The international transport and logistics company Gebrüder Weiss posted net sales of 1.77 billion euros in its 2020 financial year. This represents a year-over-year increase of 3.7 percent (2019: 1.71 billion euros). As such, the company continues to drive the growth it has been generating in previous years. "Key to our positive development was the fact that we remained flexible and fully operational during the Covid-19 crisis – at all of our locations worldwide. We retained our ability to provide the transport solutions our customers need, despite repeated lockdowns and global cargo space shortages. Our employees have performed outstanding work under difficult conditions," says Wolfram Senger-Weiss, Chairman of the Management Board at Gebrüder Weiss.
Best of both worlds: Digital strategy proves its value
The company set a milestone in its ongoing digitalization when it launched the new customer portal myGW in 2020. The online platform offers fast, direct and straightforward access to all Gebrüder Weiss services while providing real-time status information. "Our digital strategy 'Best of Both Worlds' – by which we mean the combination of physical and digital competence – has proven itself successful during this crisis. We have been able to underscore our reputation as a reliable and innovative logistics partner. The positive customer feedback has reaffirmed our strategic direction," says Wolfram Senger-Weiss. The customer portal is currently operating in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. A rollout into further countries is planned for this year.
Worldwide network expanded
The year 2020 also saw Gebrüder Weiss make renewed progress in strategically extending its global reach: in the air and sea freight division, Gebrüder Weiss added locations in Germany and entered the markets in Poland, South Korea, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand. "Given the restrictions on travel, the expansions were all implemented remotely. This involved daunting challenges for the various teams – which they managed well using digital communication tools," says Senger-Weiss. The international network now comprises a workforce of 7,400 employees (full-time equivalent) at 170 locations in 35 countries. All in all, the logistics company invested more than 70 million euros in expanding and extending its terminal network and in IT infrastructure, as well as in acquisitions. The equity ratio again exceeded 60 percent, a major reason behind the company's strength and ability to continue evolving despite adverse conditions.
In the United States, despite a very difficult environment in 2020, Gebrüder Weiss was able to move forward with plans to open a new warehouse in California’s Inland Empire. The US team navigated challenges to achieve an overall result that was better than expected. “One of the reasons I believe we were able to overcome many of the obstacles we faced last year was because we prioritized the health and safety of our staff. This important effort helped ensure our customers’ supply chains experienced as little disruption as possible,” said Mark McCullough, CEO of Gebrüder Weiss USA.
Focus on sustainability: CO2 neutrality by 2030
Clearly defined goals are also a hallmark of the Gebrüder Weiss sustainability strategy: with CO2 emissions set to be reduced by ten percent annually, the company aims to be CO2 neutral by 2030. The measures taken include the installation of further photovoltaic systems at its own logistics terminals, coupled with increasing the use of alternative drive technologies such as electricity, gas and hydrogen for trucks. Since last year, Gebrüder Weiss has also been offering customers the option of offsetting their carbon emissions with support for certified climate protection projects.
The diverging development at the company's individual divisions reflects the economic volatility of the past year. Given the various restrictions and the closures of some customers' plants, especially during Q2, the land transport and logistics division saw its sales decline by 4.3 percent to 1.10 billion euros (2019: 1.15 billion euros). Higher demand in online retailing produced a 29 percent increase in home delivery consignments (1.37 million consignments in 2020) – an area in which Gebrüder Weiss is the market leader in Austria and several Eastern European countries. At 470 million euros, sales in air and sea freight were up by 23.7 percent (2019: 380 million euros). Along with a strong business performance, most notably in the air freight sector, the acquisition of Ipsen Logistics had a positive impact. Against a backdrop of severe challenges, DPD Austria, which is partly owned by the Gebrüder Weiss parcel service, delivered more than 57 million parcels. This increase of more than ten percent was successfully managed despite the coronavirus crisis.
About Gebrüder Weiss
Gebrüder Weiss, a global freight forwarder with a core business of overland transport, air, and sea freight and logistics, is the world's oldest transport company with a history that dates back more than 500 years. The family-owned company employs more than 7,400 people worldwide and boasts 170 company-owned locations. The business established a presence in the United States in Chicago in 2017 and has since expanded its North American locations to include Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver. Developing and changing with its customers' needs during its long history, Gebrüder Weiss is also a pioneer in sustainable business practices having implemented myriad ecological, economic, and social initiatives.