The war in Ukraine, energy costs, inflation, skills shortages, climate change and the ongoing pandemic conditions - the multi-crises of 2022 have also led to a very challenging business environment in logistics. BLG CEO Frank Dreeke explained today at the state press conference on ports that BLG LOGISTICS has mastered these challenges well thanks to robust and adaptable structures.
AUTOMOBILE Division / BLG AutoTerminal Bremerhaven
BLG's CEO expects just over 1.6 million vehicles to be handled, transported or technically processed at the BLG AutoTerminal Bremerhaven by the end of the year. This compares to 1.7 million in 2021 and 2.1 million vehicles before Covid (2019). In the entire AUTOMOBILE network, BLG will have handled, transported or technically processed around 4.1 million vehicles by the end of the year. The situation in the AUTOMOBILE division remains tense. The reasons and responsibilities often lie outside the ports, yet the problems are most visible there. The ports are the hub of logistics, Dreeke emphasised.
In the 2021 financial year, the Bremerhaven car terminal had to report a minus of 11 million euros. Frank Dreeke expects business to remain tight: "In June 2022, we as the Executive Board decided to restructure the terminal. The repositioning or realignment is an absolutely necessary step from our point of view. The primary goal of all those involved is to establish a stable long-term position for the Bremerhaven site, even without a collective employment protection agreement."
In the AutoTransport and AutoRail business segments - vehicle transports by truck and rail - BLG expects a volume of about 1.6 million vehicles. Here, too, the situation is complex: the demand for transport capacities by rail is high, but the provision of traction by the rail transport companies is limited due to a shortage of train drivers, a large number of construction sites in the European rail network and the prioritisation of other goods on the railways. "We need more resilient infrastructure," demands BLG's CEO: "The good connection of seaports to the rail network - the hinterland - is a key competitive advantage - also for BLG AutoTerminal Bremerhaven."
Neustädter Hafen, the only universal port in the state of Bremen and Europe's largest terminal for general and heavy cargo, remains an important hub for breakbulk traffic to North America. The volume handled at the end of November was 1.44 million tonnes. BLG expects the handling volume at the end of the year to be around 20 per cent above the volume of the previous year. "With an area of one million square metres, 2.3 kilometres of quay length and an extensive rail infrastructure, we have great potential in the middle of Bremen that must be used sensibly and sustainably, maintained and strengthened," says Frank Dreeke.
CONTRACT business division
BLG's CONTRACT division is now active at over 40 locations throughout Germany and the world. BLG has reorganised this division in recent months. In future, the locations and countries will be managed in a regional structure and the topics of technology and sustainability will be more firmly anchored in the organisation. This reorganisation has come at the right time, as the negative effects of the multi-crises also pose a major challenge for this division. However, BLG's Contract Logistics expects a very reasonable result for 2022. This underlines that the strategic orientation of this division in particular makes sense.
With the "C3 Bremen", BLG commissioned a lighthouse project in the last quarter of 2022 that sets standards in terms of economy, ecology and social issues. "C3" stands for the terms "customer", "climate" and "comfort". The new logistics property in the GVZ Bremen is a pioneer in terms of climate protection. In addition to an above-average insulated building envelope, there will be a photovoltaic system on the entire roof area, a solar thermal system and an air source heat pump.
CONTAINER / EUROGATE division
Competition for container volumes is getting tougher all the time. This year, for example, handling volumes at all German EUROGATE terminals have fallen short of expectations. Extremely high storage fees, however, more than compensate for this fact. However, these warehousing fees are special effects and therefore positive, but only temporary. This is no basis for sustainable success, Dreeke emphasised: "The industry is experiencing structural and permanent changes. The further implementation of transformation measures for a stable future of EUROGATE is and will therefore remain indispensable."
Fit for the future in a volatile market
"At BLG LOGISTICS, we have taken advantage of the opportunities presented to us in the pandemic and initiated many changes that make us robust, adaptable and fit for the future - even in times of multi-crises. Given the multitude of challenges, this is a respectable achievement. However, we also know that economic uncertainties will continue to increase in 2023 – and we are preparing very intensively for them. The energy crisis, inflation and shortage of skilled workers are putting a noticeable strain on the German economy. In order to meet these challenges, we are continuing to tackle topics such as flexibility, digitalisation, automation and sustainability with full force," said Frank Dreeke at the end of his statement at the state press conference Ports 2022.