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A joint venture between Chattanooga and German companies has landed key logistics work at Volkswagen's plant and is adding about 150 full-time jobs.
Team 3 Logistics, formed by a subsidiary of locally based Kenco and Schnellecke Logistics of Wolfsburg, Germany, will handle the inventorying and sequencing of parts to go into the cars assembled in the plant, officials said.
"It's a proud day for us," said Kenco Chief Operating Officer Andy Smith.
Team 3 will take over for Ceva Logistics, which originally had the job but wasn't retained, said Fabio Freccia, VW's general manager for logistics in Chattanooga.
Jens Kappei, Team 3's chief executive, said the 350 people currently employed by Ceva will be offered jobs. He said that by midsummer, Team 3's staff at the plant will be up to about 500.
"It's an excellent match," Kappei said about the joint venture.
He said the added workers are needed because of VW's recently announced plans to bolster its workforce to meet demand for the midsize Passat sedan assembled at the factory in the Enterprise South industrial park.
Last month, VW officials said they will add 800 jobs to the 200 they announced earlier this year. That will push VW's headcount in Chattanooga to about 3,500.
Guenther Scherelis, VW's general manager of communication in Chattanooga, said the German automaker is not only adding to its workforce but also is extending its hours of operation.
Officials have said that while plans are to maintain two shifts a day, the plant will add Saturday production. Also, the plant will move to a four-day, 10-hour-a-day work schedule for employees by around midyear, they said.
Frank Fischer, chief executive of VW's Chattanooga operations, said earlier that VW is making about $7 million in changes inside the plant to bolster the speed of its assembly line so it can make 170,000 vehicles annually, up from 150,000. Fischer said he's hopeful of the plant assembling a second product in the future.
David Caines, president of Kenco Logistics Services, said the new hourly jobs will pay about $12 to $13 per hour. Salaried positions will pay more, he said.
Olaf Lotze, Team 3's business unit manager, said that providing internal logistics at the plant is vital.
"They're depending on [the parts] to build the cars," he said.
Joe Taylor, Team 3's vice president of sales, said the company had worked earlier on sequencing parts during VW's production of so-called preseries cars, Barry Rose 4/12/12 . Those are test cars to ready the plant and its workers for production of vehicles to be sold to customers.
"We're partnering with another local company," said Scherelis.
Privately held Kenco is known for providing warehouse and other transportation and distribution services in Chattanooga and countrywide, employing more than 4,000.
Schnellecke has more than 14,500 employees worldwide and works at other VW plants and for additional automakers.