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Activity in sea transport has grown significantly in the past year
The year 2019 brought many challenges to the logistics industry. Nevertheless, Raben Group closed it with an increase in revenue, with the bottom line exceeding €1.2 billion, and the list of successes includes the development of the European logistics network and expanding the connections with Germany.
Raben Group can consider the past year as a successful one. Budget plans were achieved with the revenue of €1.25 billion, which represents an increase of over 8.0% year-on-year. The main industries served by the company in 2019 were food (27.0%), consumer technologies (21.0%), automotive (20.0%), retail (12.0%) chemicals (11.0%), non-food FMCG (9.0%).
Raben has many long-term customers. Their business has been changing over the years and it is adapting to them. It is adding more and more locations and new countries to its European network; last year Bulgaria joined and it is also expanding the business in Germany and Italy. The Company aims to standardise its cross-docks across Europe. They should have the same set-up, the same processes and IT systems.
In 2019 many new direct lines from Raben Group countries to Germany were opened. Connections to Romania, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, the Baltic States, Ukraine and the East were also developing dynamically. In Italy, the Group has strengthened its cooperation with Sittam, in which it became the majority shareholder after increasing its stake to 51.0%. The Bertol family remains the owner of the 49.0% stake and the long-term shareholder of Sittam. Both owners decided to jointly increase the capital of Sittam, and additionally the management of the Italian operator was strengthened by Wojciech Brzuska, a Raben Group manager with over 20 years of experience in the TFL industry, who took over as CEO. Raben is currently investing heavily in the Italian market through innovative IT solutions, expansion of its domestic network and the development of international connections with other Group markets.
In November, the Raben family expanded to include Bulgaria, which means that the Group already operates in 13 markets in Europe with a network of 150 depots. The international HUB in Sofia and direct, daily connections with a partner network of six warehouses across the country not only allow the company to operate efficiently in this market, but also to open up new opportunities for development in the south-eastern part of the continent. And while the Group is taking its first steps in one part of Europe, in another it celebrates a round anniversary: Raben Lithuania has recently celebrated its 15th anniversary of operations.
Last year, in the European logistics network, traditionally the largest share of services provided by Raben Group was road transport (66.0%), followed by contract logistics (13.0%), FTL (8.0%), Fresh Logistics (8.0%), lead logistics provider (4.0%) and finally sea & air (1.0%). It is worth noting that sea transport in the past year started to develop very dynamically, and the Raben team dedicated to this sector has grown significantly. All of this confirms Raben Group's consistent efforts to build a European logistics network.
Raben Group's own independent transport network, operating since January 2018 in Germany, was expanded last spring with new depots. The logistics centre in Schüttorf in Lower Saxony has a cross-docking area of 4,500 m2 and it has 53 loading ramps for inbound and outbound goods. In Neumünster, Schleswig-Holstein, Raben Trans European Germany opened a depot with 750 m2 of warehouse capacity and eight loading ramps. This investment enabled the Group to provide more efficient services in northern Germany.
Finally, it is worth mentioning the completion of the two-and-a-half-year-long expansion of the Eisenach location, which was enriched with modern warehouses, a workshop with a truck wash and new offices. As a result of the €6.5 million investment, Raben Group currently has 40.0% more warehouse capacity in Eisenach at its disposal; four logistics warehouses, two cross-dock warehouses and 74 loading docks in total. The aim is to increase the operator's presence in Thuringia.
In November 2019, an agreement was reached on Raben Group's acquisition of the German group Fenthol & Sandtmann, which includes FKL & Kraftverkehr Ehrig. Raben acquired the remaining 50.0% of the shares of the Company it had cooperated with on a joint venture basis since 2011, which now makes it its sole shareholder. As a result of the transaction, Raben Group took over the distribution centres of Fenthol & Sandtmann in Hamburg, Erlensee, Leipzig and Dresden together with the employees.
On this market an important role will be played by direct daily connections with other countries of the Group, particularly between Poland and Germany, whose main objective is to double the number of shipments in the coming years.
“Germany is the largest and the most important trading partner for Poland so the expansion of the network of depots on that market goes hand in hand with increasing the frequency of connections. Raben groupage transport between Poland and Germany currently consists of 90 daily linehauls.” - explains Łukasz Lubański, Director for Polish-German Market Development in Raben Group. – “The dynamics of development of these connections gives us good reasons to be satisfied: the results show an increase in orders at the level of 30% year-on-year.”
Raben Transport generated record revenue in 2019. The biggest company of the Group, Raben Logistics Polska, also noted outstanding results as last year. In 2020 the logistics industry will continue to develop despite many challenges. In Poland, the most serious of these will continue to be the rising costs of the labour market as well as the burdens resulting from new, anticipated regulations. These changes will affect the whole market and all industries, and therefore it will be necessary to reach close cooperation and understanding in the whole supply chain to hone logistics processes together. Logistics will be expected to change, improve and take a new approach to business through innovation, automation, advanced forms of data exchange and environmental activities. Only financially stable companies with modern development potential and a strong IT and research team will be able to meet this challenge.
In Poland, in terms of investments in facilities, 2019 was better than the previous year. In May, a modern warehouse with an area of 21,000 m2 was opened in Robakowo near Poznań. Thanks to this, Raben Group now operates the Logistics Centre in Gądki with 120,000 m2 of warehouse space, with the possibility of storing 185 thousand pallets, almost 18,000 m2 of cross-dock area and 5,000 m2 of production space. The new logistics warehouse with the capacity of 41,000 pallets has been divided into five zones, including specialised ones which allow for the storage of aerosols or oxidants, which required the application of state-of-the-art safety and fire protection solutions. The facility is also designed for running co-packing projects.
A few weeks later a branch of Raben Group in Kielce was opened, which took over the business of a location in nearby Starachowice, too small to meet the growing needs of the customers. A modern, ecological facility with the capacity of 5,000 m2, designed for transport and cross-docking services, handles on average over 24,000 shipments and about 50,000 pallets per month. Thanks to these investments, the Company's operational capabilities have significantly increased.
In turn, for Fresh Logistics Polska specialising in the transport of fresh products, the year 2019 was marked by continuous business improvement within the Better Every Day programme based on the Lean Management philosophy. As many as 18 optimisation projects were carried out, thus increasing the effectiveness of services and responding to the growing expectations of customer.