Global automotive logistics provider GEFCO is undertaking trials on behalf of BMW to assess the reliability, lead times and quality control of a ‘Silk Road’ solution for transporting cars in containers by rail from Europe to China.

The pilot operated in November last year proved successful and now a second trial shipment of 40 vehicles of series 1 has been completed, moving the vehicles from Regensburg to Chengdu within just 15-17 days, compared to 55 days by sea.

Facilitating the movement of the vehicles by rail, GEFCO has worked in partnership with container racking specialist Trans-Rak, to ensure minimal handling, zero damage and optimal loading for the vehicles’ journey across continents.

Paul Donaldson, Managing Director at Trans-Rak, says: “The challenge for automotive manufacturers exporting into vast regions like China has been that the ports are situated in the West of the country and there is a lack of infrastructure. Traditionally, the solution has been to ship vehicles to the Eastern seaboard, but the opening of a new Inland Freight Terminal in Chongqing has for the first time made a pan-China road and rail solution viable, which reduces lead times, saves costs and is sustainable.

“We are proud and very excited to be involved in this prestigious project and welcome the opportunity to work with forward-looking European manufacturers and logistics providers to deliver a secure, reliable and cost-effective solution for delivering cars into China.”

National property and construction consultancy, Wakemans, has been appointed by Travelodge, the UK’s largest independent hotel brand, to support their ongoing growth strategy by working on four new hotels that will open in 2016 and represent a combined construction value of £18 million.

The Travelodge properties include: London Finsbury Park, London Finchley, Bicester and Dover. These four additions will boost the company’s current portfolio of 526 hotels.

Three of the projects have already commenced on site, which includes: two sites in London, as the company continues to grow in the capital, adding to its portfolio of 62 London hotels. The hotels are a new-build 102-room property in Finsbury Park located just 200 metres from Finsbury Park overground and underground station, as well as a new-build 128-room hotel in the heart of Finchley.

The other hotel already under development is a new-build 53-room hotel in Bicester which is due to open next month. The hotel is located in a mixed-use development in the town centre, which is part of a wider regeneration of the area. The hotel is strategically located close to Bicester shopping village and the town centre railway station, which now has a direct link to London.

Work on the 108-room Dover Travelodge is also due to start shortly. The new-build hotel is Travelodge’s first in Dover and is part of a mixed-use development at the popular St James’s leisure and retail centre in the heart of the town. In addition to the hotel, the development will include two restaurant units and other new retail and leisure developments such as M&S, Frankie & Benny’s and Cineworld.

Wakemans is acting as Tenant’s Agent for Travelodge on all of these developments. The company also played a key role in helping to deliver Travelodge’s recent £100 million nationwide modernisation programme to deliver greater quality to its customers.  All the company’s UK hotels now feature a new contemporary room design and include the bespoke luxurious king-size Travelodge Dreamer bed and separate beds for children at no extra cost in family rooms.

Wakemans associate director Nigel Himpson says: “We are delighted to continue our long standing relationship with Travelodge on these four important developments.”

Tony O’Brien, UK Development Director at Travelodge said: “The budget hotel market continues to go from strength to strength, boosted by ever more cost-conscious businesses and the growth in independent leisure travel.  To meet the growing demand Travelodge is continuing to invest in upgrading and expanding its network.  These four hotels are part of 19 new properties we are opening this year in key UK locations.”

“Our recently completed £100m hotel modernisation programme has raised quality levels and led to strong growth from business customers to complement our traditional strength in leisure travel.  We now see opportunity for hotels in 250 further locations across the UK and we look forward to continue to work with Wakemans to help grow Travelodge.”

Copyright 2013 DDPR