DHL global trade barometer suggests softening of trade flows

The DHL Global Trade Barometer suggests a slight contraction of global trade for the next three months. The barometer showed an overall drop in the world trade outlook by minus eight points, with the barometer at 48.

The DHL barometer suggests a mild drop in global trade in the coming months. This decline was driven by major losses for air and containerised-ocean trade, two of the Global Trade Barometer’s main constituents. Air trade contracted by minus six to 49, while containerised-ocean trade by minus eight to 48.

The trend matches a general downward trend that has been recorded on the barometer for several quarters since mid-2018.

Commenting on the latest forecast, Tim Scharwath, CEO of DHL Global Forwarding, Freight, said: “Amidst rising US-Chinese tensions, the slightly negative outlook for global trade for the third quarter of 2019 does not come as a complete surprise. The latest GTB clearly illustrates why trade disputes create no winners. Nevertheless, some major economies such as Germany continue to record positive trade growth. And from a year-to-date perspective, world trade growth has still been positive. Hence, we remain confident in our initial prognosis that 2019 will be a year with overall positive, but slower trade growth.” With respect to the implications for Deutsche Post DHL Group, Tim Scharwath further explained: “The GTB is a useful tool for us to anticipate economic developments at an early stage. We are well-prepared to tackle the forecasted developments. Our divisional structure and portfolio as well as our worldwide activities allow us to balance economic effects within the company and remain resilient to changes in global trade dynamics.”

Eswar S. Prasad, Professor of Trade Policy and Economics at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, USA, comments: “Growth is weakening in the key drivers of the world economy. Most macroeconomic and labor market indicators point to a cooling of U.S. growth and financial market sentiment has been hurt by trade tensions. The Chinese government’s stimulus measures appeared to be stabilizing growth, but persistent trade tensions are again dragging down growth momentum in China. The German growth revival looks fragile while India’s growth has hit the skids, with rising doubts about the prospects of major economic reforms. A synchronized slowdown of the world’s major economies could affect trade volumes, if the uncertainty continues to dampen consumer demand and business investment.” 


Dip freight forwarder executives imprisoned for price fixing

Two executives from the US freight forwarding company, Louisiana based Dip Shipping have been imprisoned by the US District Court in Miami for their part in price fixing international freight forwarding services.

In a statement, the Department of Justice said: “Roberto Dip and Jason Handal were charged with fixing prices in June 2018, and pleaded guilty in November 2018.  A magistrate judge in Miami ordered Dip detained pending trial; he served over five months in jail before being released on bond.”

The statement added that Dip, the company’s president and CEO, and Handal, the company’s manager, “organized meetings throughout the United States where they reached agreements with their competitors to fix the prices for freight forwarding services provided in the United States and elsewhere from at least as early as September 2010 until at least March 2015”.

Dip got 18 months with credit for time served, while Handal got 15 months. Both had to pay a $20,000 criminal fine and are to be given three years’ supervised release on coming out of jail.

“These defendants’ conduct raised freight-forwarding prices by as much 20%, victimising vulnerable consumers and individuals sending gifts and household goods to family members and loved ones for holidays,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division. “Today’s sentences reflect the significant harm that the defendants caused, and should send a message to other would-be price-fixers that this crime will not go unpunished.”

This is part of an ongoing investigation into price fixing in the international freight forwarding industry by the Antitrust Division Washington Criminal I Section and the FBI’s New Orleans Division.


Northwards invests in new transportation depot

Scottish 3PL provider Northwards has announced it is to build a new 20,000 square foot transportation depot in Aberdeen. Northwards has partially raised the £2 million funding through the Royal Bank of Scotland, that contributed £800,000.

The new facility is located and will supplement the existing unit at Aberdeen Harbour. It is a significant investment for Northwards and is part of its expansion strategy: “The acquisition of a new transportation depot is an important step in our expansion and we’re grateful to Royal Bank of Scotland for supporting our investment. The new facility will enable us to continue to enhance and grow the portfolio of services available to our customers while creating new jobs for the surrounding areas,” said Northwards managing director Michael Porter.


Matthew Greenway joins Europa Air & Sea

Matthew Greenway has joined Europa Air & Sea as its Pricing and Procurement Manager. The company is a division of Europa Worldwide Group.

With Greenway in post the plan is for him to review the overarching strategy and work closely with suppliers to drive efficiencies into Europa Air & Sea through better working relationships.

Greenway has worked in the logistics and supply chain industry for more than 13 years. Amongst his previous roles he has been Sea Freight Manager.

Matthew Greenway, Pricing and Procurement Manager for Europa Air & Sea, commented: “Joining the team at Europa is like a homecoming for me. It’s where I feel my skill set is best suited and allows me to work within an environment where I can excel. With the division experiencing continued growth, the team has a positive future ahead so it’s a really exciting time. My focus will be on developing the strategy and working with the teams to put this to action. Reviewing the customer and supplier journey forms part of this strategy as we strive to deliver best in class customer service whilst also being a good company to do business with. We will continue to operate with our core values and strategy which will prove an enabler to drive the division forward in 2019 and beyond.”

Angus Hind, Europa Air & Sea Director, commented: “We are delighted to welcome Matthew to the team and know his wealth of experience and knowledge will be of huge benefit to us, strengthening our team further. The division’s success over the past few years is responsible for the continued investment in its growth. Creating this new position within the pricing and procurement team is essential, as it creates an opportunity for us to think ahead and focus on our long-term strategy, allowing us to continue to build on our firm foundations as we go into a new year.”

It has been four years since Europa centralised its Air service in Heathrow and its Sea service in Birmingham.

Angus continued: “The continued investment in our services, facilities and staff shows our drive to gain further market share. We’ve seen a steady increase in UK exports for both Air and Sea Freight which is not only fantastic for us, but also a positive reflection on the UK manufacturing industry as a whole.



Ocado opens on-site CNG fuelling station

Grocery delivery and distribution centre outsourcing specialist Ocado has invested £3 million in an onsite natural gas fuelling station at its Hatfield Customer Fulfilment Centre. The company believes that this will reduce its HGV fleet’s CO2 emissions by 29% annually.

Ocado has 29 CNG powered HGVs. Some 20% of the company’s fleet now has alternative fuel powering the vehicles.

The refuelling station was designed by Gasrec. The businesses have agreed a 10-year support and maintenance contract and Ocado plans to invest in natural gas technology at future sites.

“By investing in gas-powered vehicles, and in our first onsite refuelling station, we’re future-proofing our fleet and our business,” said Ocado fleet services manager, Graham Thomas. “Emissions from CNG are cleaner than Euro VI standards which start to take effect with the London Low Emissions Zone from April, and will soon be followed by a further 32 Clean Air Zones.”

Switching to alternative is part of Ocado’s plan to become more carbon efficient and being UK’s most environmentally-responsible supermarket.


Fashion industry commits to decarbonising supply chains

The UN backed Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action has been signed by more than 40 leading fashion companies. The charter is designed to drive the decarbonisation of the fashion supply chain.

Companies signing up include, Burberry, Stella McCartney, Inditex, adidas, Levi Strauss, H&M, Target and the Otto Group.

“We are aware that more than 90 per cent of PUMA’s Carbon Footprint is being generated in shared supply chains. If we want to reduce carbon emissions in our supply chains, we need to work together with our industry peers,” said Bjørn Gulden, chief executive of PUMA, another of the signatories to the charter.

The signatories have committed to reducing their aggregate greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent by 2030.

The charter is aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement, and contains the vision for the industry to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

It defines issues that will be addressed by signatories, ranging from decarbonisation of the production phase, selection of climate friendly and sustainable materials, low-carbon transport, improved consumer dialogue and awareness, working with the financing community and policymakers to catalyse scalable solutions, and exploring circular business models.

“Climate change is undoubtedly one of, if not, the biggest challenge of our lifetime. It is and will affect everyone on this planet and our future,” said designer Stella McCartney. “This is why I am proud to be a signatory of the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action. I want to call on my peers in the business, from other brands to retailers and suppliers, to sign up to this charter now and take the necessary actions to address the reality of the issue of climate change in their business and value chains. Collectively we have a voice and the capacity to make a difference.”


Palstore targets 3PL

Hixon, Staffordshire based Air & Ground Aviation has announced that it is to move into 3PL logistics using its new brand Palstore as the company attempts to reach beyond its traditional aviation market.

The company has recently completely renovated its warehouse. Director Ian Dodds said: “We wanted to maximise the capability of our storage and logistics services out into the UK, but we felt that the Air & Ground Aviation name is very aviation driven, and could send mixed signals. PalStore is exactly what the service is; Pallet Storage, meaning we can approach a much wider audience.”

The Palstore business worked entirely into the aviation business for many years but it has been rebranded and set up as a separate business. It now offers a tailored approach to storage solutions, as well as picking and packing, and even arranging the transport of goods.

As part of the warehouse refurbishment a climate controlled area was put in that will serve customers with environmentally sensitive goods. The service is now open to all third party businesses.


DHL Freight gets ISO 50001 energy certification

As part of Deutsche Post DHL Group’s Mission 2050 objective to decarbonise its transport, DHL Freight has now received external certification of its global management system which confirms its high standards in quality, environmental and energy management.  The certification is based on ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 50001. Some 88 of its branches have certification to date with the plan for all branches worldwide to have the same done by 2020.

“DEKRA has now confirmed what we sought to achieve when we introduced our global management system: We are moving successfully towards our clean energy goals and the quality demands we set for ourselves in our DHL Freight Strategy 2020. Rather than being mutually exclusive, economic success and sustainability are decisive cornerstones on our way becoming the undisputed market leader in the road freight business,” states Uwe Brinks, CEO DHL Freight.

DEKRA is an independent provider of certifications that surveys and audits corporate quality, environmental and energy standards. In a first wave of audits, 88 branches and service partners received the ISO 50001 (Energy Management) as well as the ISO 9001 (Quality Management) and ISO 14001 (Environmental Management) certification. By 2020, DHL Freight plans to have all branches and service partners worldwide to be audited and certified by DEKRA. These certifications affirm DHL’s continuous efforts to increase standards and improve operational practices.

The ISO 50001 matrix certification for responsible energy management, a rarity in the sector of global logistics, confirms DHL’s compliance with the EU Energy Efficiency Directive as well as the zero emissions commitment Deutsche Post DHL Group set for itself with Mission 2050.

“Our customers can rest assured that DHL Freight fully complies with strict international quality, environmental and energy guidelines. However, this matrix certification also demonstrates clearly the commitment of all functions and divisions to our Freight 2020 strategy and its consistent execution,” declares Thomas Vogel, COO DHL Freight.

Deutsche Post DHL plans to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 under its Mission 2050 target. With the launch of the GoGreen program in 2008 DHL was the first global logistics company to set a quantifiable climate protection target.


Wuhan to Dartford route improved by Davies Turner

Freight forwarder Davies Turner has introduced a more direct LCL rail route from Wuhan in China to the UK.

Until Davies Turner improved the service, containers have gone from Wuhan via Kazakhstan and Belarus to Warsaw from where UK consignments were transhipped and trucked via Dover to Davies Turner’s hub in Dartford.

The new route now takes them from Wuhan to Duisburg in Germany where they are moved by truck to Rotterdam and then by ferry to Purfleet near Dartford. This reduces the time from Wuhan rail hub to Dartford depot transit time to between 22 and 24 days.

Tony Cole, head of supply chain services, says: “This new more direct method of moving the container from Wuhan to the UK will remove the current need to unload the container in Poland, then reload into a trailer, which will enable us to offer a lower rate to the market, and reduce the possibility of delays, as well as strengthening security.”


Clipper profits up 16% thanks to e-fulfilment

Clipper Logistics saw operating profits grow by 16% in the first half. This was driven by a strong performance in e-fulfilment and returns management.

Revenue at Clipper in the six months to 31 October grew 14.1% to £227.9 million. EBIT went up 16.1% to £10.7 million.

Chairman Steve Parkin said: “The group continues to be exceptionally well-placed to benefit from the continuing migration to online retailing and the increasing propensity for consumers to choose click-and-collect services when placing orders online.

“Our recent contract wins, including Sports Direct and an extended relationship with Halfords, provide significant earnings momentum into the second half of the current financial year and beyond.

“We are excited about the future growth of our European operations, as the contracts with s.Oliver, ASOS and Westwing evolve.”

Parkin concluded, “Clicklink is now well-positioned to enhance group earnings, with new clients being introduced to the network, and enhanced rates having been agreed with key customers as the benefits of using the service become evident to retailers.”

Looking ahead, the company said in its trading statement: “Trading continues to perform well in the early part of the second half of the year, underpinned by a strong business development pipeline with varying scales and at various stages of progression, albeit with the majority not scheduled to start until the financial year commencing 1 May 2019.”

Clipper and its market are covered in our recent report: UK e-fulfilment: Market Insight Report 2018-19