In the presence of 60 invited guests the christening was carried out by Helen Clarke, Vehicle Logistics Manager of Ford of Europe, at the BLG Auto Terminal in Duisburg. In 2015 BLG Interrijn Autotransport transported more than 200,000 vehicles for the carmaker on the Rhine for the first time. Commissioning of the FUERTE is another investment in the future of ship transport on the Rhine.
On the occasion of the christening of the most recent ro-ro vessel, Helen Clarke underlined the importance of ship logistics for Ford: “For the Ford Motor Company transportation via water has always been of great significance. Accordingly, in the history of our company numerous production plants have been deliberately located in the proximity of natural waterways, such as rivers and channels, and near trading ports. Inland shipping is and remains a key element of our transport network since it offers an extremely efficient way of moving, in particular, large vehicle volumes between different locations.”
Markus Bangen, member of duisport’s Board of Management, emphasized the importance of inland shipping for intelligent logistics solutions: “The port of Duisburg as a multimodal logistics hub offers ideal prerequisites for exploiting the potential of inland shipping. The activities of BLG Interrijn demonstrate this impressively.”
On behalf of BLG, Michael Blach, member of the Board of Management, underlined the very good cooperation between BLG Interrijn Autotransport and Ford over many years: “At the beginning of the 1980s the first Ford models were transported via the Rhine, at that time still by the joint venture Interrijn Harms RoRo. For many years BLG Interrijn Autotransport has been performing all shipments from Cologne and the western ports for our client Ford since the complete takeover of the company E.H. Harms in 2007. The many years of cooperation indicate the importance of inland shipping for automobile transport and the commissioning of the FUERTE stands for further expansion of our partnership with Ford.”
Louis Kanters, Managing Director of the Interrijn Group, emphasized: “The impetus for transporting vehicles via car carriers on the Rhine came from Interrijn in 1981. Our client Ford was open to this suggestion and the geographic location of the plant permitted corresponding implementation. Initially ship transport took place via a detour by truck to the Niehler port in Cologne. The vehicles were loaded onto the inland vessel at the former Harms terminal there. That changed in 1995 when inland shipping was linked to the oil ports. As of then, the vehicles were loaded directly from the Ford production plant onto the ro-ro ships. The main export volume still goes to England and southern Europe via Vlissingen and Antwerp.”
The FUERTE, like its sister vessels, is a ship owned by various private persons who let the 50:50 joint venture BLG Interrijn Autotransport use their trip for transportation purposes. Like its sister vessel MS. FORENSO, the MS. FUERTE can also transport buses and tractors. Besides shipments to and from Cologne, both ships are employed regularly for scheduled services from Mannheim to Rotterdam and Antwerp.