MotorVise Automotive has partnered with Drive Assured and The Compliance Company to form the Motor Alliance – a new business aiming to drive car dealers’ profitability.
Collaborating to offer clients a one-stop solution providing guidance on sales growth, insurance and non-insurance products, alongside Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) compliance, the new business claims to draw on “several decades of motor industry knowledge”.
A statement issued by the Motor Alliance this week said that it would aim to streamline and simplify the whole sales process for dealers, dealer groups and car manufacturers whilst offering the industry a wider choice of add-on products, all from one source.
Fraser Brown, managing director of business improvement specialists MotorVise Automotive, based in Colburn, North Yorkshire, said: “The Motor Alliance unites several decades of motor industry knowledge – with each company contributing its own specific expertise.
“Together we are able to provide dealers and dealer groups access to an extensive range of services and products in one place – rather than having to deal with different suppliers and accessing different systems.
“This is all about simplifying processes, creating efficiencies and maximising dealership profit.”
A thorough review of dealers’ current processes and suppliers of compliance and insurance products, to identify opportunities to grow sales, create efficiencies and increase dealership profits will be central to the Motor Alliance’s offering.
Among the services it is then able to provide are a post COVID-19 contactless sales process, FCA Compliance software, full claims and policy administration, finance and insurance reporting, ongoing sales training, and continuous professional development, as stipulated by the FCA.
The Compliance Company, as part of the Alliance, is looking to establish a network of Appointed Representatives (AR) across the UK, and through the integration of systems, the whole sales process is simplified, allowing additional time for making profit.
Another major revenue growth area is the provision of insurance and non-insurance products for the showroom, bodyshop and after-sales departments, including Return to Invoice, Vehicle Replacement insurance, guarantee administration for warranties as well as a suite of products protecting motorists from everything from alloy wheel damage to misfuelling.
The Alliance will offer a full range of GAP insurance products, particularly relevant at the moment following the recent announcement by one major provider to dealers and OEM`s, that it is withdrawing its product from the UK market, imminently.
Ian Beardmore, co-founder and chief executive office of The Compliance Company, which is based in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, said: “We are extremely excited to be part of the Motor Alliance as it offers the industry an alternative to the current AR networks and product suppliers and thus offers dealers a wider choice of products and services.
“Our aim is to establish one of the UK’s most comprehensive FCA Appointed Representative networks by using MotorVise and Drive Assured’s integrated systems combining finance and insurance compliance with our own expertise.”
James Marsh, managing director of Drive Assured, which has offices in Henley-on-Thames and Burscough, Lancashire, said: “We offer a unique suite of market-leading insurance and warranty products which is a vital part of the dealer’s business, providing a major revenue stream.
“The supply of these products is backed up by integrated systems and full finance and insurance reporting to help with on-going development and training.
“Drive Assured is proud to join the Motor Alliance to work in unison with MotorVise Automotive and The Compliance Company, offering dealers the very best in choice and service.”
Crew crisis to trigger ship detentions and diversions
Around 200,000 seafarers still can’t get home due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. Expired and extended crew contracts are piling up. Now, some port inspectors are beginning to balk and detain arriving vessels.
“We are not just talking about a humanitarian crisis. This is turning into something that has a real impact on the global supply chain,” warned Belal Ahmed, chairman of the International Maritime Employers Council (IMEC), during a webinar presented by Capital Link on Wednesday.
More port detentions — and voyage diversions to facilitate crew changes and avoid detentions — would reduce effective ship capacity. Lower capacity would curtail shippers’ ability to move cargo across the globe.
It would also elevate spot rates, a positive for owners of ships that aren’t detained or diverted. The “freshness” of crew contracts would become a competitive advantage for shipowners and a metric vetted by charterers.
The billion-dollar question is: Which countries’ port-state control (PSC) authorities will strictly enforce minimum manning standards and detain ships? When will they pull the trigger? Will America’s PSC — the U.S. Coast Guard — detain mega-container ships bringing in much-needed imports to California if those vessels have too few crew aboard with valid seafarer employment agreements (SEAs)?
Detentions begin in Australia
PSC inspectors in Australia look like they’re taking the lead.
“It appears that AMSA [the Australian Maritime Safety Authority] has applied its authority to prevent a ship from leaving because the crew complement fell short of the manning requirement,” Fabrizio Barcellona, assistant secretary of the seafarer section of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), told FreightWaves.
He continued, “It also appears that another ship was asked to provide the repatriation to seafarers who have gone beyond their contractual terms. This is something we welcome. However, it appears that it is difficult for the companies concerned to repatriate seafarers from Australia.”
As a result of AMSA policy, dry bulk could feel the initial rate effects of the crew-repatriation crisis.
Australia is one of the world’s top-two exporters of iron ore. PSC actions could elevate spot rates for Capesizes (bulkers with capacity of around 180,000 deadweight tons). Not just because of actual detentions but because Capesizes might avoid Australia if they fear detention.
New inspection policy
Under the new policy that started Wednesday and runs through Oct. 1, if AMSA inspectors find any seafarers on board without a valid SEA, the master must arrange for repatriation. If there are not enough crew with valid SEAs on board to meet minimum manning requirements, AMSA won’t let the ship sail.
If inspectors find seafarers have a valid SEA but have been onboard for 11-13 months, the master must provide inspectors with a plan approved by the ship’s flag state to repatriate that seafarer before the 14-month mark. The same rule applies to seafarers with valid SEAs who have been aboard for 13-14 months. But in this case, AMSA detains the ship until it gets a flag-approved plan.
No crew employment period beyond 14 months is acceptable to AMSA “unless the master or owner or both demonstrate satisfactorily to AMSA that all possible efforts have been expended to repatriate the seafarer without success and the seafarer has provided written confirmation accepting the extension.”
“[Port] detentions are a very sensitive issue,” said ITF General Secretary Stephen Cotton during the Capital Link webinar. “We are not encouraging detentions, but detention is a method to get policy to change at the government level.”
Translation: The more ships detained and the more fallout to trade, the more likely governments are to lift travel restrictions preventing crew changes.
Voyage diversions ahead
It may be necessary for a ship to divert from its trading route to drop off crew in a country allowing crew-change transits.
Going forward, the more that PSCs implement rules like those in Australia, the more voyages will be diverted. This would increase the trading inefficiency of the fleet, another tailwind for spot rates.
“Port state control inspectors are now under immense pressure to detain ships [not in compliance with minimum manning rules],” said Cotton.
“Diverting ships is going to become a reality if you look at what’s going on with AMSA. If you are leaving Australia and you’re struggling, there are ports in Asia [to change crew]. The situation in Singapore is dramatically improved. Hong Kong has improved. Korea has been reasonable all the way through.”
Speakers during the Capital Link webinar repeatedly highlighted the new voyage-diversion clause published by shipping association BIMCO on June 25.
Normally, the diversion costs would be on the shipowners’ account. The new BIMCO crew-change clause allows shipowners and charterers to share the voyage-diversion cost. Contractually stipulating a cost split would provide owners more flexibility to change crew, which could prevent a future detention that would ultimately be more costly.
The use of the new BIMCO clause is, of course, up to the two parties in a charter negotiation. Furthermore, the clause is for time charters, not spot voyages.
Questions arose during the Capital Link webinar about how interested charterers actually are in solving the seafarer crisis.
According to Ahmed, “This extraordinary crisis has brought all of us together. I have never in my 40 years in the industry seen all the stakeholders together like this. But there are still some we do not have with us who should be. Some of the charterers are still not on board to assist with crew changes.
“We have seen incidents where the charterers — and these are big oil companies — are threatening to ‘off-hire’ the ship because it was a little bit delayed because of crew arriving and departing,” lamented Ahmed. “We would like to see the major bodies involved in chartering ships give us a hand.” Click for more FreightWaves/American Shipper articles by Greg Miller
MORE ON SEAFARERS AND THE CORONAVIRUS: Will ports bar ships with coronavirus-positive crew onboard? See story here. Why the crew crisis is a ticking time bomb for global trade: see story here. Seafarer union ITF takes the gloves off and says “enough is enough”: see story here.
Freight sales survey: finding your next sales job
Emily is one of a handful of FreightWaves graphic designers. Focusing in on data visualization, she is the primary infographic designer at FreightWaves. When she’s not researching the freight industry, she’s researching design tools and trends. View our archive of infographics at FreightWaves.com/infographics.
Breaking news: Trucking jobs rose by 8,100 in June
(Correcting earlier rate of change).
Trucking jobs in the U.S. rose by 8,100 jobs in June but there were 18,000 jobs less in the sector than they were in June 2019, according to the monthly employment report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Truck transportation jobs in June totaled 1,440,700, up from 1,432,600 jobs in May, the BLS said. A year ago, they were 1,548,700.
The warehousing sector continues to see a huge jump in employment. Jobs in that sector were reported in June at 1,194,400, an increase of a whopping 60,500 jobs from May’s figure of 1,133,900 jobs. In June of last year, that category stood at 1,176,700, so the year-on-year increase is less than the month-on-month increase.
The overall report showed that U.S. jobs in June were up by 4.76 million, with the unemployment rate falling to 11.1% from 13.3% a month earlier.
We’ll have additional coverage of this topic during the day.
For more stories by John Kingston, please go here.
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