The “SCHENKER” brand has been a synonym for stability, reliability and professionalism in the area of freight and logistics services for almost 140 years. Over this time, the small family firm of Swiss entrepreneur and founder of groupage service, Gottfried Schenker, has become the second largest logistics group in the world, DB Schenker, which today works as one team to fulfil its fundamental commitment, “Supporting firms on their way to success” in 130 countries around the world. In the Czech Republic too, it stands at the fore of the logistics field. The work of DB Schenker was described to us in more detail by Tomáš Holomoucký, CEO of SCHENKER spol. s r.o., based in Rudná, just outside Prague.
SCHENKER spol.s r.o.
K Vypichu 1087 252 19 Rudná u Prahy Czech Republic
“Our company is part of the global logistics network, DB Schenker, one of the top providers of integrated logistics,” says Ing. Tomáš Holomoucký. “Our services include provision of road, rail, air and sea freight and contractual logistics. We are professionals in management of comprehensive supply chains with long-term experience and strong back-up. Our customers can rely on us in more than 130 countries around the world, including the Czech Republic, where we have 18 branches in all regions.”
1/ You are a member of the DB Schenker group. What is your status within the group?
We represent the global logistics network in this country; our task is not only to contribute to achieving the commercial goals of the DB Schenker group, but primarily to ensure a high quality of services and reliability for the DB Schenker customers within the Czech Republic. This country plays a significant role, because due to its position in the centre of Europe, well-developed transport infrastructure and qualified workforce, it offers excellent conditions for foreign investors. Many of our multi-national customers are relocating their central distribution warehouses.
2/ This year your company celebrated its 20 anniversary of its establishment in the Czech Republic. Can you pick out 3 to 5 key moments in your history?
We are very proud that our 20 years of existence on the Czech market has been a success. From one branch and 4 employees we have expanded to have 18 branches, 10 of which are large logistics centres, with 850 employees. Our annual turnover exceeds 3 billion crowns. If I was to name the main milestones in the evolution of our company, it would be the year 1997 when we merged with the Swedish haulage corporation, BTL AB (called Scansped in the Czech Republic) and significantly penetrated the markets in Scandinavia and the Baltic States. Next would be the year 2003, when we became part of the Deutsche Bahn corporation, thereby gaining a strong basis and know-how in the field of rail freight. Another milestone was definitely 2004, when the Czech Republic acceded to the European Union. That brought with it a huge economic boom and expansion of logistics. During the first two years in the EU, the volumes of freight grew by 80%, and we introduced daily connections to many European countries. The last important milestone which I would mention was integration of the American logistics operator, Bax Global in 2006. Thanks to this, we significantly penetrated the North American market and Asia.
3/ You offer a wide range of products and services: land, rail, air, sea, contractual logistics, oversize transport, trade fairs and exhibitions, sports logistics, customs clearance. Which of these plays “first fiddle” and which brings in the largest turnover?
You have named the whole range of our services. Our strong side is the fact that we can offer such a comprehensive service and our ability to interconnect these services, thereby creating an integrated logistics solution to suit the needs of the customer. In view of the fact that the Czech Republic is a landlocked country, the greatest volume of goods and the greatest turnover is generated by road freight. Immediately after this comes sea transport and contractual logistics. Rail transport is developing very promisingly, increasing by five times in 2010. Air freight, which is used mainly for transporting more valuable goods, does not generate such a large volume, but creates high profits. Trade fair and sports logistics are mainly prestigious affairs, revealing the scope of our know-how.
4/ Who ranks among your key but also long-term customers?
They are players at the forefront of the consumer electronics field, successful suppliers to the automotive industry, companies and manufacturing ventures. Unfortunately we cannot name any of our customers without their consent, but it should be enough to say that our customers include three of the five largest manufacturers in the consumer electronics field.
5/ Let’s take a look at your economics… Can you compare your financial results for 2010 with this year’s?
We have followed up on the successful year 2010, where we showed a return of volumes and for the first time exceeded the 3 billion crown mark in turnover, with an even more successful year 2011. In all economical parameters we have recorded growth of approximately 20 %, in profitability this has been tens of percent. The enormous growth in profits is caused by being able to partially reset the prices which fell during the crisis period of 2008 – 2009 to rock bottom. Another factor of the growth in profits was increased productivity and continuing economising measures in overheads.
6/ How do you rate the logistics market in the Czech Republic from a quantitative and quality point of view?
Thousands of entities operate on the Czech logistics market, from small transport firms to large, multi-national companies. The market is therefore not easy to interpret and there is a wide range of price and quality. Although the crisis flushed out companies with a weak foundation or erratic economic management, even so, a large number of entities remain on the market whose quality fluctuates. I expect that the market will undergo further concentration. Customers who need stable and sustainable logistic solutions will sooner or later turn to one of the big market players.
7/ Could you disclose the vision for further development of your company, what you want to pay most attention to in 2012, where your development is heading?
If I pass over the continual processes within DB Schenker, such as investment into developing the global network, increasing the quality of services, introduction of new technologies and widening the range of “green” logistic solutions, we intend to concentrate on development of our full-trucks and partloads services. We want to concentrate on the network solution of these direct transports so that we are fully loaded in both directions and so able to be more competitive pricewise. Even though our European fleet intended for direct transports already exceeds the capacity of our competitors, there is still room for improvement in the system solution of this service. That is why we can see great commercial potential for the future. As far as the Czech Republic is concerned, we plan to build a new central transhipment station and company headquarters. Investments will be over ½ billion crowns. Thanks to the new terminal we will gain new and modern capacity and be able to continue improving the quality of our cross-docking operations.