LSP focus

Glovis America

The growth in trade for Glovis America 

Glovis America has been expanding its services to build on customer growth in 2019, including those outside parent company Hyundai Kia Automotive Group. It has also been supporting those customers during the coronavirus pandemic by securing hundreds of acres of emergency storage nationwide

Glovis America has seven port terminals in the US and last year handled a total of more than 807,500 vehicles, the vast majority being imports (see table). As part of Hyundai Glovis, the logistics division of Hyundai Kia Automotive Group, the terminal operator handles a lot of Hyundai and Kia imports to North America, but it is not limited to its parent group’s products and has seen growth in customer diversity in recent years. In response to that it is expanding its assets, facilities and services.

Last year’s most significant example of that growth was the opening of the $110m vehicle terminal at the Southport Marine Terminal Complex at the port of Philadelphia (Philaport) on the US east coast.

When it comes to handling finished vehicles, US east coast ports have been the busiest in the country over the last few years, and as a result the leading contenders have been looking for extra space. As reported elsewhere in this supplement, the growth in short-sea imports out of Mexico, as well as more deep-ocean trade and the shifts in entry points for vehicle imports on the west coast, have all meant that shortage of capacity at peak times has been a growing issue.

Logistics investment

Glovis America is operating the 63-hectare Southport Auto Terminal on a 15-year contract with Philaport, with two five-year options to renew. The company has contributed $10m to terminal development, with the rest provided by Pennsylvania state funding. That forms part of an overall $300m government investment in infrastructure, warehousing and equipment at the port, which was first announced in 2016.

Glovis US terminal results for 2019

Previously, vehicles were unloaded at the Packer Avenue Marine Terminal, which mostly handles containers, and moved to a vehicle-handling facility at Pier 98. The new facility enables Glovis America to directly unload imports into a dedicated vehicle-handling facility. Glovis and Eukor vessels call at the port on a weekly basis from Busan, South Korea and Veracruz, Mexico.

The terminal did not officially open until October last year but the extra capacity created meant the terminal still imported 193,000 units, which beat its previous record by 15%, according to Glovis America. The Southport Auto Terminal has a 10,000 sq.m vehicle processing centre (VPC) that can handle more than 1,000 cars a day. It will be able to process 350,000 vehicles annually at full capacity and could eventually push Philaport into one of the top ten ports for vehicle handling in North America.

Since the start of operations Glovis America has also opened the Norfolk Southern Navy Yard facility for delivery of export models to the port. The company also sees the rail link as important for handling imports to the hinterland. Along with the rail link the port has direct access to two major highways, the I-95 and the I-76.

Glovis America by numbers

7 terminal operations in US

807,500 vehicles processed in 2019

$10m contributed to Philaport terminal development

10,000 sq.m VPC at Southport Auto Terminal

350,000 vehicles annual capacity at Southport Auto Terminal

International links

While that was a major achievement for growth of finished vehicle trade at Philaport, Glovis America has been busy elsewhere as Finished Vehicle Logistics learned from Darren Acker, senior national manager of vehicle logistics, Iya Isoke, port operations manager, and Patrick McGinn, manager of business development.

What significant developments took place at Glovis’ other locations in the US last year?

Patrick McGinn: We started an important new port service in 2019, adding exports of new autos to the Middle East from our facility in Brunswick, Georgia.

What were the main drivers of business at those other port locations in 2019?

Iya Isoke: The main drivers of business for us were the launch of the new models and the volume growth. We have also observed increased port accessorisation by our customers and added brand dealer launches.

Can you talk about any new trade links that have increased finished vehicle business at the company's facilities, whether import or export?

Patrick McGinn: The vehicles arriving at Southport via Norfolk Southern are domestic built, but we believe this new rail unloading service will help attract more import and export business to Philadelphia.

The new Southport Marine Terminal Complex at Philaport is adjacent to Class 1 rail links and Glovis has been working with Norfolk Southern to bring rail into the port

What investments or improvements were made or are underway to improve storage capacity, speed up throughput or improve transport links inland?

Darren Acker: Our new electronic delivery receipts application, and vehicle tracking and tracing software, will help improve visibility and increase revenue recognition.

Is Glovis America using any new digital tools to improve processing at its facilities? If so, could you detail them?

Patrick McGinn: Glovis is heavily investing in technology, and in 2020 we’ll roll out the newest version of our VELES port processing software, which will add further planning intelligence and improve accuracy, therefore increasing throughput at our facilities.

Did trade uncertainty or the threat of tariffs in 2019 affect business in any way?

Patrick McGinn: The tariff uncertainty led to some new spot business for us, especially on the west coast as customers manufacturing overseas sought to land cars in the US before new regulations were passed. But overall, 2019 was a strong year for us and our customers.

Ribbon cutting and grand opening at Philaport in 2019

Coping with Covid-19

Building on the strength of its business in 2019, Glovis America says its customers were on a for a banner year in 2020, with a strong showing in the first quarter of this year. That was before Covid-19 hit the industry, however, and in the second quarter the full impact of the disruption was felt.

Nevertheless, Glovis still managed to still increase year-to-date inbound ocean deliveries at the Philaport facility by almost 4% year-on-year, a result likely to be higher when inbound rail volumes to the port are calculated.

Furthermore, McGinn says the company was quick to react to the outbreak of the pandemic, securing hundreds of acres of emergency storage nationwide for its customers.

“We’ve used our expertise to adjust floor and van layouts and manage to hit pre-Covid levels of production with only a small adjustment period,” he says.

Asked whether the company expects a full recovery in volumes for 2020, McGinn says some of its facilities are already operating at pre-Covid levels.

“Philadelphia, for example, has actually increased shipments compared to 2019,” he says. “So we remain optimistic that our arrivals and shipments will end at a similar place to last year.”

Watch our Livestream featuring extensive input from Glovis America's Darren Acker and Charles Franklin


Number of vehicles BMW Group has sold in Mexico in the past 25 years

All Glovis logistics platforms are experiencing growth in client diversity. We are expanding our assets, facilities, and service reach in order to bring further new capabilities onlinePatrick McGinn, Glovis America

Our new electronic delivery receipts application and vehicle tracking and tracing software will help improve visibility and increase revenue recognition

Darren Acker, Glovis America

The main drivers of business for us were the launch of the new models and the volume growth. We have also observed increased port accessorisation by our customers and added brands dealer launches

Iya Isoke, Glovis America

Our Southport launch has been hugely successful. Even though our new VPC didn’t officially open until October, the extra land meant we were able to import over 193,000 units in 2019, beating our previous record year by over 15%

Patrick McGinn, Glovis America