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DACHSER expands its global network

After the economic boom in logistics resulting from the coronavirus pandemic and worldwide disruptions in supply chains, normalcy returned to the industry in 2023.

DACHSER was among those whose financial year was marked by weak demand for logistics services in the face of significant overcapacity and a sharp decline in air and sea freight rates.

As a result, group revenue decreased to around EUR 7.1 billion, 12.5 percent down compared to the previous year. Transported volumes fell by 4.6 percent to approximately 77.4 million shipments, while tonnage decreased by 6.5 percent to around 40.0 million metric tons.

“Against the backdrop of an ailing global economy and a challenging market environment, supply chains were under considerably less strain in 2023, which allowed us to focus on improving productivity, capacity utilization, and quality. At the same time, we made considerable investments in the expansion of our networks,” says Burkhard Eling, CEO of DACHSER.

Compared to the last pre-crisis year 2019, turnover in 2023 was over 25 percent higher. At that time, DACHSER had reported turnover of around EUR 5.7 billion.

In 2023, the company made strategic acquisitions and established new joint ventures in the Netherlands (Müller Fresh Food Logistics), Australia and New Zealand (ACA International), Japan (50% joint venture DACHSER Japan), Italy (80% joint venture DACHSER & Fercam Italia), South Africa (100% share acquisition DACHSER South Africa), and Sweden (Frigoscandia). Of these, only the acquisitions in the Netherlands and Oceania in the first half of the year are reflected in the revenue figures for 2023.

“In 2023, we deliberately took a countercyclical and farsighted approach to investments: we completed our European groupage network in Italy with the third-largest acquisition of our company history. We tapped key food logistics markets in the Benelux and Nordic countries. Moreover, we now have our own locations in the large overseas markets of Japan and Australia,” Eling says.

Given the conservative economic forecasts, DACHSER still expects low volumes and only slight revenue growth in 2024.

“In pursuit of our goal of becoming the world’s most integrated logistics provider, we are continuing to invest in expanding and enhancing our networks, in digitalization, in climate action, and of course in our employees,” Eling says. In 2023, DACHSER invested more than EUR 244 million; it plans to increase this figure to over EUR 500 million in 2024.

DACHSER’s Road Logistics business field—which comprises the transport and warehousing of industrial and consumer goods (European Logistics) and food (Food Logistics)—increased its revenue by 1.8 percent to EUR 5.8 billion in 2023. By way of contrast, the number of shipments fell by 4.7 percent and transported tonnage by 6.5 percent.
The European Logistics business line generated revenue of EUR 4.4 billion, roughly on a level with the record year of 2022. Business was good across European business units, with Iberia coming out on top with a revenue increase of more than 2 percent. Shipment numbers and tonnage declined overall due to Germany’s weak economy, which also had a negative impact on the close-knit countries in the North Central Europe region.

The Food Logistics business line also had a successful financial year in 2023, recording a 9.7 percent increase in revenue to EUR 1.4 billion. This jump in revenue stemmed from positive business development at branches in Germany as well as from inorganic growth through the acquisition of Müller Fresh Food Logistics in the Netherlands and the purchase of the remaining shares in DACHSER Hungary. In total, DACHSER Food Logistics transported 10.9 million shipments, slightly more than in the previous year, while tonnage fell by 3.8 percent.

In the Air & Sea Logistics business field, the combination of weak demand and substantially more capacity in air and sea freight had a profound effect. Plummeting freight rates were responsible for a drop in revenue of 46.3 percent—compared to 2022—to EUR 1.3 billion. The number of shipments rose by 2.4 percent, while tonnage fell by 7.9 percent.
Contract Logistics—a combination of transport, warehousing, and customer-specific value-added services—also underwent large-scale expansion in 2023. DACHSER invested in additional capacity during the year and increased the number of pallet spaces to just under 400,000. DACHSER now offers a total of more than 3 million pallet spaces across 164 warehouse locations on five continents.

Looking to the future, Eling announced that DACHSER will focus even more on closely integrating the Road Logistics and Air & Sea business fields. “In the coming years, significant growth impetus will come from markets outside Europe. In order to continue serving our customers worldwide with high quality and reliability, we are linking the processes and systems of our two business fields even more closely together in order to develop an integrated global, door-to-door groupage solution that we call ‘Global Groupage’.”

In 2023, DACHSER’s workforce grew by more than 1,100 people to a total of approximately 34,000. This is a reflection of the expansion of sales and IT teams, as well as the acquisitions of Müller Fresh Food Logistics and ACA International.