"We use three ports in China, but Shanghai is the largest accounting for 40 to 50 per cent of all our imports."
As China's economy continues to grow, so does the market for high-end automobiles. German sports car manufacturer Porsche found that complex port regulations were slowing their time to market in China. They turned to WWL for a comprehensive logistics solution, strict damage control and faster import.
China is a rapidly growing market for Porsche, one of the world's leading names in sports and luxury vehicles. Ina Qin, Import and Logistics Manager for Porsche (China) Motors Limited, explains how important it is to manage the Porsche brand in China.
"We have to stay on top of the strategy, steer communications and the brand image, and develop the competitive strategy," she says. Crucial to this is Porsche's ability to deliver their vehicles on time to the end customer.
For that reason, Porsche China wanted to be able to rely on a more comprehensive logistics provider than it had over the previous six years. And, in the autumn of 2013, the company was coming to the next cycle of an ongoing, three-year tender for vendors.
Porsche China invited Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics (WWL) to join in the bidding, and asked WWL to provide a senior contract manager and authorization for the staff needed to handle routine work. Based mainly on WWL's knowledge of logistics, their ability to hold a complete overview of products in shipment and their presence in China, Porsche selected them as its logistics provider for volumes via Shanghai, the largest gateway for Porsche vehicles into China.
"We use three ports in China, but Shanghai is the largest accounting for 40 to 50 per cent of all our imports," Ms. Qin says. "That is why WWL is so important to our success."
One of the biggest challenges facing Porsche is the fact that customers order their cars, and the dealers pay for them, well before the vehicles actually arrive in China. Speedy customs clearance, accurate reporting and fast, cost efficient delivery times are all crucial for Porsche.
Short delivery schedules mean that, in general, there is little need for warehousing, but a cyclical buying trend in China means that hundreds or even thousands of vehicles might arrive at one time and need to be stored before being trucked out to dealerships.
"In the last week of December 2013, we had 1,000 vehicles in the warehouse," says Jet
Young, WWL's Senior Contract Manager of Porsche China. "In the first week of January,we dispatched all 1,000 in just three days."
Ina Quin explains that it is not just WWL's speed that is appreciated, but its zero tolerance for damage: "Every Porsche is unique," she explains.
"The customer can configure a car that is unique for them; if they want red seats with green stitching, we will do it. But that means that if the car is damaged during transport, there is no replacement. In many cases there aren't even spare parts available for the new incoming vehicles."
Today WWL handles all import operations in Shanghai for Porsche, from pre-declaration and customs prior to vessel arrival, discharge, marine survey, accessorisation, and the handling and payment of all customs formalities, to movement of cars to China Inspection & Quarantine (QIC) and back to WWL's Vehicle Processing Center (VPC), warehouse storage when needed, as well as truck transport to 54 dealers across China.
It's only been a few months since we started, but I can only say good things," Ms. Qin says. "When we look to the future we think beyond three years, because we don't expect a short-term relationship."
Founded in 1931, the Porsche name has become synonymous with precision-engineered automobiles. Creator of sports cars including the iconic 911, the company expanded its lineup with the 2002 introduction of the Cayenne SUV and the luxury four-door Panamera saloon in 2009. The company claims that some 70 per cent of all Porsches ever produced are still on the road, and that the car has the highest profit per unit sold of any car in the world. With headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, the company employs some 17,500 people worldwide.