The centre will package up to 7,000 different part lines for Audi, Volkswagen and VW Commercial Vehicles and more than 12,000 containers a year are expected to be shipped to 15 countries overseas, including China, Mexico and the US.
The carmaker said growing demand for its vehicles overseas had driven the decision to set up the new facility as more parts, such as headlamps, audio systems and steering wheels, need to be exported for local production. New vehicle deliveries to China last year were up more than 5% to 4.2m units, while in North America they were up 4% to 1m.
The new centre is to be built on 100,000 sq.m of land directly next to the Jade-Weser-Port and will include four main halls with a total area of more than 40,000 sq.m. The different vehicle parts for the Audi, Volkswagen and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles brands will be shipped to Wilhelmshaven and packed in 250 40-foot equivalent containers a week.
According to Astrid Lühring (pictured below), head of material logistics at Konzernlogistik, the central logistics function at VW Group, a comprehensive location analysis showed the Wilhelmshaven site was the optimum supplement to existing locations.
“In view of the economic assessment and strategic development prospects, it was agreed with the logistics department managers of the various brands involved that a packaging centre should be established in the port of Wilhelmshaven,” she told Automotive Logistics this week.
The facility is being built for VW by international industrial property developer, Panattoni Group, and construction work will start this year.
VW Group will be employing a contract logistics provider to manage operations at the centre and will be making a call for tenders “in the near future”, according to Lühring. “The logistics provider is responsible for the logistics operations and processes at the packaging facility, from incoming to outgoing goods,” she added.
VW Group’s packaging facilities pack a variety of parts for the production of vehicles and ship them to its overseas plants.
“Our suppliers deliver the parts to be shipped to our packaging facilities on the basis of delivery orders from our overseas plants,” explained Lühring. “At the packaging facilities, the vehicle parts are unloaded and then packed into containers specially designed for marine transport and prepared for overseas shipment. Finally, these containers are loaded onto a standard shipping container and sent off on their journey to our overseas plants.”
One change being brought in with the establishment of the new centre, said Lühring, was a cross-brand approach to parts shipments. Traditionally, most of VW Group’s packaging facilities have dealt with a single brand.
The VW Group has a variety of vehicle and engine plants in overseas locations, including Mexico, China, the US and India, all of which can be supplied from Wilhelmshaven in the future.
Other than that, Lühring said there would be no major changes in the process for material flow from supply locations to the international plants.
“For our suppliers, the packaging centre will be a new location and a further port is available for the shipment of containers,” she added.