In this interview, AsstrA EU Regional Director Andrzej Iwanow-Kołakowski describes current logistics market conditions.
The current state of the transport industry is a result of events taking place over the last two years. During the Covid-19 crisis, logistics was revolutionized. Almost overnight, supply chains around the world were disrupted. The transport industry had to find its footing in the face of challenges like intensified border controls, blocked ports, and soaring freight rates. And just as things appeared to be returning to normal, it was hit by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, inflation, and rising fuel prices. These latest factors are enough to cause a significant crisis, let alone what came before.
The logistics sector is always where global economic changes are first visible. The current situation is difficult, but there is no need to panic. In Europe the industry is broad and deep, and a good logistics company can always find new customers in it.
Based on our recent financial results, we can see that clients have been exploring new routes not only with in the EU but also to the Middle East and Asia. We recorded 16% more orders for transport between the Czech Republic to Germany, 487% more between France and Turkey, 343% more between China and Turkey, 248% more between China and Germany, and 52% more between Germany and Romania.
Orders are up for every transport mode we offer. Compared to 2021, in 2022 we had 17% more sea freight orders, 30% more air freight orders, 68% more rail freight orders, and 22% more road freight orders.
And regarding our customers themselves, we see greater demand for our services from a variety of countries, including Singapore, Japan, Brazil and Canada.
We must remember that the jump in the prices of raw materials, fuels, energy, and other items drives wages and operating costs higher. Increased demand makes it possible to pass most of these costs on to the customer, but to maintain balance we are constantly working on process optimization and innovative solutions. Since the beginning of the year we have opened new branches in Germany, Georgia, Bulgaria, and Spain. We have also added space at our warehouse. We are aiming to shorten supply chains and, as a natural consequence, generate additional savings for customers. The growing popularity of e-commerce, nearshoring production closer to Europe, and the just-in-case warehouse inventory management model point to continued growth in the logistics industry even if market conditions are challenging.
For the European economy and the entire transport industry, there are serious obstacles as well as exciting opportunities. Trade with eastern markets is down, but other markets have great potential.
AsstrA's turnover for the first half of 2022 amounted to EUR 243 million, 27% higher vs. 2021. The corporate group’s gross profits increased by 117% on a total of 85,000 shipments executed during the first six months of the year.
Author: Aneta Kowalczyk.