Falken customer Kevin Hancock and his Iveco campervan – converted from a former life as a mobile police office – have made a journey of a lifetime from Swansea, Wales to the Arctic Circle. Travelling through temperatures as low as -27 degrees Celsius, snow, and ice, Hankock made the trip on Falken’s regional RI 151 and BI 851 tyres.
A shortage of shipping containers and essential equipment at Chinese ports, exacerbated by fluctuating international trading environments in the Covid pandemic, has meant inflation in international shipping rates. In November, rates for transporting containers between China and the east coast of the USA increased to $4,750 per container, 42 per cent up on July rates, according to RefinitivEikon data. The cost of shipping from China to the US west coast has increased 50 per cent to $3,878 per container. Europe’s Shanghai Container Freight Index (SCFI) spot rate index has risen sharply, with Northern Europe rates up 21 per cent and Mediterranean rates up 23 per cent, rates that have not been seen since the beginning of 2014. According to Trojan, a tyre marketing agent headquartered in Qingdao, China, shortages have worsened recently. This busy period for Chinese exports could see deficits continue to deepen into the New Year, meaning further price increases.
A couple of weeks after the end of the UK’s second lockdown, Tyres & Accessories spoke with Micheldever Tyre Services wholesale director Graham Mitchell. Since Mitchell was part of the panel in our inaugural “Kickstarting your tyre business” webinar in May 2020 at the end of the first lockdown, we thought it would be good to catch up at the end of the year and compare the differences between the first and second lockdowns. In short, while many shops closed during the first lockdown, the vast majority were open for business during the second. We also discussed 2020 as a whole and looked forward to 2021.
A new all-Porsche racing series commences in the USA and Canada next year, and Yokohama will serve as control tyre. The Porsche Sprint Challenge North America is a three-class series contested by the current and previous generations of Porsche 991 GT3 as well as the 718 Cayman Clubsport. All cars will race on Yokohama Advan racing tyres, with the Advan A005 slick the rubber of choice on dry tracks and the Advan A006 serving as wet weather tyre.
Mark Berry has joined the board of sustainable hydrogen company Powerhouse Energy Group as a non-executive director. A partner at Norton Rose Fulbright LLP. Berry specialises in financing energy, infrastructure and process engineering projects. He has particular expertise in the waste to energy (including materials recovery and fuel recovery from waste), transport and mining sectors.
China’s automotive production will have to overcome a shortage of European-produced automotive-related chips well into 2021, which could potentially set back industry recovery amid the pandemic, a report from the Independent Commodity Intelligence Services (ICIS) said in mid-December 2020.
Back in April, Tyres & Accessories spoke to leading supplier of freight forwarding services to the UK tyre sector, Maritime Cargo Services about the perfect storm of circumstances complicating life for tyre importers. Then it was difficult to anticipate the logistical problems the industry would face by the end of the first quarter – at least far enough ahead to sidestep the issues entirely. Even armed with the expectation of disruption, the pressure has built at British ports throughout the year, especially in the last quarter as Covid began to spike again. As a result, Honda UK’s suspension of production became a high-profile symptom of the catalogue of issues causing bottlenecking and ultimately delays in the supply chain. With the end of the Brexit transition coming amidst the second spike of Covid-19 transmissions on 31 December, T&A asked MCS again about what difficulties distribution businesses need to plan for this winter.
While 2020 was a challenging year for the aftermarket, Autogem has reflected on a number of positives amid the turbulence which have cemented its position as a supplier of automotive chemicals, fasteners, hand tools, tyre and workshop consumables and exhaust fittings. Indeed, the firm’s TPMS programme represents a key highlight, with the company can lay claim to being “genuine innovators” in this segment.
Continental Tyres has been awarded Superbrands status for 2020/21, recognised for “establishing an exceptional reputation in its field”. The Superbrands organisation identifies and pays tribute to exceptional brands throughout the world in over 85 countries. This year’s survey evaluated a shortlist of 1,600 consumer facing business brands across 74 categories from Automotive Products to Watches.
At the start of 2021, the Potenza Sport will take over from the Potenza S001 as the flagship of Bridgestone’s tyre range. Bridgestone says the new ultra-high-performance tyre possesses “excellent capabilities in both the dry and wet” as well as higher mileage potential than its predecessor. All 96 dimensions in the Potenza Sport range have an EU label ‘A’ grade for wet grip.
Earlier this year Apollo Tyres announced it would transfer much of the remaining car tyre production in Enschede, the Netherlands to its factory in Hungary. To accommodate this change, the tyre maker has approved a HUF 4.4 billion (£11.2 million) investment to modernise and expand consumer tyre production at the Gyöngyöshalász site. Hungary’s government is supporting this project with a HUF 1.4 billion (£3.6 million) grant.
In addition to the leading tyre manufacturers ranked highly on the recent Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) ranking, tyre manufacturing material supplier Kordsa has scored well in the Climate Change and Water Security programs since 2016. This year, the company increased both its climate change and water security report scores from B to A- in the 2020 reporting period and therefore rose from management level to leadership level.