As volumes on the major east-west trades slow and even decline, logistics providers are beefing up their services in faster-growing intra-regional trades, especially in Asia and Latin America, but even in some corners of Europe.
Dachser, one of the largest European third-party logistics providers, just acquired two Spanish companies, Transunion and Akzar, not because Spain is fast growing — quite the opposite — but because the acquisitions round out the German company’s intra-Europe offerings and give it new capabilities in the more robust trades with Turkey and within Latin America.
“Our Transunion acquisition gives us several additional countries, principally Spain, their headquarters, but also in Turkey, Peru, Argentina and Mexico,” said Frank Guenzerodt, president and CEO of Dachser USA. “From a logistics point of view and for a logistics company looking to expand, those intra-regional trades are important.”
The two acquisitions are part of its growth strategy, Global 2.0, which sets the goal of expanding its presence to 50 countries by 2017 from the 33 countries where it operates at present.
“Intra-Asia and intra-Latin are probably the two largest growth markets, especially in an air-sea focus for a logistics company like us,” Guenzerodt said. Dachser already had a strong organization in Brazil, Chile and Mexico. The Transunion acquisition strengthens its intra-Latin America logistics capabilities, as well as its services to the north-south trade between Latin America and North America.
“We expect the north-south trade to continue to increase, and the intra-regional trade,” Guenzerodt said. The company’s single largest area of focus in Latin America is Brazil, where it has 10 offices and a headquarters in Campinas outside Sao Paulo. “We do all international transportations and are also customs brokers, because Brazil, like India, is one of those red tape markets. So we offer door-to-door solutions, north as well as southbound.”
Dachser, which has annual sales of $5.7 billion, has been opening offices in China, Southeast Asia, India and the Far East by the dozens in the last few years to provide logistics services to the fast-growing intra-Asia trade, already the world’s largest. “Expanding in Asia is becoming a bigger and bigger focus,” Guenzerodt said.
Dachser plans to continue rounding out its service in Europe, especially in areas where it does not have operations currently, such as Italy. Beyond that it is looking at markets that offer promise, such as Africa, where it opened an office in South Africa two years ago. “Long-term we will look at Egypt, but there is a little damper on that in the last couple of years,” he said.