The air, ocean and overland freight forwarder

Our air, ocean and overland freight forwarding services include standardised transports as well as multimodal and sector-specific solutions, together with customised industrial projects, which our around 43,000 employees in over 150 countries deliver for more than 175,000 customers. Our business model is based upon brokering transport services between customers and freight carriers. The global reach of our network allows us to offer efficient routing and multimodal transport options. Compared with the Group's other divisions, our operating business model is asset-light.

Impacts of the pandemic

The global forwarding market also felt the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, and suffered a considerable drop in volumes, whilst capacity shortages particularly in air freight caused freight rates to increase, at times considerably.

According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), this resulted in a 10.6 % decrease in total freight tonne kilometres flown worldwide in the year under review. The ocean freight market also registered a drop in volumes in 2020. A number of key distribution points experienced congestion and delays as freight carriers attempted to adjust capacity to match market demand and avoid major capacity surpluses.

The European road transport market also suffered as a result of the pandemic, with order volumes falling sharply, particularly in the first half of 2020. Figures increasingly recovered towards the end of the year thanks to the relaxation in COVID-19 regulations.

DHL Global Forwarding

Market leadership maintained amidst volume declines

The pandemic was the main reason for the decline. We remained the market leader in 2019 with around 1.9 million tonnes of export air freight transported, as shown in the following graphic.

Ocean freight market also reports volume declines

With around 3.2 million twenty-foot equivalent units transported, we remained the second-largest provider of ocean freight services in 2019, as shown in the following graphic.

Systematic collection of customer feedback

In the Global Forwarding business unit, we systematically record customer feedback by calculating Net Promotor scores and conducting annual surveys of customer satisfaction. The feedback collected during the reporting period indicated steady improvements in customer satisfaction at a high level. In addition, we improved our workflows to enable us to address the issues brought up by customers in a faster and more targeted manner.

DHL Freight

European road transport market position further strengthened

In 2019, DHL was able to further strengthen its market position within the European road transport market in this fragmented and competitive environment.

Systematic collection of customer feedback

In the Freight business unit, we sought feedback from our customers in more than thirty countries in 2020. Based upon the information received, we defined initiatives aimed at steadily improving our products and services. Going forward, we will receive customer feedback reports linked to specific cases on an even more regular basis. Digital sales channels such as Saloodo!, our freight quotation tool and our customer portal in Sweden help us reach new customer segments and increase efficiency. We now offer our premium Eurapid product as a sustainable solution whereby carbon offsets are offered for each customer shipment at no additional charge. We also made additional improvements to end-to-end service quality throughout our network.