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Logistics 2030 – People make the difference

Logistics is a complex interplay between flows of goods and information in intelligent networks. People are and remain the key to their success and reliability. The maxim “Logistics is People Business” has many faces—in DACHSER’s overall strategy as well as in the everyday life at the family-owned company. 

"We are entering the new year with confidence"

Burkhard Eling, CEO of DACHSER, looks back on the year 2023, which was characterized by overcapacity, rising inflation and volatile conditions for the industry - in short: the special boom in logistics has come to an end. Nevertheless, there is good reason to start 2024 full of confidence and thirst for action.

DACHSER takes full control of joint venture in South Africa 

DACHSER has acquired the remaining 30 percent of shares in DACHSER South Africa and is now the sole owner of the Johannesburg-based country organization.  

Golden Week 2023 in China

During September 29 and October 06, most business and factories in China will be closed. The week-long holiday in one of the world’s most important economies poses an impact to the international supply chain. Start to prepare now to minimize the possible disruptions.

What is Golden Week?

Golden Week is a 7-day or 8-day national holiday in China. Every year the Chinese celebrate the establishment of the People’s Republic of China on October 01. This year, Mid-Autumn Festival falls on September 29 and will combine with National Day Golden Week for a long, 8-day holiday from September 29 to October 06. Traditionally, Chinese people used to take the opportunity to travel for leisure and visit their families in other parts of China.
DACHSER in China, like many other businesses, will be closed during the Golden Week and resume normal operations on October 7.

What will happen during Golden Week?

Most businesses and factories will be closed during the week-long holiday, meaning that production will be at halt. Airports and seaports will keep operating but with reduced manpower due to low production volume from factories. Normally government institutions such as customs offices will be closed from October 01 – 03.
Since China, one of the world’s biggest economies and production countries, will come to a standstill for a whole week and factories may not run at full capacity as soon as the official holiday ends, the plunge of production volume would have an impact to the worldwide supply chain.

How to minimize the impact of Golden Week?

While we try our best to minimize any possible interruptions to your supply chain, you can also help us by considering the following:

Communicate with your suppliers and customers to make arrangements for sufficient stock and manage expectations

Discuss your planning with us and prepare an accurate shipment forecast for long-term planning, so we can offer you the most suitable solution that fits your budget and schedule

Place your booking earlier and pay attention to the cut-off dates.

For sea freight, it is recommended to book 4-6 weeks before the start of holiday

For air freight, it is recommended to book 1-2 weeks before the start of holiday

If you have any questions, please get in touch with your usual local DACHSER contact who will be happy to assist and plan the next steps with you together.

Growing with the opportunities

Economic growth is stagnating or even declining in many places, but in the Asia Pacific region, it is surprisingly strong. DACHSER is greatly expanding its network there for customers from all over the world.

Strides on a long road 

Assuming a valuable role in mitigating climate change is both a central responsibility and a challenge for logistics providers. Transport and warehousing are energy-intensive and have a large carbon footprint; one reason is that zero-emission trucks are not yet available in sufficient numbers. But technological change is already in full swing. Michael Kriegel, Department Head DACHSER Chem Logistics, describes the potential that can be utilized and the role logistics can play in protecting the climate.

Overcoming Africa’s logistics challenges: Dachser South Africa's approach to customs 

Trade is the lifeblood of any economy, and the smooth operation of customs and trade procedures is critical. However, logistics companies moving goods across the African continent face a unique set of challenges. These include inadequate road and rail networks, poor infrastructure, excessive official and unofficial roadblocks, significant border delays and complex customs and excise. A lack of coordination among multiple government agencies often results in inefficiencies and bottlenecks that hinder the smooth flow of goods across borders.

The establishment of a single market has introduced new distribution systems for customs and excise revenue, which has necessitated adjustments from logistics companies. The secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement launched an interim trading arrangement with eight qualifying countries (Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Rwanda, Tanzania and Tunisia) to test the agreement’s provisions while negotiations are ongoing. Although trading under the AfCFTA started in January 2021, commercially significant trade has yet to happen, primarily due to the delayed Phase 1 negotiations on trade in goods and services such as the negotiations on Rules of Origin (RoO).

Regional integration arrangements further complicate matters. For example, the coexistence of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) poses specific challenges. Intensive documentation requirements, samples for laboratory analysis, complex tariff classification, and valuation delays are some other hurdles that affect trade facilitation.

In this challenging environment, logistics companies play a pivotal role. DACHSER South Africa has been successfully navigating these complexities for over forty years, providing comprehensive logistics and customs management solutions that ensure the smooth movement of goods.  “Our commitment is to provide our clients with a holistic and seamless solution and we see ourselves as an extension of their businesses.  This means that we take care of all aspects of the transportation, including customs, storing, handling and the safe delivery of goods from origin to destination.” 

To deal with customs challenges, DACHSER focuses on compliance, transparency, and adaptability, says DACHSER Managing Director Detlev Duve. "Compliance with local and international customs regulations is essential, requiring a detailed understanding of these laws and regulations. Transparency in operations helps build trust with authorities and clients, while adaptability allows logistics companies to adjust to changing regulations and market conditions."

In order to avoid significant time delays and unforeseen cost implications, Duve says it’s vital that companies involved in international trade understand and comply with changing regulations and requirements. However, getting to grips with regulatory environments be challenging for companies and divert resources away from core business priorities, making a trusted logistics partner an essential part of doing business.

Duve says DACHSER's teams are well-versed in customs regulations and procedures. “We ensure compliance with customs requirements, including correct classification and documentation, which can save customers considerable time. Understanding Incoterms and maintaining a good working relationship with local customs authorities are key components of our approach. We further consider where costs can be saved or passage expedited. For example, certain processes could entitle an importer or exporter to claim back a percentage of duties paid to customs.” 

Customs developments have also created some opportunities for logistics companies and clients to streamline their operations.  For example, in South Africa, the government has introduced measures such as accredited client statuses for those registered for customs and excise activities.

Global logistics operations like DACHSER are also able to fully leverage technology to improve their customs handling processes. “Our digital tools assist in accurately calculating duties, tracking shipments, and ensuring documentation is correctly filed, reducing the risk of errors and delays,” says Duve.

DACHSER South Africa also offers value-added solutions for clients such as bonded storage, which allows cargo to be stored for up to two years, improving cash flow for importers. The company further provides an option for clients when a portion of imported goods will be directly exported, sparing them from having to pay duty and VAT twice. “If the client does not need to clear the entire shipment, DACHSER South Africa will clear the goods directly into our bond store and no duty or VAT will be paid until the cargo is moved out,” Duve explains. “If a portion of the stock needed to go to an African country, we would move this out with a bonded truck to that country, where the cargo would be cleared.” 

While the customs landscape in South Africa and Africa presents formidable challenges, logistics companies like DACHSER South Africa have found ways to navigate these complexities and deliver excellent service to their customers. Now more than ever, the value derived from using an experienced logistics provider in Africa can lead to significant cost savings.

The new DACHSER magazine is here!

Experts estimate that digital connectivity will reach a data volume of 400 trillion gigabytes as early as 2030. Whether or not that happens, one thing’s for sure: data collection and processing are increasingly determining and changing the way we live and work. And one other thing is true: handling data responsibly makes life easier and offers many opportunities. Especially in logistics.

Corporate Compliance - Integrity is a question of attitude

"Integrity in Logistics" is the self-imposed moral commitment of the major family-led company DACHSER. It is based upon respect for society, its citizens and their norms, which must be respected, followed and upheld. This is done both as part of our daily work as well as in our interactions with others.

DACHSER Compliance Management covers both the internal company Code of Conduct as well as the DACHSER conduct guidelines. These mandatory rules and guidelines clearly specify that all DACHSER employees are to act ethically and legally in carrying out their tasks and services and consistently adhere to national laws. This also applies to the customs, traditions and societal values of each state and society.

If you would like to play an active part in supporting the DACHSER Compliance Management System or report potential misconduct, you are welcome to use our compliance reporting system supportDACHSER.

Compliance Statement of the Executive Board of DACHSER Group SE & Co. KG

A resilient compliance management system is an important pillar for maintaining integrity, also and especially in times of global challenges.

Once again, people are being shown that they do not always have everything one hundred percent under control. The worldwide exceptional situation of the pandemic can only be influenced to a limited extent by political or economic interests. International supply chains seem to be out of control. Especially in such a situation, it is important to give people the necessary confidence that their basic supplies will be maintained. Global supply chains are under enormous pressure because they form the backbone of any supply.

DACHSER is facing up to all these developments. With our global logistics network and our sophisticated systems, we are excellently equipped to meet the challenges ahead.  In times of reinventing delivery strategies and the general fear of further escalation in the market, we at DACHSER never lose sight of the most important piece of the mosaic: the people. Each of us has it in our hands to make our individual contribution in the interest of all. At the same time, especially in times like these, people long for a sense of trust and security. A shared understanding of values certainly makes a significant contribution to fulfilling this longing.   

Our compliance motto "Integrity in Logistics" not only provides our own employees with guidance for acting in accordance with our DACHSER values. Rather, our business partners can also align themselves with this strong foundation. Together, we thus form the basis for trusting cooperation in line with the traditional ideals of the honorable businessman. 

In addition, we are sending out another signal to express our value-based actions: DACHSER has used the past year intensively to expand the options it previously made available for reporting compliance violations. With supportDACHSER all persons now have a technically supported option for reporting in addition to the analog contact channels. The highly secure system offers full anonymity and complies with all relevant data protection requirements. In this way, both internal employees and external third parties are enabled to report potential integrity violations to the DACHSER Compliance Office without fear of reprisals.

Even in times of great challenges Compliance does not take a break. With "Integrity in Logistics" we are always at the side of our business partners as a reliable partner.

DACHSER Life Science and Healthcare receives GDP certification

The logistics provider has undergone good distribution practice (GDP) audits at its sites in Frankfurt, Madrid, Barcelona, and Mumbai, as well as at the Head Office in Kempten. An independent institute certified that DACHSER complies with the specifications relating to safe and secure transport chains in the pharmaceutical sector.

First insights into the DACHSER platform

DACHSER is transferring its range of logistics services to the digital world. As a company-wide digitalization project, the DACHSER platform is a central building block for fundamentally redesigning the customer experience. At the transport logistic trade fair, customers and interested parties were given their first glimpse of the platform, which will be available to all DACHSER customers from 2024.

New custom fleet enhances DACHSER South Africa capabilities

DACHSER South Africa has expanded its Johannesburg-based road freight fleet with eleven new Hino trucks, further enhancing the companies road freight capabilities through Africa. Over the next few months, the vehicle fleet in the company’s Cape Town office will also be expanded. Growth in demand and delivering on the specialised needs of clients is driving the expansion of the South African operation of the international logistics leader as the country emerges from the challenges of the pandemic.

“We’re excited to extend our fleet of Hino trucks, which are robust, reliable and have sophisticated in-vehicle technology that makes them an ideal tool in the integrated logistics solutions we offer for customers,” says Detlev Duve, Managing Director of DACHSER South Africa. “Our decision to purchase these trucks, ranging from 4-ton to 15-ton vehicles and including flatbeds, tautliners and pantechnicons, was based on Hino’s proven track record for manufacturing high-quality, reliable vehicles. They are factory-fitted with all the creature comforts that make the driver's experience much more enjoyable, so that they can focus on providing the best service possible.”   

Two of the new vehicles have been custom built for specific client needs, reflecting Dachser South Africa’s commitment to tailoring logistics to meet specific client requirements as a valued strategic partner. To meet the needs of the solar, heavy office equipment and medical industries, the trucks are equipped with tail lifts and cantilevers. This makes deliveries to smaller premises easier and safer, where forklifts are not always available. All vehicles are hazardous goods compliant and fitted with cameras and tracking devices to optimise track and trace capabilities.

“Our strategic goal has always been to work closely with our clients to ensure that we put structures and services in place to fit their needs, whether it be in the warehouse or on our vehicles. We build our longterm client relationships this way,” says Duve.

DACHSER South Africa has been providing a highly competitive road freight service for over twenty years, including over-border consolidation and full truckload services. The company provides general road, air and sea freight transport, supplemented by specialised transport services for industry-specific materials including foodstuffs, chemicals, spares and bulk mining machinery.

Road freight in Africa can pose clear challenges and logistics companies must be prepared to be competitive, according to Duve. “Transporting goods throughout the continent requires a strong fleet, an established network of support partners, a team that has up-to-date information on multi-country customs and border control changes or requirements, solid tracking processes, and hands-on knowledge of diverse infrastructures and the challenges they may present.”

A successful road freight service is one that is well coordinated and planned from the outset, as well as effectively tracked en route. DACHSER South Africa manages supply chains using its digital, real-time platform to ensure that both the client and the consignee are able to see where the consignment is at all times. 

DACHSER South Africa further offers consolidation services where multiple consignments for different, medium-sized companies are transported in one truck, or a fleet of trucks. “Clients need to make sure they are dealing with established providers when it comes to consolidation, as shipments can be severely impeded by the clearing processes and turnaround times of the order from destination to origin,” says Duve. “We pre-empt any challenges through having strict protocols and detailed processes in place, including processing documents at the border prior loading, and getting all shipments released prior to truck arrival and subsequent departure.” 

Another value adding service is the company’s full truckload 24-hour notice period. “This essentially means that a client is notified 24 hours prior to loading in order to check the availability of vehicles - a real advantage for our customers,” says Duve.

“With our strong network, we are continuously developing new routes, building our fleet and devising sustainable road freight and logistics processes. By doing so, we are supporting our client’s growth on the African continent and the continued development of Africa’s overall prosperity. It’s exciting to be a part of this growth.”  

Striving for security of supply

In the recent past, supply chains have proven increasingly fragile and at risk. The reasons are manifold. To counteract this, companies are taking far-reaching measures. What these look like and how DACHSER can manage complex supply chains against this backdrop are the thoughts of CEO Burkhard Eling.

Burkhard Eling, CEO of DACHSER

The past 18 months have laid bare some of the weak points in the global economic system: just-in-time with lean warehousing, the focus on individual manufacturing sites in Asia, and the one-sided concern with efficiency and costs—all relied on structures that proved too fragile and too susceptible to disruption.

Companies have now analyzed their supply chains and are taking concrete action, such as expanding their warehouse capacity in Europe and the US, decentralizing production, and obtaining raw materials and intermediate products from multiple suppliers. In short, they are striving for security of supply. But that does not imply a shift to de-globalization. Supply chains will remain global, but they will become more complex.

Finding solutions even under difficult conditions

At DACHSER, we have no trouble managing complex supply chains; in fact, it’s our core expertise. We’re able to offer solutions that work even under difficult circumstances, which explains our continued success in the first six months of 2022. But prospects are dim: enormous cost increases in almost all areas will stifle demand and, as a consequence, significantly slow the current growth momentum.

We are already hard at work preparing for this scenario. For instance, we’re investing in digitalization and automation to make supply chains more efficient and more transparent. But we’re also investing in the people at DACHSER. After all, digital skills at all levels of the company will decide our success in the future.

Top performance in any terrain

Camso specializes in off-road tires, wheels, rubber tracks, and track systems for commercial and powersport vehicles. To reach its customers in Europe as quickly and efficiently as possible, the company entrusted its logistics management to DACHSER as Lead Logistics Provider—a solution with a future.

Camso supplies tires for massive jobs.

When things get really slippery, muddy, gravelly, or slick, that’s when thick pneumatic rollers, rubber tracks, and hard rubber tires prove their mettle. They’re indispensable for the high-performance equipment used in material handling, on construction sites, in agriculture and quarries, and even in outdoor powersports. The message is very clear: the more demanding the terrain, the better.

And that’s precisely what Camso, a Michelin Group brand, specializes in. A global leader in the development, manufacture, and distribution of industrial tires, wheels, and rubber tracks, Camso has more than 8,000 employees in 26 countries across the globe, primarily in Asia, Europe, and North America. It also operates four research and development centers, 23 manufacturing facilities, and an international distribution network in more than 100 countries.

This setup puts as many demands on Camso’s logistics operations as the areas of application put on its products. To keep the company on track for growth and to tap the full potential of digitalization, Camso began reviewing its global and European logistics network some time ago. “Having ten local distribution centers in Europe, each of them independently managed, was no longer in keeping with the times,” says Pierrick Bouf, Supply Chain and Logistics Director EMEA at Camso. “As a result, we reorganized our network around three main distribution centers: one in the UK, one in Germany to cover northern Europe, and one in France to serve southern Europe.”

A reliable partner

The French distribution center in Grans, located near the Mediterranean port of Fos-sur-Mer northwest of Marseille, is operated by DACHSER. “Its location, logistics capacities, and groupage network made it a good fit with our plans to be able to deliver goods to the French market within 24 or 48 hours,” Bouf says. This cooperation would prove successful and resulted in DACHSER being included in the discussion about handing over responsibility for all logistics services to a Lead Logistics Provider (LLP).

"The close collaboration with DACHSER as LLP has made our processes significantly easier and increased our responsiveness in extremely turbulent times", says Pierrick Bouf, Supply Chain and Logistics Director EMEA at Camso.

The LLP would be tasked with orchestrating twelve different transport service providers and ensuring that they deliver an average of 170 shipments per day from the three central shipping warehouses to the target customers in Europe with maximum efficiency and transparency. “In parallel with this new logistics organization, we wanted to improve our services by centralizing and standardizing them and having a knowledgeable point of contact for all logistics-related questions,” Bouf says.

But first, an explanation of the term and the underlying concept is in order: a Lead Logistics Provider is a logistics company that acts as a neutral party in organizing all or at least the essential logistics processes for its customers, regardless of which service provider carries out the operational activity. LLPs are deeply integrated in their customers’ (logistics) processes. After all, this comprehensive service approach isn’t restricted to conducting transports or performing terminal handling or warehousing services; it also involves designing, implementing, and organizing supply chains, optimizing transport and warehouse planning, coordinating suppliers, and integrating the latest (communication) technologies. Customer-specific services such as customs clearance, packaging management, and value-added services also fall under the range of LLP responsibilities.

Delivering tires to customers throughout Europe.

The “premiere league of logistics”

That’s why Stefan Hohm, Chief Development Officer (CDO) at DACHSER, considers LLPs to represent the “premiere league of logistics”: “The LLP concept requires a comprehensive and in-depth understanding of the customer’s supply chain and all associated processes. Using the network and IT expertise that we have acquired and grown over the years, we continue to develop and refine this system to create sustainable complete solutions that our customers need for their business model. In addition to the shipments transported by DACHSER, our portfolio will also incorporate the transparency and management of other logistics providers.”

This made Dachser an obvious choice as Camso’s LLP. “In our collaboration to date, Dachser has proven that it’s capable of organizing and allocating transports exactly the way we want. Following our shared experience with the Dachser-operated Camso distribution center in France, we then began working to expand the LLP solution to the other two distribution centers in the UK and Germany,” Bouf says. “Dachser is very familiar with our products and how we work, and it understands our special service-level requirements when shipping to another country.”

On the DACHSER end, the various strands of the Camso LLP project all converge in the hands of Martin Poost, Department Head Lead Logistics Provider. “All supply chain information flows into the DACHSER LLP Control Tower,” Poost says. “That’s the center where all data, independent of company and location, is pooled and monitored. To do this, we transform the physical supply chain processes and the specific customer requirements into an appropriate IT logic. We then display all relevant data in a transparent and traceable format on the DACHSER Supply Chain Visibility platform, where it can be accessed at any time.”

For this to work, the Camso and DACHSER systems have to be able to “talk” to each other and allow data to be shared in real time without losing information. According to Poost, this is a demanding challenge that, together with Camso, DACHSERsucceeded in transforming into a practical solution. Paving the way for this success was a working group with IT teams from Camso, DACHSER, and technology partner Siemens. “Working closely together, we were able to design the interfaces and the data structure in a way that ensures that communication between our ERP system and the DACHSER Supply Chain Visibility platform functions securely,” Bouf says.

An integrated overall concept

Camso had formulated clear expectations for DACHSER as LLP. It wanted an integrated concept for warehousing, distribution, and management of the various transport providers handling the groupage shipments, partial and full loads, and package deliveries. To this end, DACHSER was tasked with managing and controlling all transports and service providers, including transmitting shipment data to everyone involved, printing barcode labels, and managing proofs of delivery. And last but not least, the LLP is responsible for validating invoices. In other words, it was entrusted with the entire portfolio of highly developed and practical supply chain management processes.

For the Dachser LLP team led by Martin Poost, and for their partners at Camso, working together to draw up the detailed requirements and specifications once again showed very clearly that DACHSER could provide the orchestration of all required logistics services far more efficiently and reliably than if Camso had to create a suitable structure itself. 

A glance at the Control Tower and the functionalities of DACHSER’s Supply Chain Visibility platform shows just why that is: “Here, all transport-related data, independent of company and location, is pooled together in one system and presented graphically, making it practical for use in different media,” Poost says. “This enables us and customers, regardless of location, to see where any shipment is at any given time and to intervene if necessary.” Thanks to DACHSER’s proprietary Supply Chain Visibility platform, everyone involved in the transport has access to the latest information and can contact other parties directly if desired, regardless of which type of transport is used. “We cover full and partial loads as well as groupage and parcel services. And it’s all part of a single solution for procurement and distribution logistics,” Poost says.


Easy to use

As the logistics experts know, digitalized and automated processes are only as good and worthwhile as their level of acceptance in day-to-day operations. “That’s why we pay particular attention to user acceptance of all the tools we use,” Poost says. It’s crucial that solutions be easy to use, for example via smartphone, app, and special web services.

If, for example, a rubber track needs to be sent from Germany to France, the Camso systems transmit the shipment data via an EDI to the Supply Chain Visibility platform, which Camso uses to control and release the shipment. The platform then transmits the data to the selected transport provider, who ultimately accepts the shipment. This system is used in transport scheduling, in the transit terminal, and by the drivers. “This means everyone can always see where the track is on its journey through Europe,” Poost says. That’s more than conventional tracking and tracing. “The major advantage of consolidating all shipment data in a single system is that it enables us to work for and with customers from an early stage to plan all transport services. For example, to arrange delivery in accordance with the recipient’s available time slots.” After the rubber track is delivered in France, the proof of delivery is transmitted, enabling the immediate final review of the transport costs indicated on the transport provider’s EDI invoice. “This carrier management,” Poost says, “is a well-oiled process and everyone has their part to play in it.”

The Control Tower and the DACHSER Supply Chain Visibility platform also provide tangible benefits when it comes to analysis, for instance when creating reports or Excel tables and forecasts for such things as order planning and timely provision of container and transport capacities. And last but not least, Poost says, another key aspect of the Control Tower is quality assurance. “When evaluating the services agreed with suppliers and transport providers, an appropriately qualified LLP partner has the professional and technological edge over customers when this evaluation can be explicitly ‘based on daily practice, for daily practice’.”

Poost’s and Bouf’s preliminary verdict on the Camso-DACHSER LLP partnership is thus a positive one. “Especially during the pandemic and the Ukraine crisis, the close collaboration with DACHSER made our processes significantly easier and increased our responsiveness in these extremely turbulent times,” Bouf notes with satisfaction. This also includes the parties having long since established a trusting and mutually appreciative connection on a personal level. “Since the start of our collaboration more than five years ago, we have had weekly operations meetings where we can discuss the events of the previous week and plans for the coming week, and where many potential problems can be anticipated and addressed proactively,” Poost says. “For all the technology it uses and all the progress it is making toward digitalization, logistics is still and will remain a ‘people business’—even, and especially, for a Lead Logistics Provider.”


Step by step toward the goal — Sea freight groupage containers facilitate the continuous flow of goods

In turbulent economic times, sea freight groupage containers are becoming increasingly popular. Production bottlenecks, fragile global supply chains, and a container shortage have further increased the demand for small and predictable shipment sizes in sea freight. Michael Kriegel, Department Head DACHSER Chem Logistics, explains the service that enables a reliable flow of goods in sea freight. He also talks about why a good network connection is crucial, especially for goods with high security requirements.

Sea freight groupage containers facilitate the continuous flow of goods

Companies are already analyzing their global supply chains and increasingly shifting their shipments to sea freight groupage (called “less than container load,” or LCL for short). The big advantage of groupage for customers is that they can ship smaller loads without having to pay for a full container. As a result, they can maintain a continuous flow of goods, even in the event of production bottlenecks, and also respond more flexibly to seasonal fluctuations. LCL containers are often prioritized over full containers in the loading process, which provides an additional time advantage and allows for better planning of transportation times. DACHSER markets what it calls “consolidation boxes” - customers pay only for the space they actually occupy in the containers. In addition, the company plans departures weeks in advance rather than only once production volumes are known. This means that containers, which are still in short supply, can be pre-booked in good time and customers retain flexibility when booking. 

Many companies, especially in the automotive, life science, and healthcare industries, have been using groupage shipments by sea for years. But this service is also suitable for the chemical industry, which places particularly high demands on safety and transparency during transport - and thus needs a logistics provider with the appropriate experience. DACHSER is one such provider. It set up a purchasing partnership with the German Chemical Industry Association (Verband der Chemischen Industrie e.V., or VCI) in 2009. This successful alliance for European groupage shipments from Germany was then expanded in 2015 to include air and sea freight. Member companies of the association now benefit from globally standardized core services in the groupage network - transport, warehousing, and IT solutions. All this specialist industry experience has been pooled in the DACHSER Chem Logistics team. 

“In shipments from customers in the chemical industry, which sometimes contain dangerous goods, the decisive factor is always safety. We have to protect life, limb, and the environment,” says Claus Freydag, Managing Director DACHSER Air & Sea Logistics Germany. “DACHSER also boasts global dangerous goods expertise in the groupage container segment and covers all LCL-compatible IMO classes in its own network and in its partner network,” he adds. The company’s central dangerous goods management system and its more than 250 regional safety advisors monitor compliance with special regulations governing the transport of dangerous goods. In addition, many DACHSER employees are trained annually in the particular requirements of chemical logistics.

For sea freight groupage, the sea freight team consolidates various LCLs and loads them into a full container. This optimizes utilization of container capacity, which in turn provides the basis for economical transport costs. Maximum utilization also improves transport sustainability while reducing the risk for individual companies at a time when supply chains are fragile. “Ports around the world have been clogged for months, causing significant delays - and making it rare, if not impossible, for shipping companies to stay on schedule. Instead of sending a full container on its way, which can get held up if loading windows are missed, more and more customers are opting for sea freight groupage containers. This reduces their risk by spreading it over several departures and ships and ensures a more timely transport,” Freydag explains.

Intelligent logistics solutions and a strong network are crucial

Demand for LCL services will continue to grow, even apart from the impact of the pandemic. That’s why DACHSER, as a market leader in the German and European groupage market, has also expanded its maritime LCL network to include 70 weekly direct services to and from Germany. “With a focus on the main global routes, we are systematically expanding our dangerous goods capacity as well. This of course means serving the major markets in both the eastern and western hemispheres, such as China, India, and the US,” Freydag says. In 2021, DACHSER shipped around 19,700 cbm of dangerous goods as LCL with customers in the chemical industry. Dangerous goods thus already represent 15 percent of DACHSER ASL Germany’s LCL business. In addition to the usual port-to-port services, DACHSER also operates various direct import services to the hinterland or other European cities. For example, once a week LCL groupage containers travel directly from port locations such as Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Ningbo to ports such as Hamburg and Bremen - but also with direct loading to Frankfurt, Kaufbeuren, Cologne, Munich, Nuremberg, Stuttgart as well as Copenhagen and Gothenburg. Direct loading minimizes the risk of cargo damage and provides additional safety by eliminating deconsolidation at the transit terminal.

Furthermore, this increases profitability and achieves additional lead time advantages by rectifying bottlenecks in the port. “DACHSER’s global network connects all groupage transports on land and water. We link our own sea freight groupage container services to and from Germany to the comprehensive range of services offered by DACHSER European Logistics, thus enabling end-to-end service throughout Europe,” Freydag says. For storage and unloading, DACHSER is increasingly using its own branch infrastructure in addition to the standard container freight stations (CFS) at the ports. When port capacity is limited, companies thus benefit from additional dispatch quality and shorter transit times.

This concept, in keeping with the idea of “everything from a single source” links the European overland transport network with the global sea freight network - a feature that not every company can offer. “Thanks to the end-to-end solution of our LCL product, which goes beyond just sea transport, we can maintain high quality across the aforementioned carriers and offer transparent traceability of the goods,” Freydag adds.

The past two years have seen risk minimization in the global movement of goods become a crucial factor for success. To take full advantage of LCL shipping, it is crucial that pick-up and onward carriage are also handled in an integrated manner, thus ensuring expertise in the safe transport of dangerous goods along the entire transport route.

WOMEN IN LOGISTICS: Reaching new heights in agricultural logistics

Marlé Badenhorst of DACHSER South Africa, part of a global logistics company, has worked in the agricultural logistics industry for fifteen years. Her considerable experience and personal approach, backed by DACHSER’s range of specialists and comprehensive international logistics networks, ensures that the company provides expert, personalised solutions to clients when it comes to agricultural import and export.  

DACHSER South Africa provides full supply chain logistics solutions to the agricultural industry, including freight forwarding and cold chain solutions. The company most frequently deals with bulk imports of agricultural implements, equipment and even entire plants from countries including Germany, China and Turkey, as well as importing raw materials for agricultural use that would be too expensive to produce locally.  DACHSER South Africa handles exports of various commodities to African countries and internationally.

Many years of analysing client needs and challenges, and then finding solutions, has helped Badenhorst identify what clients really require from an agricultural logistics service provider.  “Clients are so varied with regard to their individual requirements, but often the problems and challenges they face are similar,” she says.  According to Badenhorst, several critical factors come into play to ensure top performance from a logistics company servicing the agricultural industry.

Personalised service

Based centrally in Bloemfontein, South Africa, Badenhorst can often be found visiting outlaying areas including mines & farms in the Free State or Northern Cape to discuss customers’ projects. “Meeting with customers on their premises, including outlying areas like mines or farms, really adds value and is part of the recipe for the long term successful relationships that we cultivate.  I believe a personal relationship is very important to people in the agricultural industry.” 

Harnessing an international network

Dachser has a closely integrated, worldwide transport and warehouse network with over 376 locations in 42 countries, providing customers with a strong presence in the most important procurement and sales markets in the world. “Having so many offices internationally strengthens our network for communications, provides a strong infrastructure and often helps us provide the best quotes,” says Badenhorst. “Recently, we assisted with the import of an entire fertiliser bagging plant from the Netherlands for an agricultural customer. Our offices in the Netherlands and in Germany ensured that  we could offer the best transport rates and a seamless process.”

According to Badenhorst, network knowledge also comes into play when exporting agricultural commodities to any African country, or to international markets. “Thanks to our offices in all the relevant countries, DACHSER has the knowledge and relationships to be able to advise on the various certification and import requirements for a particular product in these countries, ensuring the process runs as smoothly as possible.”

Tailored solutions and careful cost management

Badenhorst says the biggest challenge for import and export has become finding good sea freight rates, due to major increases in shipping charges after the pandemic. “Escalating costs and exchange rate changes have completely exploded the rates per container. We focus on strong negotiation and contacts to ensure that shipments are still viable for customers.”

Intent on finding specific solutions for clients, Badenhorst works hard to streamline haul operations in each case. “We definitely do not apply a standard approach to every client. We monitor charges line by line and deal with all the suppliers directly rather than using third parties where possible. All the charges add up, and it makes a difference when it comes to keeping costs to a minimum.”

Ability to provide live updates and frequent communication

“Not knowing what is happening is a pain point for clients, and they appreciate frequent live updates of the status of their shipments,” says Badenhorst. “DACHSER’s sophisticated client information systems enable this. We monitor shipments on a daily basis, and we are very proactive on updating customers.  Dachser is implementing a direct customer tracking programme, which takes it to the next level of enabling customers to directly track their own shipments.”

Customs expertise

As a freight forwarder, it is essential to have good relationships with the shipping lines and an excellent grasp of shipping principles and Incoterms, says Badenhorst. She accesses the specialist knowledge of colleagues like Deon Heunes, a former customs officer himself. “Deon’s knowledge is impressive. If we do encounter hold-ups, we ensure we are in the best position to assist and keep clients updated. Delays in customs can be expensive and it is critical to avoid unnecessary delays and penalties.”

In some cases, DACHSER South Africa only comes in at the point of clearance and delivery in South Africa, even if the company hasn’t undertaken the marine transportation. “We work closely with the bank’s forex departments to assist customers with the correct documentation,” says Badenhorst.

The right expertise and experience to manage risks and add value

“We help clients to manage risks and evaluate where they might have gaps,” says Badenhorst. “In particular Insurance can be complicated, and we often find new clients who have been importing for many years simply don’t have the correct insurance cover. A good freight forwarder must be able to advise on this.”

Badenhorst also notes the importance of frequent review of terms and agreements between freight forwarders and clients. “At DACHSER, we don’t take the approach of simply implementing annual rate increases. Matters are evolving so much in logistics, and a full review is critical to ensure the client has the best possible pricing.”

With South Africa’s agricultural production set to reach record levels again, strong logistics partners are a critical part of maximising opportunities in the sector. Fresh from great success at agricultural exhibition NAMPO, Badenhorst is excited about what the future holds. “It’s very rewarding to see how much value we can add for clients in this sector as we take on bigger projects, shipping lines recover and we are able to support Southern Africa’s agricultural industry as it grows to new heights.”


A family-owned company headquartered in Kempten, Germany, DACHSER is a leading supplier of logistics services worldwide. DACHSER offers comprehensive transport logistics, warehousing, and customer-specific services in two business fields: DACHSER Air & Sea Logistics and DACHSER Road Logistics. The latter consists of two business lines: DACHSER European Logistics and DACHSER Food Logistics. Comprehensive contract-logistics services and industry-specific solutions round out the company’s offerings. A seamless shipping network—both in Europe and overseas—and fully integrated IT systems ensure intelligent logistics solutions worldwide.

Thanks to some 31,756 employees at 376 locations all over the globe, DACHSER generated revenue of 7.1 billion euros in 2021.  Country organisations represent DACHSER in 42 countries, including South Africa.