Gebrüder Weiss maintains course in 2023

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Logistics company Gebrüder Weiss invests 187 million euros to expand its global network and leverages its solar power to meet electricity needs in the DACH Region.

The international transport and logistics company Gebrüder Weiss ended its 2023 fiscal year with a net revenue of 2.47 billion euros (2022: 3 billion euros). Despite this decline, the company remains above its growth trend between 2015 and 2020. The coronavirus-related effects of the two previous years did not persist in 2023. At 774 million euros, net revenue in the Air & Sea business area subsequently returned to levels seen in last years.

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Given the higher freight rates shipping lines and airlines charged, Gebrüder Weiss generated 1.27 billion euros in this segment in the previous year. With declining energy and fuel prices, revenue was also stable in the Land Transport and Logistics business areas at 1.45 billion euros (2022: 1.48 billion euros). The equity ratio increased to 63 per cent (2022: 60 per cent), ensuring the company’s ability to handle crises and positioning it as an ideal employer.

“Despite the challenges posed by general economic conditions, we have been able to help our customers enjoy success in their global sales markets with our first-rate service and increase the presence of Gebrüder Weiss with new locations in the USA and Germany. This is due first and foremost to the wholehearted dedication shown by our employees. Geopolitical conflicts and weaker global economic output hurt revenue and transport volumes. Our stable financial situation meant that in 2023, we could still implement a comprehensive investment program to expand both locations and services,” says Wolfram Senger-Weiss, CEO of Gebrüder Weiss. Many projects that had to be postponed due to COVID-19 could now be carried out in 2023.

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Investments in network expansion

With a record investment volume of 187 million euros, Gebrüder Weiss substantially expanded its network in the German and US markets and South-Eastern Europe while investing in customer projects and sustainable energy generation. In Bavaria, in particular, the logistics company consolidated its position through acquisitions and real estate purchases in Bayreuth, Konradsreuth and Nuremberg, as well as the construction of a new freight forwarding terminal in Straubing. The US network was expanded to include Miami and Laredo, Texas locations. Other investment projects included a second location in Bucharest, the enlargement of the logistics terminal in Hungary, and the construction of a new logistics warehouse in Graz and Reutte, Tyrol. As a result of the acquisitions, the number of employees at the 180 locations worldwide increased to 8,600 (2022: 8,400).

At the same time as it works to expand its network, Gebrüder Weiss has also been investing in the digitalisation of supply chain management. Warehouse analysis functions (Warehouse Analytics) have been added to the web-based customer portal myGW. The portal offers transparency along the entire supply chain. It is a central information and communication platform for customers and their global shipments, covering everything from real-time tracking to estimated arrival times (ETA).

North American growth continues

In North America, Gebrüder Weiss continued strategic expansion across the continent with a newly opened office and warehouse in Laredo, Texas, leveraging the largest inland port in North America to provide additional road, air, and sea logistics services for the critical flow of trade between the U.S. and Mexico. Gebrüder Weiss also opened an air and sea freight hub in Miami to facilitate transport between Latin America, Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean and a 106,000-square-foot warehouse in Elgin, Illinois, near the North American headquarters office in Wood Dale, Illinois. On the capabilities front, the team added highly specialised experts in breakbulk and complicated cargo projects and expanded road transport capabilities with new vital hires and complete truckload services. Gebrüder Weiss USA was named a winner in the 2023 Excellence in Customer Service Awards from Business Intelligence Group. Daniela Hendricks, Chief Compliance & Process Officer, was recognised with a Supply & Demand Chain Executive 2023 Pros to Know award.

“2023 was a pivotal year in which we cemented our logistics leadership in nearshoring by opening multiple key locations and bringing in talented leaders to expand our depth of services,” says Mark McCullough, CEO of Gebrüder Weiss USA. “At the same time, our employees continued to receive accolades for the quality of their work, and I appreciate our entire teams’ ongoing efforts to foster a collaborative culture and surpass customer expectations.”

More renewable energies

The company made progress in decarbonizing its own business activities. Three-quarters of the company’s own electricity requirements in the DACH region are already met by its own solar power. In 2023, the logistics expert commissioned nine further photovoltaic systems (PV) in the DACH region and Eastern Europe. A total of 27 PV systems generated 5,850 megawatt hours of electricity, doubling the amount of CO2 emissions saved to 2,750 tons. Gebrüder Weiss has also been helping improve the green credentials of the electricity mix in Germany since 2011 with its wind farm in Northern Germany.

The company’s attention is increasingly on its own vehicle fleet as part of its goal to achieve climate neutrality in the operation of its own assets and trucks by 2030. The logistics company already uses e-vans to deliver goods ordered online to end customers in Austria, Hungary, Croatia, and Romania. Two battery-powered trucks will be launched in Germany this year, and further e-trucks and e-delivery vehicles will be purchased in Austria. To manage the transition period to e-mobility, the company is converting a large part of its own truck fleet in Austria to hydrogenated vegetable oil (HVO).

Following the downturn in global trade and signs of a recession, Gebrüder Weiss expects a slight economic upturn in the second half of 2024, thereby translating into more positive revenue development fed by the success of individual national companies. Wolfram Senger-Weiss noted, “We are now benefiting from the fact that we have a global position and can swiftly respond to economic upturns in individual regions with the necessary local logistics services. At the same time, we see confirmation of our “best of both worlds” strategy. The last few years in particular have shown how important it is to invest in both the development of the operational network and the company’s digital expertise.”

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Author: Anastasiya Simsek