The international transport and logistics company Gebrüder Weiss posted preliminary net sales of 2.54 billion euros for the 2021 financial year. This translates into a year-over-year rise of 43 percent (2020: 1.77 billion euros). More than 70 percent of this increase was generated by the Air & Sea business. The global shortage of cargo capacity resulted in shipping companies and airlines repeatedly raising their rates. The fact that these costs were passed on became a key contributor to the upsurge at Gebrüder Weiss, although this also created special challenges.
2021 was an exceptional year characterized by great volatility. The imbalance between low cargo capacities and high demand had a huge impact. It required considerable effort and dedication for them to deliver suitable transport solutions to their customers despite the bottlenecks.
To meet its customers’ needs in 2021, the company organized additional air freight charters by implementing “preighters,” i.e., converted passenger aircraft. The acquisition of the Ipsen Logistics operations in Germany, Poland, and Malaysia at the end of 2020 marked an important step forward for the global network. In total, the Air & Sea and Logistics division reported annual sales of 1,030 million euros (2020: 470 million euros).
The Land Transport and Logistics division succeeded in closing the year with sales up 16 percent to 1,277 million euros (2020: 1,104 million euros). To boost efficiency, Gebrüder Weiss deployed innovative technologies and strategies to handle transport planning, dispatch, and freight measurement; an intermodal link from Vienna to Germany’s Ruhr region was established. All of the Land Transport product groups set new records for consignments.
Via its Home Delivery service, Gebrüder Weiss transported some 1.74 million shipments to end consumers in Austria and multiple eastern European countries, further extending its market lead in this segment (2020: 1.37 million consignments). DPD Austria, partly owned by Gebrüder Weiss parcel service, delivered more than 66.5 million parcels in 2021. This corresponds to a 16 percent year-over-year increase; it was powered mainly by strong private-consumer business.
Robust market position in central and eastern Europe
In Bavaria, Gebrüder Weiss consolidated its southern German land transport network with a number of acquisitions. These were flanked by takeovers in Bulgaria and Turkey, while new locations were established in Hungary, the Czech Republic, and South Korea. All told, the logistics company invested 112 million euros in new construction and the expansion of existing sites (2020: 75.6 million euros) – the highest investment volume in the company’s history. The augmented network also required a larger workforce: the headcount rose by 8 percent and now totals nearly 8,000 employees.
14,500 users tap into the new myGW portal
With the goal of optimizing logistics processes for its customers, Gebrüder Weiss is turning increasingly to digital tools: “Expectations regarding speed, efficiency and transparency have risen enormously throughout the supply chain. The international rollout and further development of our myGW portal represent a major milestone,” says Wolfram Senger-Weiss. The digital platform offers customers real-time information on the flow of their goods and is already being utilized by more than 14,500 users across 19 countries. At the same time, several supply chain management projects were realized for high-profile customers. The logistics organization plans to continue growing in this area and enlarging its palette of digital services.
The Covid crisis has, however, also exposed the importance of controlling physical infrastructure. Their ‘Best of Both Worlds’ strategy – modern digital tools on the one hand and logistics facilities, cargo capacity, and well-trained employees on the other – has once again proven the right way forward
Carbon neutrality by 2030
The logistics specialist intends to achieve CO2 neutrality at its locations by 2030. In moving toward that goal, last year alone, eight photovoltaic systems were installed at logistics terminals in Austria and Germany. Further locations are due to be added this year. The company is also implementing new technologies: one of the world’s first hydrogen-powered trucks has already demonstrated its value in logistics operations, while other alternative drive technologies using liquid gas and electricity are in service for heavy goods and Home Delivery shipments. Gebrüder Weiss introduced a zero-emissions program offering its customers the option of paying a surcharge to offset the carbon emissions of each logistics service they use. These funds go towards supporting certified climate protection projects.