[DACHSER] A discussion with Samuel Haller, Country Manager for Air & Sea Logistics Switzerland
This year, Thailand and Switzerland are celebrating 90 years of bilateral trading relationships.
Mr Haller, how important is the Thai market for Switzerland?
Thailand, with a trading value of around CHF 10.5 billion, is Switzerland's second most important trading partner in Southeast Asia. There are around 15,000 Swiss nationals living in Thailand, and over 200 companies with a Swiss connection and several thousand jobs based in Thailand. Technical talks are currently being held between the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and Thailand on the framework conditions for potential negotiations on a free trade agreement. An agreement such as this would offer a range of advantages to small and medium-sized companies, (SMEs for short) in Switzerland.
Before COVID-19 hit, over 200,000 Swiss tourists a year travelled to Thailand. 150,000 Thai tourists visited Switzerland every year. This also boosted the demand for Swiss goods in Thailand.During the pandemic, there was a particular increase in demand for medical equipment and pharmaceutical items.
What are the main challenges in the COVID-19 crisis for shipments to/from Thailand?
In a range of industries, government lockdown measures have resulted in production stoppages, decreased sales and supply chain disruptions. Travel restrictions worldwide have massively reduced air freight volumes. The maritime freight market has not been spared either. Capacity bottlenecks, equipment shortages and schedule delays have impacted and continue to impact supply chains that were already under strain. They have also pushed up transportation prices. In trade between Asia and the USA and Europe, respectively, maritime freight rates have risen by over 300% in the last 18 months, and there is no improvement in sight until after the Chinese New Year 2022. High logistics costs have affected the entire global economy in terms of raw materials, semi-finished goods and finished goods.
What can Dachser do for its customers in this situation?
We stay in very close contact with all our customers. We aim to offer competitive prices to our customers with our worldwide transport network. We have a Europe-wide road logistics network for procurement and distribution. If necessary, we can also offer warehousing solutions. By using our own services, we are in complete control of the entire transport logistics process, which reduces uncertainty.
We also provide our clients with support in an advisory capacity based on our own data analysis by assessing supply chain risks and performing predictive analysis.
Can you explain that in more detail?
Close cooperation within our company, which has an international presence, enables us to routinely provide our customers with the latest market updates; these are highly relevant and often budget-changing for them. For example, our own charter programme and long-term maritime freight space reservations mean that we can try to alleviate our reliance on freight capacity. For example, Dachser has guaranteed space booked on flights between Bangkok and Frankfurt, and pre-booked space on ships sailing between Hamburg and Bangkok.
Our expertise and industry knowledge means that we proactively offer our clients scenario planning, where we show all possible options in a structured way, with visual representations for ease of understanding. This transparency gives clients the tools they need to accurately assess costs and risks in order to make efficient decisions. Based on each customer's requirements, we advise tham which option we judge to have the best cost efficiency. Sometimes it costs more to ship with a premium option, but ultimately the shortened, reliable transit time can maximise cost efficiency. In the wake of the pandemic, cutting costs no longer seems to be the top priority for procurement managers. Digital transformation and innovation are also key drivers for sustainable growth.
We always encourage our customers to send shipment data via EDI for higher accuracy and faster processing. We also offer our customers integrated solutions with globally standardised processes to avoid additional risks along the supply chain.
Thanks for this talk.