German transport logistics in transition: an assessment by an experienced transport buyer that should not always be taken very seriously

Most fairy tales start with the phrase "Once upon a time" and apparently this phrase also fits the current situation on the German transport market. This article specifically examines the large number of shippers in the areas of groupage, part loads and full loads.

Oh how fondly one remembers the “good old days” as a shipper! You could

Oh yes, those were the great times of the "buyers' market"! But what happened suddenly and unexpectedly that these times are now over?

First of all, politicians wanted to change the framework conditions ecologically; sometimes inland shipping was the lifeline; sometimes it was the rail. However, the problem of these modes of transport in national business was – and is – that the majority of the recipients have neither a rail connection nor their own port... what a pity. After the market for "cheap" forwarders (first it was Benelux forwarders who flooded the German market at low prices, and then forwarders from many Eastern European countries) had "grazed" from abroad, the situation for shippers slowed down closely.

When there were also negative influences driven by the pandemic (e.g. global supply chain disruptions), extremely increasing energy shortages (e.g. due to the Ukraine crisis) and a problem of young talent on the driver market that threatened the existence of the company (e.g. due to the discontinuation of the Bundeswehr as a reliable training company for drivers), the situation became even tighter .

From the "made in bacon" shippers suddenly became "elephants in the desert" with no realistic prospect of eating and drinking and for the forwarding agents the chance suddenly arose, but was expected, to sustainably improve the extremely low margins of the last years and decades, because, for example, one was one of the systemically important sectors due to the pandemic; The toilet paper had to come from somewhere at the beginning of 2020.

But what are the former "top cost savers" in industry and trade doing now?

Well, they must slowly understand that the former buyer's market is now permanently changing into a seller's market. This is shown not least by the current demands of the forwarders when setting the new conditions, where many shippers first had to swallow hard when high 1 - 2-digit percentage points were then put on the table by the forwarders as a basis for negotiation....and that although within the budget the shipper, as actually every year before, cost savings in the transport area were budgeted. Unfortunately, the core task of transport buyers shifted from "Cost - Saving" to "Cost - Avoidance" .... and avoidance unfortunately often means that you are no longer really sitting in the driver's seat.

For me, however, this phase is also finite and, in perspective, finally creates the basis for a goal-oriented interaction with each other. Ultimately, the current obstacles are forcing everyone involved to rethink. From now on at the latest, the following points should come to the fore:

Of course, some rethinking is still required from all those involved in the process, but ultimately this assessment already shows that - even if all the positive and negative aspects mentioned, as well as the new and old ideas are only examples and do not claim to be complete - there are enough opportunities with a little less selfishness and a little more foresight of the overall economic situation, to achieve sustainable optimizations and not necessarily at the expense of costs.

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The partners of Bavaria Consulting have more than 20 years of project experience in the area of ​​supply chain management - purchasing, production / technology and logistics.

Our expertise is cross-industry - food, beverage and pharmaceuticals.

Ihr Ansprechpartner:
Dieter Backhausen

Head of Logistics
Phone+49 89 18908070
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