No prosperity without global trade
CEO Frank Appel
CEO Dr. Frank Appel on the key sector of globalization and the importance of the Leipzig/Halle hub for DHL
Mr. Appel, the new air freight hub at the Leipzig/Halle Airport is considered to be one of the most modern of its kind in the world. It has also made it the busiest DHL hub in Europe and you have said that you expect further growth. What is the basis for your optimism?
Appel: For years now, the growth of world trade has been outpacing the growth of the global economy. The World Trade Organization has determined that goods valued at more than $12 trillion were exported last year. At the turn of the millennium, the volume was just $6.5 trillion. In this global process, logistics is one of the key drivers and must go through a process of evolution at the same time. The business location of Germany clearly reflects logistics' true significance.
It has a high level of significance, no doubt?
Appel: A very high level indeed. The logistics sector in Germany is the second largest besides mechanical engineering. It generates revenue of about 170 billion euros and employs about 2.6 million people - that is nearly every 12th worker in Germany. This means one thing: no prosperity without global trade. And this trend will continue. In order to be a top team in the logistics champions' league, our Group needs a competitive air hub in Europe for DHL's international network.
You sound very confident about the future of global freight shipping.
Appel: Rightfully so. All I have to do is to take a close look at fundamental economic figures. World trade climbed 7 percent in 2007. But the world economy grew 4.9 percent during the same period. The World Bank is forecasting 7.4 percent growth in world trade for the current fiscal year but only 4.9 percent growth for the economy. It is hardly wishful thinking to expect this positive trend to continue in the years ahead. Thanks to the new hub in Leipzig/Halle, we are in the best position possible to meet the challenges awaiting the world of logistics.
What were the reasons for building the new hub in eastern Germany?
Appel: The new hub at the Leipzig/Halle Airport provides even faster connections to the most important growth markets in the entire world. This competitive edge is our trump card in globalized trade. Express speed and efficiency are the critical factors of this business. We can offer both of these benefits to our customers much better from Leipzig/Halle than we could from the former European hub in Brussels. From a long-range perspective, we had too little capacity there to handle the steadily growing shipping volume in express European air shipping. With our decision for Leipzig/Halle, we also want to make a statement about Germany as a business location. Not least of all, DHL has laid the foundation for an economic upswing in the entire region and is offering a future to many people.
Could you be more specific about the benefits for customers generated by the Leipzig/Halle location?
Appel: I'd be glad to. The central job of the Leipzig/Halle air hub will be to shorten the intercontinental flying times of our planes. This means one thing: Shipments that are picked up as late as the afternoon in metropolitan areas of Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Italy can be delivered on the next day to all global business addresses of our customers. Beyond that, we've added new destinations to our flight plan. And, the proximity to the newest, fast-growing EU member countries - to all of Eastern Europe, in fact - is a true competitive advantage.
In addition to technology, other impressive aspects of the hub are environmental protection and sustainability. What do you think of this new approach?
Appel: It is extremely important to me! A CEO running the world's largest logistics group must lead the way in these areas. My Board of Management colleagues and I have already done this on a broad scale. With our Group program GoGreen, we have become the sector's first company to set a specific, measurable environmental protection goal. And we know that our employees and our customers think highly of it.