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Industry Insight

Logistics, a growing challenge for automotive components


A global industry dependent on the international supply chain

Logistics is an increasingly decisive factor for vehicle component manufacturers and thus for the industry as a whole. The effects of the pandemic and the war in Ukraine have stretched the automotive supply chain to previously unimaginable limits, leading to microchip shortages and further difficulties in sourcing raw materials as well as the distribution of components.

Manufacture of the automotive parts

The complex situation of the international logistics landscape, in addition to economic uncertainty, led to a decline in car registrations in Europe in 2022. This is mainly the result of the limited supply of vehicles due to the shortage of semiconductors, as the manufacturers' association ACEA itself acknowledges. In this context, the European Association of Automotive Suppliers (Clepa) cites global supply chain disruptions as the main threat to the automotive components industry. While the previous report focused on the problem of semiconductor shortages, now more than 60 percent of those surveyed by the association point to rising costs in the logistics chain as their biggest concern.

“The global problems derived from the pandemic and the complicated international scenario have shown the complex interconnection of the automotive logistics chain, in which a small delay in one of the links has repercussions on the entire production,” explains Andreu Gutiérrez, Country Sales Director Road of Rhenus Logistics in Spain. For Gutiérrez, this context is an opportunity for automobile suppliers to reorganise their logistics. And he knows just the way to do it: by choosing the best partner for entrust their supply chain.


How does one choose the best logistics partner for the automotive industry?

  • A specialised logistics operator who knows the uniqueness of an industry that does not permit errors in its supply chain and establishes very strict distribution deadlines.
  • A partner with an international dimension will always provide a much more immediate response in the resolution of unforeseen events or in the search for alternatives that guarantee the logistics flow.
  • A partner with a global vision of the industry, providing added value throughout the entire production chain with logistics services designed to improve efficiency and the capacity to integrate all processes.
  • A market player that provides innovation is key for a sector that is always at the forefront of technological development, which is why the logistics alliance requires a partner that shares this strategic commitment.

Analysis of the logistics market for automotive components in Spain

Rhenus Logistics Spain has prepared the Automotive Components Logistics Guide, which analyses the main logistical patterns of an industry in which Spain holds the fourth position in Europe and is in the top ten of the world ranking. 

The main results of the report, based on data from the Spanish Tax Agency, show that road transport is the main conduit of the Spanish automotive components industry's foreign trade, and that France is the main trading partner, holding the leading position in imports and second in exports.

The report confirms the recovery that the sector is experiencing after the sharp decline caused by the outbreak of the pandemic. It also shows the dynamics of exports, which increased by five percent in 2021 and by another 10 percent in the first half of 2022.

The analysis of the data provided by the Spanish Tax Agency shows that trucks transport 65 percent of exports and up to 70 percent of Spanish imports. Maritime transport is a long way behind, with 33 percent of exports and 28 percent of imports, while air and rail traffic account for around two percent of the services with origin or destination in Spain. For Rhenus, a logistics provider specialising in the transport and storage of automotive components, these results confirm the importance of road transport for this industry.

The automotive industry requires a very precise distribution. Logistics quality is a decisive factor for complying with extremely rigorous just-in-time criteria, which demand the delivery of the components at the exact moment. And in this challenge, road transport has been enormously competitive in adapting to the demands of the automotive industry.
Andreu Gutiérrez | Country Sales Director Road of Rhenus Logistics in Spain

From Spain to France by truck and from France to Spain by ship

The combined study of foreign trade destinations and the means of transport reveals the disparity of traffic with origin or destination in France. Thus, up to 95 percent of automotive components exported to France are moved by road, while 63 percent of imports from France to Spain are moved by ship – with trucks accounting for the remaining 37 percent.

Overtaking France as the leading destination for Spanish automotive exports, Germany takes the second place for imports, with the focus of its transport activities mainly on the road. Morocco is the third-largest export destination for Spanish automotive components, which are transported almost entirely by ship.

Would you like more information?

You can download the Automotive Components Logistics Guide here:


Discover more about automotive logistics solutions from Rhenus in Spain:



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