Dachser acquire Spanish logistics firm Transunion
The Transunion acquisition is part of Dachser's Global 2.0 strategic growth program to expand its logistics network worldwide for greater reach and value for customers. "The acquisition of the complementary Transunion network allows us to offer our customers even better access to the Latin American market as well as an excellent presence in mainland Spain and Turkey," said managing director Thomas Reuter, who is responsible for the Dachser Air & Sea Logistics business division.
Founded in 1978, Transunion (TU) is expected to post revenue of €95 million in fiscal 2012. With a total staff of 235, the Spanish forwarder has nine offices in Spain in addition to representations in Turkey, Argentina, Peru and Mexico. The company has been a market leader in the U.S.-Spain transatlantic tradelane since its opening..
"The combination of Dachser and Transunion offers U.S. shippers a complete, integrated transportation package including air and ocean transport, import and export, logistics and warehouse solutions as well as customs brokerage services," said Frank Guenzerodt, President and CEO of Dachser USA.
Dachser now considers itself well-positioned in the Spanish market following the buyout of Azkar in the overland freight market announced last month. The two acquisitions enable the company to cover nearly all areas of logistics on the Iberian Peninsula.
“We are delighted that the shareholder families of TU have decided to shape the future of the company as an integral part of Dachser,” Reuter says.
For his team and himself, CEO Federico Camáñez, who has in particular decisively influenced the international development of Transunion over the past 20 years, sees the merger with Dachser as both a challenge and an opportunity for customers and staff. He will continue to be responsible for the management of the entire group and will report directly to Thomas Reuter.
Dachser now considers itself well-positioned in the Spanish market following the buyout of Azkar for the overland freight segment announced just last month. The two transactions enable the company to cover nearly all areas of logistics on the Iberian Peninsula.
”Dachser and Transunion are not only well matched by virtue of their services portfolio in the air and sea freight segment. The fact that both companies are family enterprises also means that they have a very similar mindset,” Reuter says, explaining the rationale behind the merger. Both management and staff will continue to service their customers’ respective markets as competent experts.
The two companies have already cooperated for over 15 years. For the owners of Transunion the most important consideration is to secure the company’s continued existence and the future of its staff within an internationally expanding logistics provider like Dachser
Driver shortages: Why the industry needs to be worried
While driver shortages are a global problem, with a recent survey from the International Road Transport Union suggesting that driver shortages are expected to increase by 25% year-on-year across its 23 member countries, the issue has very much made itself felt for UK businesses in recent weeks.
A perfect storm of factors, which many within the industry have been wary of, and warning about, for months, have led to a situation wherein businesses are suddenly facing significant difficulties around transporting goods to shelves on time, as well as inflated operating costs for doing so.
What’s more, the public may also see price rises as a result due to demand outmatching supply for certain product lines, which in turn brings with it the risk of customer dissatisfaction and a hit to brand and stakeholder reputation. Given that this price inflation has been speculated to hit in October, when the extended grace period on Brexit customs checks comes to an end, the worst may be yet to come.
"Steps must be taken to make a career in the industry a more attractive proposition for younger drivers, which will require a joint effort from government, industry bodies, and the sector as a whole"
That said, we have already been hearing reports of service interruption due to lack of driver availability, meaning that volumes aren’t being transported, or delivered, to required schedules and lead times. A real-world example of this occurred on the weekend of 4-6 June with convenience retailer Nisa, with deliveries to Nisa outlets across the UK affected by driver shortages to its logistics provider DHL.
But where has this skills shortage stemmed from?
Supply is the primary issue. Specifically, the number of available EU drivers has decreased by up to 15,000 drivers due to Brexit alone, and this has been further exacerbated by drivers returning to their home country during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as changes to foreign exchange rates making UK a less desirable place to live and work. This, alongside the recent need to manage IR35 tax changes, has also led to significant inflation in driver and transport costs.
COVID-19 complications have also meant that there have been no HGV driver tests over the past year, meaning the expected 6,000-7,000 new drivers over the past year have not appeared. With the return of the hospitality sector we understand that this is a significant challenge with, for instance, order delivery lead times being extended.
It is little surprise, therefore, that the Road Haulage Association (RHA) earlier this month became the latest in a long line of industry spokespeople to write to the government about the driver shortage for trucks. The letter echoed the view held by much of the industry, that the cause of this issue is both multi-faceted and, at least in some aspects, long-standing.
So, many in the industry are in agreement as to the driving factors behind this crisis. But what can be done?
Simply enough, outside of businesses completely reorganising their supply chain network, external support is needed. In the short-term, the government should consider providing the industry with financial aid, and this can also be supported more widely with legislative change.
Specifically, immigration policy could be updated to place drivers on the shortage occupations list, which would go some way towards easing the burden created by foreign drivers returning to their home countries. Looking elsewhere, government should also look for ways to increase the availability of HGV driver tests after the blockage created by the coronavirus lockdowns.
Looking more long-term, steps must be taken to make a career in the industry a more attractive proposition for younger drivers, which will require a joint effort from government, industry bodies, and the sector as a whole. As it stands, multiple sources suggest that the average age of truck drivers in the UK is 48, with only one in every hundred drivers under the age of 25. We must therefore do more to increase the talent pipeline coming into the industry if we are to offset more significant skills shortages further down the line.
On the back of a turbulent year for the supply chain industry, it has become increasingly clear that the long-foretold shortage of drivers is now having a tangible and, in places, crippling effect on supply chains.
Drivers, and the wider supply chain industry, have rightly been recognised for the seismic role they played in keeping the nation moving and fed over the past year under unprecedented strain. If this level of service is to continue, we must now see Government answer calls to provide the support the sector needs, and work hand-in-hand with the industry to find a solution. If we do not see concrete action to this effect soon, we are likely to be in for a turbulent few months.
Rob Wright is executive director at SCALA, a leading provider of management services for the supply chain and logistics sector