A look back on 2013: Ti’s top logistics briefs

Change among leading global logistics providers was the theme in Ti’s 2013 top logistics briefs. This is due to the “new environment” in which the logistics industry now faces. Changes in demand for manufacturing and manufacturing locations, shifts in trade lanes, the rise of emerging markets and e-commerce have all had major impacts on logistics providers. As noted in Ti’s press release for its 2013 Contract Logistics report, a new mindset is needed to compete. As such, in 2013, leading global logistics providers witnessed changes in executive management, changes in finances, changes in service solutions and changes in acquisitions.

Among the top 2013 Ti briefs were CEO announcements from Kuehne + Nagel (#4) and Panalpina (#5). After over 40 years of employment with Kuehne + Nagel including CEO since 2009, Reinhard Lange resigned his position in early 2013. In August, the company announced Dr. Detlef Trefzger as CEO. Previously Dr. Trefzger served on Kuehne + Nagel’s board and was responsible for the contract and integrated logistics group. Serving 9 years as CEO, Monika Ribar stepped down as Panalpina’s CEO. Former Kuehne + Nagel board member, Peter Ulber was soon announced as Panalpina’s new CEO.

As the ninth most read brief in 2013, FedEx announced cuts in senior management as part of its plan to restructure and right-size its Express network due to declines in airfreight. Crediting these cuts and restructuring, the company reported double-digit gains in profit and improving profit margins by the end of 2013.

Financial struggles also made the top ten briefs for the year. Concerns at CEVA made the top 10 list twice at #6 and #3 as the company announced restructuring of debt and also dispelling rumors of financial instability via a Ti interview in May. Meanwhile, with ongoing senior management restructuring and its CEO retiring, Kuehne + Nagel’s annual earnings proved slightly disappointing. As noted in the #2 most read brief, “Kuehne + Nagel have been fully affected by the fall–off in world trade over the past 12 months”.

At #7, DHL Freight introduced its premium less–than–truckload service” called Eurapid. Targeting shippers, who have shifted towards more economical services, the new service may pose an additional threat to TNT Express which has also had to adapt to this shift to less expensive services.

Mergers and acquisitions is always a popular topic. At #10, discussion of a possible merger between Hapag-Lloyd and Hamburg Sud and also possibly NOL was noted in a German newspaper interview with Klaus-Michael Kuehne. Since the March brief, a merger between the three companies had yet to materialize. Recently it was announced that Hapag-Lloyd was in talks with CSAV for a possible merger.

The #1 most read brief was Ti’s breaking news of the termination of the UPS acquisition of TNT Express. In fact, the topic was also Ti’s #8th most read brief as Ti cited the termination as a blow to free markets. Since the termination of its acquisition attempt, UPS has gone on to acquire Cemelog, a Hungarian-based healthcare logistics company as well as to extend its UPS Access Points e-commerce solution further into Europe. Meanwhile, TNT Express has restructured, announcing its intention to focus more on Europe and has sold its domestic Chinese road operations* and announced intentions to also sell its Latin American road network.

What may 2014 have in store for the logistics market? Stay tuned as Ti looks at the possibilities in next week’s e-newsletter.

Ti’s Top 10 Briefs for 2013

10. Klaus-Michael’s vision of the new shipping giant (3/11/2013)

9. FedEx cuts senior management positions (2/8/2013)

8. UPS/TNT decision a blow to free markets (1/14/2013)

7. DHL Freight unveils threat to TNT Express (9/4/2013)

6. Extensive CEVA restructuring in the face of weaker markets (4/5/2013)

5. Monika Ribar to step down as Panalpina CEO (4/3/2013)

4. Kuehne + Nagel CEO to step down (3/4/2013)

3. CEVA condemns outrageous distress rumours (5/3/2013)

2. Kuehne + Nagel under pressure (3/4/2013)

1. UPS to terminate planned acquisition of TNT Express (1/14/2013)

*Note: This brief was amended on January 7, 2014, following notification of a factual error.