Swiss logistics provider Panalpinaintends to further expand its Asiannetwork, especially in China because"this is where the future key markets are and where a growing number of our customers are building production sites or plan to establishing new offices," Panalpina’s CEO, MonikaRibar said.
As a globally acting logistics firm it isa must for her company to follow wheretheir clients move, she added.Another region Panalpina is focusingon is the CIS countries and Siberia.There, the oil and gas business is soaringand as a consequence the supplyof drilling equipment, spare parts andtools, has become a vital issue to keepthe wells running. "We already had andstill have a number of projects in thatarea and more are certainly to come,"said Ribar.
To feed the central Asian drillingholes with machinery parts and otherneeded equipment, Panalpina managesthe flow of the drilling goods with itsown controlled airfreight network fromHouston via its hub in Luxembourgand its sub-hub at Baku Airport in Azerbaijan.There, local carriers like AzalAvia Cargo take on the transit goods tocarry them to their final destinationswithin that region.
Meanwhile, another project thathas caught the interest of Panalpina’stop executives is the participation intranscontinental cargo trains that areplanned to link China with Germany.The idea stems from Deutsche BahnAG logistics arm Schenker, which experimentedwith this mode of transportabout a year ago. The outcome is that"running these freight trains is feasibleif the border controls by the customsauthorities and some other technicaland bureaucratic hurdles can be eliminated,"said Deutsche Bahn’s head oflogistics, Norbert Bensel.
Compared to sea transport, the trainsare faster but the rates per tonne arealso somewhat higher. Bensel stressedthat Schenker does not intend to fillthe freight containers exclusively, butwould welcome the collaboration withother agents who are invited to utilisethis railroad link as well.
"To me the project is interesting and if it provides a good alternative we would certainly evaluate our participation," Panalpina’s Ribar said.
"If it helps to improve our service offerings we wouldn’t shy away just because one of our competitors is involved."
Asked about the asset managementof her company, she said that shehas ruled out any plans of investingin freighter aircraft, like Panalpina’srivals DHL or TNT do. "Fact is thatwe don’t possess the necessary knowhowto really run a cargo carrier andwe also don’t want to do it as it’s notour core business. I don’t see any realneed either because we are doing verywell with our preferred carrier concept,which defines a portfolio of abouttwenty capacity providers worldwide,among them partners such as AF-KLCargo, Lufthansa Cargo, Cargolux andMartinair."
Being a reliable partner for theseairlines is a valuable asset too, she remarked.Of course they have to offercompetitive rates. "However, of greaterimportance is the reliability and theconsistency of their service packagethat they are offering to their clients."That is why Panalpina doesn’t jumpfrom one cargo airline to the next justbecause of sudden spot market offers,Mrs. Ribar said.
– Heiner Siegmund