07-08/2013 Flexible and creative
The new year is relatively young, and the world remains in the same state of upheaval as ever. A virulent civil war whose end no one would dare to predict is keeping people from progress and development in Syria, there is continuing unrest in Egypt and Tunisia, and war in the multi-ethnic state of Mali may yet turn out to be another powder keg with a short fuse.
What have been the momentous events of 2013 in the big wide world of transport and logistics? The most notable occurrence – and simultaneously the biggest surprise – was the calling off by the EU’s directorate general for competition of what would probably have been the biggest industry merger ever between the world’s largest parcel service provider UPS and its competitor TNT Express. Of course, there were substantial concerns raised about this union of giants from the beginning, but no one earnestly banked on the merger of the two heavyweights not coming about in the end.
In the aviation sector the mishaps encountered by the most modern and energy-efficient aircraft ever to have been built – Boeing’s Dreamliner – has been the talking point of the year so far. There hasn’t been a long-haul B787 aircraft plying its trade in the skies since 17 January, on account of serious safety concerns. There is a silver lining for the US aircraft maker, however – test flights have resumed.
The maritime shipping industry continues to hold its breath about the on/off merger between the two German lines Hamburg Süd and Hapag-Lloyd. There is positive news in the maritime sector too, with the port of Marseille, for example, reporting a record result in its container segment, and the Taiwanese shipping line Evergreen launching a new Mediterranean service in these hardly promising times.
The bottom line, however, is this – even if the prospects for the logistics industry aren’t exactly rosy these days, as uncertain economic developments and low margins are depressing the business, it nevertheless does not need to be all too concerned in the long term, thanks to its fabled flexibility. The industry is an indispensable cog in the economic wheel, for without transportation and the distribution of supplies the modern world would stand still. In these turbulent times, above all, forwarders and logisticians are the flexible and creative guarantors of survival.