Date: 19.07.2023

Rising UK car production keeps pressure on RoRo capacity

According to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), UK car production rose for the fourth consecutive month in May, up almost a third on 2022.

Domestic production volumes increased by 45.4% and exports rose 22.9%, with exports accounting for 80% of the production output, and while the EU remained the biggest market, overseas shipments accounted for 44% in the last month.

Combined, UK car exports to the next largest markets, the US, China, Japan and Australia, took just under a third of exports in May.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “Another month of growth for UK car production is good news and a sign that, despite challenging economic conditions, the industry’s foundations are strong.”

Consecutive months of growth is further proof that UK manufacturers are on track to restore car production to pre-pandemic levels and though export logistics challenges remain, the easing of supply shortages have contributed to the positive outlook.

Rising global car exports, means increased demand from Chinese, Japanese, European and UK manufacturers, who are all vying for extremely scarce RoRo space on Pure Car Carriers (PCC) and PureCar and Truck Carriers PCTC.

During the pandemic many PCTCs were scrapped and few built, as working from home depressed vehicle demand and the specialist RoRo vessels that remain, have been over-subscribed on every global trade-lane since last year, leading Chinese manufacturers to order 13 PCTS RoRo vessels for their units.

With container shipping rates slumping, there is a massive opportunity for car manufacturers to move finished vehicle units (and after sales cargoes) on dependable and regular container services, without any volume concerns and at far less cost.

In addition air freight and freighter costs are particularly depressed on many trade-lanes and offer a significant opportunity to shippers that need to move vehicles or large volumes swiftly, for testing, launches and events.

Metro is exporting finished vehicles in containers, with significantly lower port to port freight costs, for a number of UK manufacturers.

In addition to avoiding the long wait for delayed (and much more expensive) RoRo services, they have no worries about congestion or shortage of space.

Standard 40’ containers can accommodate two large cars, and up to four smaller vehicles, secured on a rack, with massive efficiency gains and costs that are in line with historic RoRo levels.

EMAIL Ian Tubbs to learn more.