Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Suspected Pirate Killed, The fight against piracy

The cost of piracy is a subject that has been on the minds of more and more international car shipping firms and overseas shipping companies and apparently a few have started to hire private security to protect their valuable ships and their freight loads. The price of piracy also took the life of a suspected pirate Tuesday as private security hired to protect the Panama-flagged freight carrier Almezaan fired warning shots at individuals they believed were about to try to board the ship. The suspected pirates apparently returned after being warned-off and this time the private security fired at the suspected pirates and their boat, killing one suspect in the defensive action. The battle wasn’t over though as Spanish naval forces were in pursuit and would eventually sink the ship the pirates are suspected of coming from and arresting six suspected pirates.

This is certainly unfortunate news, especially with the pirates returning after being fired upon, which means they’re becoming a little more brazen in their piracy attacks upon vessels and maybe becoming a little more desperate in their economic position. It does appear that the pirates have unwittingly created an increase in business for private security firms of the world that offer services to overseas shipping companies. In fact, we can certainly expect private security firms to begin designing security solutions specifically for shipping services, considering the opportunity that they must see before them. The new security measures they’ll devise will certainly be good news for international shipping that has been suffering under the threat of piracy for years now. The new security measures are going to mean new business costs will have to be absorbed by shipping lines and they’ll certainly have to pass these costs onto the customer.

The best thing might be that it could get governments of the world to start taking a little more positive action in the battle to combat piracy on the open oceans. This of course could be a dream considering the problems that are inherent in such a plan, but even the ocean freight industry can dream.

For all of your car shippingauto transport and enclosed transport needs, call us TODAY!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Smera Campaign, One-Person Plug-in Changes Hauling, car transporters, car hauler

It might not be as sexy as the Porsche electric car, but Daimler’s Lumeneo subsidiary showed off an interesting one-passenger Smera electric car at the Geneva Auto Show; it might create a different framework for car transporters, for it is small enough to be racked two abreast on a standard-sized car hauler. You’d have to create a new type of car hauler with four wheel slots rather than two, but I’ve seen similar set ups for hauling golf carts, where they move them two abreast on both levels.

It’s not a family car by any stretch of the imagination, but if you’re looking for a second-car for a commuting spouse, you don’t need a ten-passenger van to drive yourself to work. When I was looking for a new car for commuting to work three years ago, I would have considered the Smera as an option, for I played with the idea of a moped or other low-power motorcycle; the Smera comes close to being an enclosed motorcycle with four wheels rather than two.

The small nature of the Smera might scare off some buyer, fearful that they’d get Smeraed all over the road if hit by a semi. The Smera might create some interesting options for urban commuters; sharing a parking space might be one of them, which might slide a few people away from mass transit. It might steal customers from more conventional-sized plug-ins, but might also slide some people up from light motorcycles; the market research for it might require throwing out a lot of automotive research models.


For all of your car shippingauto transport and enclosed transport needs, call us TODAY!

US Car Imports and Exports Both Down in January, Imports Down 8%, Exports Down 6%, car carriers, cars moving, car haulers

International car carriers had a slow go of it in January, as both imports and exports of cars fell in the US. Imports fell 8.1% from December and exports fell 5.7%. Both numbers were well up from January 2009 levels. Much of the decline can be traced to a general lack of trade during the winter months, but imports were hit harder than exports. Overall, the trade deficit shrunk in January,

That decline in imports is likely not a Toyota recall factor; shipments of cars take weeks to go across the Pacific, so the ships that docked on the West Coast with cars from Asia during the month had set sail before stuff had hit the fan for Toyota. Slow-steaming might have been a factor, as that practice might have had cars moving across the Pacific doing so at more of a crawl, such that cars that might have arrived here already in the past were still en route under slow steaming.

However, other factors might have contributed as well. An increased strength in Ford and GM along with stronger sales for cars built in the US from foreign car makers could have had people buying local more than in the past. That will be good news for domestic car haulers, since there will be more cars picked up at the plant rather than intermodaled away onto autoracks at portside.

February’s numbers will start to include the Toyota impact, but this news seems to be good news for domestic car makers even before factoring that in.


Monday, March 8, 2010

Toyota Market Share Down 5.3% Since 1/21, 30% Drop in Sales; Honda, Ford Winners

Some new data covering the first three weeks of Toyota’s marketing purgatory shows Honda as the biggest winner as the workflow of car carriers shifts away from Toyota and Chevy. Toyota’s market share in the US fell from 17.5% in the first three weeks of 2010 to 12.1% from January 21 to February 14th. In that time frame, Honda was the biggest beneficiary, with its market share rising 1.1% to 11.7%.

Hyundai was almost as big of a winner in the winter of Toyota’s discontent, as it picked up 0.8% in market share and sister brand Kia picked up an additional 0.5%. Ford was up 1.1% during that period. The Detroit News piece didn’t give a firm figure for how Chrysler faired during the period, but Chevrolet was down 0.3%, being unable to capture market share at Toyota’s expense.

Toyota has lost about a third of its sales during its fall from grace, which will translate to a third fewer car haulers moving Toyota cars. Haulers used to making runs from the Georgetown plant will now have to start making runs from other factories. In addition, used cars transporters who were used to getting a steady flow of cars to take off of Toyota dealer’s hands to auctions are now going to have to look to other dealers for extra business.

We’re now seeing some of the disruptions caused by the Toyota recalls, many of which will be happening behind the scenes, as car transportation services have to adjust how they do business; smart transporters will be making new contacts.

Canadian Retire Your Ride Program, 8% of US Cost, 80% Rate of Cars Retired

Japan’s Cash-for-Clunkers analog has gotten some press here in the US, mainly for the lack of eligible US-made cars that you could trade in your car for; however, a lower-key Canadian program has been keeping Canadian car haulers busy since last year. The Retire Your Ride program put 55,000 cars out to pasture in 2009. That’s roughly proportional on a per-capita basis to the 690,000 cars that the US program retired, but spending only C$300 a car compared to the US$3500 per-car figure that Uncle Sam spent.

The Retire Your Ride program targets cars made in 1995 and older that have been owned for six months and are in working order; those last provisions keep people from buying a hulk from the junkyard and getting a quick $300. Green-friendly options can expand the $300 to larger rebates on bicycles and mopeds ($500 in Ontario and $700 in British Columbia), or a year’s pass on a number of city’s mass transit systems. Some of the major car companies, such as Ford, GM, and Hyundai, are offering generous rebates for RYR donors.

The RYR program will make a dent on the used-car market in Canada, as a lot of affordable cars from the early 90s and back will be unavailable. Teens that might have wanted to get a cheap first car to tinker with will be stuck with a bike or bumming their parent’s cars. It will mean less business for car transporters getting older cars to and from auctions but hulk-haulers will get some extra business from Retire Your Ride.


For all of your car shippingauto transport and enclosed transport needs, call us TODAY!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Reposessed Cars Up in 2010, Adds to Tight Used Car Market

The supply of used cars may be tight, as we looked at earlier in the day, but there is one area of supply that is growing and will be aiding car haulers: repossessions. Repos are up about 20% from last year, and the strong used car market means that the collection companies will recoup most of the value of the car from the resale at auction. The repo company featured in the article managed to sell 59 out of 62 cars at auction.

The tight use car market might encourage the “you’ve got a pulse and a job, you’ve got credit” used car lots, for if they can be assured that they’ll get the lion’s share of the value of the car back from a repo auction, they will be more likely to have loose credit standards, for a default may not set the firm back much. The strong used car market will mean that the sub-prime car lots will be buyers at the auctions if they aren’t merely recycling the cars they sold and repossessed.

That will mean that car carriers will want to make those sub-prime used car places part of their work matrix, since they will be a larger part of the used car market, especially as a number of GM nameplates go the way of the dodo and have no natural home for their sale. You know to look for an used Chevy at a Chevy dealer, but where do you find the Saturns and Pontiacs now that their dealerships have been phased out?


For all of your car shippingauto transport and enclosed transport needs, call us TODAY!