Development of business units

Development in relevant markets

Land transport


The European land transport market is characterized by a stagnating transport demand coupled with partly dynamic price developments. The latter are driven in particular by inflation and continued scarce capacities. Smaller forwarding companies that cannot pass on the cost pressure to the freight forwarders are leaving the market, and the lack of drivers is exacerbating these developments. The progressive im­plementation of the EU Mobility Package, which regulates driving and rest periods and cabotage, has also led to uncertainties in transport schedules and to rising costs.


Demand for land transport in North America was robust in 2022, but has slowed significantly since the third quarter of 2022. Both LTL (less than truck load) and FTL (full track load) forwarders generated record results in 2022, but had considerably lower revenues in the first quarter of 2023. This continued in the second quarter of 2023. The considerably increased fuel costs heightened operating costs, which have been largely passed on to customers so far. However, the last months of the first half of 2023 saw spot market prices fall significantly, which also has an impact on the current negotiation of contractual rates. Price pressure is felt in all North American countries, including Canada and Mexico. Volumes in South America were less affected and are generally driven by port activities and fluctuating demand.


The market for truck transports in Asia experienced a volatile start in 2023. On the one hand, we observed Covid-19 recovery effects in China after the easing of restrictions; on the other hand, overall declining transport volumes in national trade can also be observed in Asia. The international land transport market is robust, but with lower growth rates than in 2021 and 2022.

Air freight

In 2023, the air freight market began with a significant decline in volume, especially as a result of the drop in the transatlantic and Pacific business. From April 2023, the fall in volume was less severe but still noticeable. The war in Ukraine, inflation and global economic uncertainties have a significant impact on consumer demand, and thus on transport demand. High inventories (especially in the USA) and the shift from air to ocean freight also have a negative impact on demand. The normalization of travel by increasing passenger flights heightens freight capacity and, together with the weak demand, is putting pressure on freight rates.

Ocean freight

In 2023, the capacity offered by ocean freight was characterized by the dissolving of all congestion, a high number of new ship orders, suspended departures and a reduction in travel speed. The level of excess capacity is mainly determined by the last two aspects as well as the possible scrapping of old ships. In the course of 2023, ocean freight rates have therefore continued to fall from their all-time high, but at a much slower pace than in previous months. This trend was largely expected by market participants. At the end of June 2023, rates were slightly above the pre-Covid-19 level.

Contract logistics

Growth in contract logistics has generally slowed due to the increasingly difficult environment. The key growth drivers remain the Industrial/Aerospace verticals (across all regions) and Automotive (primarily in America), while the Electronics vertical is showing a mixed picture (shrinking in APAC, rising in Europe) and the share of the Consumer/Retail vertical continues to decline.

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