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Strike Aviation Group

 

Ai Logistics Network

 

BLG financial year 2023The Board of Management of BLG LOGISTICS GROUP AG & Co. KG presented the results of the financial year 2023 at its Annual Report Press Conference on April 29, 2024.

Despite challenges, all three divisions – AUTOMOBILE, CONTRACT and CONTAINER – closed with a positive result. While Group sales increased compared to the previous year, the result was slightly below 2022, although better than expected.

The demands on logistics services are changing at an ever-increasing pace. Energy prices, inflation, shortage of skilled workers, climate change, the war in Ukraine, the Middle East situation, attacks on freight ships by Houthi rebels – the list of conflicts, crises and challenges is long. In 2023, this again created a challenging business environment. In view of these circumstances, the Board of Management of the BLG Group is extremely satisfied with the strong operational performance and the stable financial result of the

In financial year 2023, Group sales increased on the previous year by 8.1 percent to EUR 1.21 billion (without EUROGATE). "Considering the many crises and challenges we faced, that is a more than respectable performance. All departments and all colleagues contributed to this," emphasized Frank Dreeke, the CEO of the BLG Group, during the presentation of the results.


All three divisions – AUTOMOBILE, CONTRACT and CONTAINER – achieved a positive result. Sales were particularly strong in the AUTOMOBILE division, increasing by EUR 62.1 million to EUR 641.9 million. This growth is mainly due to higher revenues in the areas of transport and storage. Sales revenue in contract logistics also increased, by EUR 20.9 million to EUR 569.1 million. The CONTAINER division reported a sales decrease by EUR 43.2 million. The proportionate share of sales revenues of BLG in 2023 amounted to just under EUR 302 million.

Earnings before tax (EBT) amounted to EUR 36.1 million, which was 35.2 percent less than in the previous year (EUR 55.7 million). This means the EBT of the BLG Group decreased compared to the previous year by EUR 19.6 million. The main reason for this was the lower income from investments in the CONTAINER division.

In the overall AUTOMOBILE division, BLG transported, handled and technically processed five million vehicles in financial year 2023. This volume was moderately higher than in the previous year. In particular the inland terminals contributed to the good result. At the seaport terminal in Bremerhaven – BLG AutoTerminal Bremerhaven – some 1.5 million vehicles were handled, transported or technically processed. This was just under the figure for 2022 (1.7 million vehicles), which was due in particular to the state of the economy. In the High & Heavy segment, BLG was able to increase the handling volume by 0.2 million metric tons to 1.3 million metric tons.

Speaking at the AutoTerminal, Matthias Magnor, an executive officer and COO of the BLG Group, said: “In 2023, the location achieved a positive result, which was a major improvement on previous years. This was due especially to our restructuring and transformation processes coming into effect as well as newly agreed contracts with a number of key accounts.”

Matthias Magnor also used the Annual Report Press Conference to report on a new agreement: “A few weeks ago I was in China, where I signed a Friendship Agreement between our AutoTerminal and the Haitong ro-ro terminal in Shanghai. With this cooperation, we have created a special bond between Shanghai and Bremerhaven, which will support Chinese auto manufacturers in the export of their vehicles to Europe. The agreement will strengthen the status of our ports as leading ro-ro ports in Asia and Europe.” However, Magnor emphasized that Bremerhaven is and will remain an open port for all shipping companies and automotive manufacturers.

The CONTRACT division operates at more than 40 locations all over Germany and around the world. In the continuing multi-crisis situation, BLG Contract logistics again succeeded in meeting its targets in 2023. Some individual locations suffered significant volume reductions, but higher volumes and productivity plus additional business at other locations compensated for this. Other factors with a positive effect were falling inflation rates and especially lower energy prices in the course of the year. The restructuring of the division launched in 2022 under the name Roadmap CONTRACT also had an effect.

Over the reporting year, in total significantly fewer containers than expected were handled at the inland container terminals of the EUROGATE Group. Furthermore storage revenues, which had increased in 2022 due to the disrupted schedules of the shipping lines, decreased earlier than anticipated. The handling volumes at the EUROGATE terminals declined from 11.2 million TEU by 5.1 percent, while the reduction at the German terminals overall was 10.5 percent.

The factor likely to have the greatest impact on development in Hamburg in 2024 will be the point in time and the progress of the transfer of MSC services to the Hamburg terminals of the HHLA. “Currently we expect the transfer to start at the earliest in the fourth quarter of 2024, so it will not significantly affect the company's handling volume in 2024. We don't anticipate any negative impacts on our other locations from a possible involvement of MSC in HHLA. In fact, the opposite is true: We will remain closely connected to MSC over the long term,” said Michael Blach, the executive officer responsible for the CONTAINER division and Chairman of the Group Management Board of EUROGATE. The company expects increasing handling volume at the Bremerhaven and Wilhelmshaven locations in 2024.

On average over the year 2023, BLG LOGISTICS employed 9,883 people worldwide in the fully consolidated companies (11,487 with EUROGATE). The majority of the workforce (90.7 percent) have unlimited employment contracts. The shortage of qualified staff remains a challenge for the company. A continuous optimization of recruitment and the establishment of new channels and media to enable easy access to the application process were central tasks for the HR department in 2023. This work resulted in more current approaches and pilot projects such as the low-threshold option of application via WhatsApp.

In the reporting year BLG took on 96 new trainees, bringing the total up to 172 trainees employed in the company. That is equivalent to a trainee quota of 1.9 percent. “In response to the universal challenge in our society of a shortage of junior staff, we formulated new sustainability goals starting in 2025 aimed at achieving a trainee quota of at least two percent,” explained Ulrike Riedel, an executive officer and Labor Relations Director of BLG.
Prospects for 2024

“The result for 2023 is proof of our reliability, high performance and bold vision in a dynamic and challenging business environment,” said CEO Frank Dreeke, before taking a look into the future: “But we also know that the current economic and political turbulence will continue or may even increase. We are prepared to face up to this as a permanent state of affairs. Change and transformation belong to BLG today just as much as our tradition from almost 150 years of corporate history.”

The BLG Group continues to operate in a volatile market environment. To meet these challenges, the company will continue to forcefully tackle issues such as flexibility, digitalization/AI, automation and sustainability. Business development at the beginning of 2024 was within expectations.

At the end of the press conference, the CEO addressed a few personal remarks to the journalists present: "This is my last Annual Report Press Conference for BLG. At the end of the year I will end my 12-year period at the head of BLG after reaching the standard retirement age for CEOs. They were 12 eventful years over which many of you accompanied me in an open and collegial spirit, but also critically. Today I want to thank you sincerely for that. I leave BLG with a deep sense of gratitude and excitement about what will come next. I know that BLG, a company that is resilient, adaptable and ready for the future, is in excellent hands. In 2025 Matthias Magnor, a colleague I value very highly, will take up the reins. He knows the company very well and over the last three years he has successfully steered the transformation of the operational activities of BLG. I am confident that Matthias Magnor, together with our further executive managers Ulrike Riedel, Christine Hein and Michael Blach plus a new COO soon to be selected, will lead BLG into a successful future. As I leave, I can look back with great satisfaction.”

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