Against all odds

DHL Global Forwarding, Freight Greece in the fast lane despite adverse circumstances The conditions for companies in the Greek market are everything else but good: Gross domestic product has fallen over the past eight years by 25 per cent, every fourth Greek person of working age is unemployed, and on top of that comes the refugee problem. The impact on the logistics industry is severe – the transport market has shrunk by half compared to 2008. But even under such adverse conditions, companies can still grow – DHL Freight Greece increased its 2014 revenue by almost 60 percent since the beginning of the crisis in 2009 and was even able to increase EBIT eightfold compared to 2008. But such counter-cyclical growth was only possible with new ideas. “Instead of simply cutting costs no matter what, we took a more aggressive approach and had a look around for profitable market niches. In addition, we placed a clear emphasis on the DHL brand as the world’s largest logistics provider, in order to present us as a reliable and well-financed business partner”, says Stefanos Agiopoulos, Country Marketing & Sales Manager, DHL Global Forwarding, Freight Greece. The cooperation with Express and Global Forwarding was significantly stepped up during the crisis so as to generate sales across different business areas.

Door to East Asia

The cooperation culminated in a reorganization that was completed in October 2015. DHL Global Forwarding, Freight Greece (DGFF Greece) has since brought together the entire portfolio of road, air and sea transport under one roof. Moreover, this has advantages for internationally active customers, especially since one of the main transit centres of DHL’s new “maritime silk road” lies in Piraeus, a geographically ideal position for multimodal connections from East Asia. For example, the combination of road and ocean transport creates time savings of up to nine days compared to the shipping route to and from Rotterdam, as the cargo takes only two to five days to reach the European key markets from Greece. In addition, DHL invested anti-cyclically in new infrastructure. The two new terminals in Crete and Patras will strengthen the position in the provinces.

Breakthrough in Life Science & Healthcare sector

“Furthermore, we decided to extend the product portfolio to include services from the area of DHL Freight ColdChain. That has absolutely paid off, as now more than 20 percent of our sales come from life science and healthcare sector, which require temperature-regulated shipments”, explains Stefanos Agiopoulos. There is now even a dedicated team for that purpose at DGFF Greece. In this context, cargo security also plays a large role. All vehicles are equipped with the latest safety systems, including GPS, door opening sensors and alarm buttons. Security locks, two-driver crews and temperature controls in real time are a matter of course just like the 24/7 monitoring of the cargoes. In the long term, a connection to the DHL Thermonet network, i.e. temperature controlled air freight and ocean freight, is planned.

Ideal partner for food transport

That is particularly important as Greece is one of the world’s largest producers of agricultural commodities and fresh food. DGFF Greece, with its large variety of routes to Europe and beyond, is an ideal partner for their transport, no matter whether the goods have to be frozen, cooled or stored at ambient temperatures.

Author: Kai Ortmann

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