The small forwarder Dachser Air & Sea Logistics, which handled 470,000 shipments of airfreight last year and took in nearly $6 million in total gross revenue, is about to get a bit bigger. According to managing director Thomas Reuter, the company will soon open offices in 21 new countries and will be enlarging its activities in Vietnam.
This increase in activity comes with a shifting of Dachser’s most important trade lanes. While Reuter admitted that China-to-Europe and China-to-the-U.S. are where officials see the most opportunity, new countries are becoming hotspots for the organization.
“When we talk about retail and fashion, it can be seen that trades have switched from China toward countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan and Vietnam,” he said. “But also, other countries are becoming more and more important … like Colombia or Indonesia.”
While airfreight is an important part of Dachser’s business — “from our perspective, we experienced a successful year on airfreight in 2011,” he said — the company also does a healthy bit of seafreight business. In this time of high fuel prices, he’s seen customers favor the seafreight side of transportation options, but he also knows that some customers can’t easily make the switch from airfreight to seafreight. For those customers, and really, for everyone involved in shipping, Reuter said the coming months will be tough.
“Air and seafreight is a very volatile business, where it is hard to predict the next months to come; the air and seafreight business is tightly connected with the international economy,” Reuter said. “In times like these — when European economies are losing ground, when the U.S. economy is on hold due to the presidential elections, and even China starts lowering their own economic expectations — it really does become a challenging environment for the air and seafreight forwarder.”
But even amid a gloomy economy, Reuter can see the way forward. With continued perseverance and a bit of expansion, perhaps bigger things are in store for Dacsher.