GLOBAL FORWARDING, FREIGHT Division
The air, ocean and overland freight forwarder
The Global Forwarding and Freight business units are responsible within the Group for air, ocean and overland freight transport. Our freight forwarding services not only include standardised transports but also multimodal and sector-specific solutions as well as individualised industrial projects.
Our business model is asset-light, as it is based upon the brokerage of transport services between our customers and freight carriers. Our global presence ensures network optimisation and the ability to meet the increasing demand for efficient routing and multimodal transports.
The leader in a sluggish air freight market
Growth in the global air freight market was sluggish during 2015 as air cargo volumes remained weak. IATA, the global airline industry association, attributes this development to the decline in trade activities, mostly in emerging markets. Overall, the worldwide freight tonne kilometres flown during the reporting year grew by only 2.2% according to IATA. In light of the weak volume development, the on-going expansion of capacity on the market increased pressure on the industry as commercial airlines again brought more wide-body passenger planes into service. Moreover, the strong peak season volumes seen in the fourth quarter failed to materialise in 2015. Overall, this led to a persistently weak market environment with stiffer competition and increased pressure on margins. After transporting around 2.3 million export freight tonnes in the previous year, we remained the air freight market leader in 2015.
Ocean freight market experiences surplus capacities and low freight rates
In the reporting year, the global ocean freight market saw slight growth again. Overall freight rates remained at a low level on the largest trade lanes. On the particularly important lane between Asia Pacific and Europe, rates remained at an extremely low level. The global market continues to face surplus capacities caused by the introduction of new and larger vessels. Although freight carriers have successfully limited the availability of this additional capacity - either by adjusting travel speeds, through blank sailings or capacity reallocations - low rates still prevailed throughout the market and affected profitability. After transporting 2.9 million twenty-foot equivalent units in the previous year, we remained the second-largest provider of ocean freight services in the reporting year.
Stagnation in European overland freight market
The European road freight market was virtually stagnant in 2015, after seeing slight growth in the prior year. Two opposing factors contributed to this development: a volume increase caused by the slight economic upturn in Europe and the current low oil price no longer supporting market growth as it had previously for years. In what remains a highly competitive environment, DHL was able to perform in line with the market by focussing exclusively upon organic growth.