Mercedes-Benz unveils Sprinter manufacturing plant in US
To date, the company has be...
This week, Mercedes-Benz Vans USA broke ground on its new Sprinter manufacturing plant in North Charleston, South Carolina.
To date, the company has been producing its Sprinter vans for the US market at German plants. However, because of high import tariffs, the vehicles have to be dismantled prior to shipping and reassembled once they arrive on US shores.
Demand for Sprinter vans has been growing in the United States, with 28,000 units delivered last year — an eleven percent increase on 2014 numbers. The new production facility will allow Mercedes-Benz to expand its fleet more economically and reduce delivery time to customers.
"Our new Sprinter plant is a big leap into the future of production at Mercedes-Benz Vans,” said Frank Klein, Head of Operations Mercedes-Benz Vans. “We are combining all of our global expertise and experience in this plant. In doing so, we make it one of the most advanced facilities in North America.”
Up to 1,300 jobs will be created at the Mercedes-Benz Vans facility itself, and 400 jobs will be created for local suppliers.
"Construction and all necessary preparations are right on schedule,” said Michael Balke, incoming CEO of Mercedes-Benz Vans, LLC and Director of Production at the plant. “We have already begun to recruit and train a core team of employees in administration. We have also hired the first technical specialists. Applications of production job candidates will be accepted beginning mid-2017."
The first Sprinter van built in the US is scheduled to come off the assembly line by the end of the decade.
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Uber Freight to Acquire Transplace in $2.2bn Deal
Uber Freight is to acquire logistics technology and solutions provider Transplace in a deal worth $2.25bn.
The company will pay up to $750m in common stock and the remainder in cash to TPG Capital, Transplace’s private equity owner, pending regulatory approval and closing conditions.
“This is a significant step forward, not just for Uber Freight but for the entire logistics ecosystem,” said Lior Ron, Head of Uber Freight, and former founder of the Uber-owned trucking start-up Otto.
Uber’s Big Play for Supply Chain
Transplace is one of the world's largest managed transportation and logistics networks, with 62,000 unique users on its platform and $11bn in freight under management. It offers truck brokerage and other capacity solutions, end-to-end visibility on cross border shipments, and a suite of digital solutions and consultancy services.
The purchase is the latest move by parent company Uber, which launched as a San Francisco cab-hailing app in 2011, to diversify its offering and create new revenue streams in all transport segments.
Transplace said the takeover comes amid a period of “accelerated transformation in logistics”, where globalisation, shipping and transport disruption, and widespread volatility are colliding.
Uber Freight plans to integrate the Transplace network into its own platform, which connects shippers and carriers in a dashboard that mirroring the intuitive experience found in its consumer vehicle booking and food ordering services.
“This is an opportunity to bring together complementary best-in-class technology solutions and operational excellence from two premier companies to create an industry-first shipper-to-carrier platform that will transform shippers’ entire supply chains, delivering operational resilience and reducing costs at a time when it matters most,” said Ron.
Frank McGuigan, CEO of Transplace, said the resulting merger will offer enhanced efficiency and transparency for shippers, and benefits of scale for carriers. “All in all, we expect to significantly reduce shipper and carrier empty miles to the benefit of highway and road infrastructures and the environment,” he added.
History of Uber Freight
Uber Freight was established in 2017 and separated into its own business unit the following year. In 2019 the company had expanded across the entire continental US, established a headquarters in Chicago. Later that year it launched its first international division in Europe, initially from a regional foothold in the Nertherlands, and later moving into Germany.
The logistics spinoff attracted a $500m investment from New York-based Greenbriar Equity Group in October 2020, and launched a new shipping platform for companies of all sizes in May, partly in response to a driver shortage in Canada.