, explains: "Managing all of Groupe PSA's supply chain solutions puts us in a perfect position to deliver synergies. We can maintain a high level of reliability by bundling the flows of both brands. Our approach is based on building a strong partnership, true to our 'Infinite Proximity' culture and our 'Partners, unlimited' brand signature."
The GEFCO teams on site are able to draw on their expertise to optimise Opel/Vauxhall's supply chain and help generate cost savings. To achieve this objective, GEFCO will build on its experience, creativity and ability to effectively use every available resource. The group has been successfully rising to this challenge and intends to further reinforce its cooperation with Opel/Vauxhall in the coming years.
The Company and CMA CGM are deemed to be acting in concert due to the relationship agreement between the parties entered into in the context of the IPO.
CEVA Logistics has further been informed that CMA CGM entered into a derivative transaction related to the shares of the company with cash settlement (Total Return Swap) giving CMA CGM an additional economic exposure of 4.56% in CEVA Logistics' share capital.
A formal disclosure notice disclosing the combined shareholdings of the group is expected to be published simultaneously. The duty to launch a mandatory takeover offer is triggered only if a shareholder holds a position in shares of more than one third of the voting rights of a company.
Sauzedde brings more than 20 years' experience across the logistics industry to his new role – fifteen of which have been spent in Eastern Europe.
Prior to joining CEVA Logistics, he was Managing Director for Kuehne & Nagel in Poland where he had full responsibility across all business lines including Air Freight, Ocean Freight, Ground and Contract Logistics.
He succeeds Piotr Zborowski who is leaving CEVA to pursue other career opportunities.
Speaking about Sauzedde's arrival, Xavier Urbain says: "Guillaume brings a full range of logistics skills to his new role and his strong knowledge of Eastern European markets will be a key driver for the future development of this cluster. We warmly welcome him to our team. At the same time I would like to thank Piotr for his work during his time at CEVA Logistics. He hands over a solid organization ready for future growth and we wish him well in his future endeavours".
Axel Mattern, Joint CEO of Port of Hamburg Marketing, and Egidijus Lazauskas, Deputy Director-General and Director Freight Traffic for Lithuanian Railways, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Vilnius to strengthen cooperation on the routes to and from the Port of Hamburg.
In addition, Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG – HHLA's intermodal subsidiary Metrans, and Lithuanian Railways signed a Letter of Intent to promote and improve cross-border freight flows.
For years, the Lithuanian economy has been experiencing a tremendous upswing. With extremely full order books and capacity utilisation already at a high level, Lithuania's companies will be steeply increasing their investments in new machinery, plant and buildings. In addition, there are the subsidies from the European Union (EU). The Lithuanian Ministry of Finance sees these as doubling in 2018 on last year.
Seaborne freight transport between the Port of Hamburg and Lithuania set a fresh record last year, with around 128,000 standard containers setting a fresh record and producing a 7.8% upswing on the previous year. However, rail also plays a big part in freight services between Hamburg and Lithuania. The partners in the new cooperation attach special importance to implementation of the Rail Baltica and East-West Transport Corridor infrastructure development projects.
Rail Baltica is a rail link planned to run from Warsaw via Kaunas and Riga to Tallinn – with a ferry or tunnel connection to Helsinki. EU member states Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Finland are involved. Only in June this year, HHLA acquired the largest Estonian container/multi-functional terminal, Transiidikeskuse AS in Muuga, near Tallinn.
Against this background, HHLA's Metrans subsidiary is especially interested in the Rail Baltica rail corridor for boosting links between its new Baltic terminal in Estonia and the Metrans network. Rail Baltica will be built using the normal 1,435 mm gauge customary in Western Europe rather than the Russian broad gauge of 1,520 mm; it will extend at least 950 kms.
"With its important role and its location on the new Rail Baltica, Lithuania offers tremendous potential for closer cooperation with the Port of Hamburg," said Marina Basso Michael, Port of Hamburg Marketing's Head of Market Development for the Baltic Region and Eastern Europe.
Lithuanian Railways transports freight along tracks with gauges of both 1,520 mm and 1,435 mm in various directions. Freight traffic is mainly with Byelorussia, Russia, Ukraine, Latvia, Poland, Kazakhstan, China, Turkey, Germany, Scandinavia and Italy. The company runs modern intermodal terminals in Vilnius, Kaunas and Šeštokai, where it not only loads containers and semi-trailers, but also offers additional services such as issuing transport/Customs documents and container storage.
"We are constantly pursuing new business opportunities abroad and Germany is one of our most important foreign markets. We see great potential there. We hope that cooperation with the Port of Hamburg and Metrans will open up fresh opportunities for the Lithuanian economy, which requires rapid, efficient and environment-friendly freight traffic through the East-West transport corridor," said Egidijus Lazauskas of Lithuanian Railways.
In future the Port of Hamburg and Lithuanian Railways will exchange market-related data, promote inter-market deals with joint marketing activities, and cooperate in developing and implementing logistics projects. "Lithuania is a constantly growing partner in the Port of Hamburg's hinterland. So a partner-like relationship is of great importance," added Axel Mattern, Joint CEO of Port of Hamburg Marketing.
In regard to full container load shipments, the forwarder registers growth by nearly 30%; the number of less than container load transports even rose by 50%.
For all Militzer & Münch rail transports along the Europe-China route, the Rail Competence Centre serves as central point of contact. The team recently won a new key account from the technology industry. The team is going to handle the new customer's FCL and LCL transports between China and Europe – eastbound as well as westbound.
In order to meet the strong increase in demand for rail transports between China and Europe, Militzer & Münch turned the Rail Competence Centre (RCC) in Düsseldorf into a branch office in its own right at the beginning of the year. The Militzer & Münch Group also operates in the countries in Central Asia along the New Silk Road, such as in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Georgia.
"With our own branches or delegation offices along the New Silk Road, we are perfectly positioned to serve connections between Europe and China", said Michael Spitzlei, Head of the Rail Competence Center at M&M air sea cargo GmbH. "Cooperating with our sister company InterRail and with many Militzer & Münch country organisations, we offer eastbound and westbound rail traffics. We also do pre- and on-carriage by rail and road."
Militzer & Münch customers benefit from many years of experience of the Rail Competence Centre team. The different import and export regulations, the differing railway gauges of the countries, the licenses and certificates that need to be obtained – the Militzer & Münch team is perfectly familiar with all these issues.
Rail transport from Europe to China takes 21 to 23 days only – that's faster than via sea and cheaper than airfreight. "Our customers are provided individual support based on their requirements, and they profit from our comprehensive network, from short transit times and lower capital commitment costs", Michael Spitzlei said. "The good development along this route gives us the chance to continually extend our range of products."
The newest service added: Militzer & Münch transports LCL consolidation boxes via rail along the Duisburg-Wuhan connection; the transports leave from Duisburg every Saturday. Militzer & Münch moreover offers daily departures for full container loads in east and westbound traffics as well as block trains for key accounts, project shipments, and special equipment (OT, Garment on Hangers, reefers) on certain routes.
On November 8th, GEODIS will hold its first hackathon in Paris in collaboration with BeMyApp, a digital transformation and developer relations agency. GEODIS will welcome talented IT and selected dataviz professionals together with experts in artificial intelligence during an intense one-day working session under the motto "Smart Warehouse: participate in the creation of the warehouse of tomorrow... today".
Contestants will provide innovative solutions to two challenges:
The winners will be selected according to both quantitative performance and qualitative and strategic assessment of their solutions by a panel of GEODIS judges. They will benefit from a substantial reward pool for each challenge and they will sign their first contract with GEODIS to prototype and develop their solutions in, at least, one of the Group's platforms.
"Innovation lies at the very heart of GEODIS' strategy", said Laurent Parat, President & CEO of GEODIS Western Europe, Middle East and Africa. "In today's fast-paced and changing environment data is key. That is why we believe that experts and talented startups can bring new visions to our Group and we look forward to partnering with those whose projects will bring concrete solutions that will allow us to offer a true competitive advantage for the ultimate benefit our clients"