“2018 was a successful year overall for the BLG Group – while challenges certainly arose, there were also many good news stories,” stated BLG CEO Frank Dreeke at the Bremen State Press Conference on Ports on December 17 in Bremen.
By year-end the network operated by BLG’s AUTOMOBILE division will have handled, transported and technically processed 6.5 million vehicles, including around 2.2 million cars in Bremerhaven. Having successfully renewed its contract with its client Tchibo, BLG LOGISTICS secured a total of some 3,000 jobs for several years at its Bremen site in the contract logistics sector. In the CONTAINER division, represented by EUROGATE, the situation improved slightly overall in 2018 year on year.
In keeping with tradition, Frank Dreeke turned his attention first to Bremerhaven. Through the end of the year, the handling volume at BLG AutoTerminal Bremerhaven will reach around 2.2 million vehicles. Higher vehicle numbers and longer holding times, as well as less frequent sailings, have occasionally placed a strain on the 240hectare site this year.
Across the entire AUTOMOBILE network, with its sea port and inland terminals and car shipments by road, rail and inland waterway, the 2018 handling volume will total around 6.5 million vehicles. In 2017 the number of vehicles handled, transported and technically processed by the same BLG division was 6.3 million. By rail and road the BLG Group transported close to 2.2 million vehicles in total. According to BLG CEO Frank Dreeke, “We could improve the utilization of our truck capacities still further if we did not have to contend with the ever-present shortage of drivers. As a countermeasure, we are placing a growing emphasis on training our own.”
60,000 parcels a day in the Christmas trading period
The trend in outsized handling categories has again been positive. In Bremerhaven, where BLG handles not only cars, but also a wide range of High & Heavy cargoes, the company expects to have handled 1.367 million metric tons of freight through year-end, including self-driving construction vehicles and cranes, as well as project cargo such as heavy consignments and complete train systems, which are loaded onto RoRo ships in Bremerhaven. As a result, the all-time record handling volume reported in 2017 (of 1.35 million tons) has again been slightly bettered. At Neustädter Hafen, Bremen’s only all-purpose port and Europe’s largest terminal for general and heavy cargo, BLG has maintained its good performance year on year, despite the US tariffs on steel products, and likewise achieved a slight uptick, to 1.35 million tons.
In July BLG LOGISTICS and its client Tchibo signed a contract extension. Having renewed its contracts with Daimler AG in 2017, the BLG Group has thereby secured around 3,000 jobs in Bremen in its CONTRACT division for a number of years. At present 600 BLG employees work in the central storage, multi-channel order picking, returns and export departments on behalf of Tchibo. In the Christmas trading period up to 60,000 parcels per day are dispatched to consumers. In the auto parts logistics operation at LC Bremen, volumes have risen so strongly that the regular workforce is being further augmented; in the past few months 400 employees have been recruited.
In the CONTAINER division, represented by EUROGATE, the situation improved slightly overall in 2018 year on year. In Hamburg volumes have been rising again since May, while in Bremerhaven they will finish the year on a par with 2017. In Wilhelmshaven growth is expected to exceed 10 percent for the third year in a row. However, the relocation by the shipping company Hapag-Lloyd and its partners in The Alliance of their transatlantic operations from Bremerhaven to Hamburg Altenwerder casts a shadow over prospects for 2019. Frank Dreeke comments, “We will continue to fight to keep some of the business included in the relocated services in Bremerhaven, where it can be picked up by other shipping companies. At the same time we are working very hard on measures to make up for this loss.”