Logistics industry proves strength in the corona crisis

Challenges in times of crisis show just how systemically relevant the transport and logistics industry is: The industry is closing its ranks and proves strength during the corona pandemic.

Foto: Shutterstock - Travel mania

In 2018, the global logistics market reached a total value of 5.5 trillion euros. Photo: Shutterstock – Travel mania

Whether at the supermarket or in the digital shopping cart: the required product is available with a single grasp or click. What was taken for granted before the global crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on a new significance in the eyes of consumers. Many only become aware of how valuable the generally invisible logistical processes running in the background are in times of crisis. A functioning logistics system is necessary for everything to run smoothly and to ensure the availability of goods, spare parts, means of production, and much more.

Foto: Shutterstock - welcomia

Truck drivers ensure a supply of daily consumer goods. Photo: Shutterstock – welcomia

In 2018, the global logistics market reached a total value of 5.5 trillion euros, making it one of the most important sectors of the economy. Nevertheless, the transport and logistics industry led a rather shadowy existence before the crisis. However, truck drivers, for example, who always ensure a supply of daily consumer goods, have quickly become part of the #UnsungHeroes celebrated not only in social media.

The logistics industry is confident

After a strong financial year in 2019, which brought with it a transaction of goods and merchandise worth almost 130 billion euros worldwide in the transport and logistics sector, an increase of 19 percent compared to 2018, expectations for the current year are rather pessimistic. In an annual cross-industry survey (“Annual Global CEO Survey”) conducted by the consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers among nearly 1,600 senior executives from 83 regions worldwide, only 27 percent said they were “very confident” – the last time such a low figure was recorded was in 2009.

Klemens Rethmann, Chairman of the Board of the Rhenus Group. Photo: Rhenus/Rethmann

But even though the challenges are great and the situation must be reassessed almost daily, the logistics sector is confident – despite the crisis not leaving it unscathed, either. People working in logistics are used to dealing with challenges and finding individual solutions outside of crises, says Klemens Rethmann, Chairman of the Board of the Rhenus Group, which employs over 33,000 people at 750 locations around the world. “They’re experienced, react calmly, and don’t give up, but develop new ways of working.”

The industry seems to be closing ranks, because vehicle manufacturers and their associated services also play an important role in a smoothly functioning transport and logistics chain. Peter Hornig, Managing Director of Scania Germany Austria, explains: “The employees in our workshops are currently making a very special contribution by keeping the trucks running and society supplied. We’re grateful that they’re able to do their job in this exceptional situation.”

Start-ups: contribution in the crisis

However, not only established companies but start-ups are also making their contribution to support the industry. Sinfioo from Potsdam, for example, has been offering its OnTime Navigator free of charge for three months since the beginning of April 2020. With this service, logistics companies can better track road freight transport processes and react to unexpected developments in the course of transport. Another example of cohesion is the Warehousing1 platform. The Berlin-based start-up has specialized in the online brokerage of storage space. Through Warehousing1, organizations acting in a non-profitable way during the COVID-19 crisis are given the opportunity to store up to 100 Euro pallets of relief goods free of charge. Lufthansa Cargo is also taking unconventional international paths. To compensate for the loss of freight capacity due to the lack of passenger flights, passenger aircraft are being used to transport freight. According to the company, seats and parts of cabin equipment were removed for this purpose, enabling an additional 35 weekly cargo flights from Germany and Austria to Asia since Easter. Each aircraft can transport an average of around 30 tons. With these and other, sometimes unconventional, measures, the transport and logistics industry continues to ensure that your reach into supermarket shelves doesn’t come up empty.

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