„Deliver what we promise” – How LCL Sea Freight supports shippers in these challenging times

While the Global Seafreight market is still under tremendous pressure given the lack of cargo capacities and the overall high rate level, we at Hellmann focus continuously on our customers to offer solutions. We met Mr. Christian Kruse, Regional Head of LCL Europe, to discuss the current market situation, its challenges & opportunities, and to give an outlook for 2022 as well.

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Christian Kruse, Regional Head of LCL Europe

Christian, you joined the Hellmann F.A.M.I.L.Y. a couple of months ago. What is your background and what was your first impression of our company?

I joined Hellmann in May as Regional Head of LCL Europe. Before, I worked for several other global freight forwarders in similar positions, always in Sea Freight Management. Since 2008 I specialized in LCL Product Management. It’s good to be back at a family-owned company with a solid foundation, to interact with great people who strongly believe in our F.A.M.I.L.Y DNA, and together as a team, we can deliver value to our customers as well as excellent service.

In these challenging times, how do you see the current Sea freight market?

These challenges we are facing right now nobody has seen before. Capacities are overbooked and it’s difficult in general to get space for the customers and LCL is the part of it. We cannot take on board all the volumes we want and book new containers without limits. We identify our demand for space and equipment carefully and procure the capacities that we require with our subcontractors. Although the situation is complex we always look for solutions for our customers and we clearly have the ambition to grow our business despite the current complexities and limitations.

Do you think the global situation is getting back to normal? When?

Not long ago we expected that after Chinese New Year 2022 the situation will ease a bit but seeing the fact, how shipping lines handle blank sailings and manage capacities, and how new developments add to the crisis, I do not expect the market environment to ease much. We will not see the „old normal” anymore and long-term planning has to adapt to these challenges. Therefore, we have to make our planning more flexible. We at Hellmann with our 150 years of history have continuously adapted to changing circumstances and we truly believe with our dedicated, professional team we are able to find solutions for our customers.

How can LCL still provide solutions while the FCL market is quite demanding nowadays?

Adding 10 new FCL customers on, let’s say, the Shanghai to Rotterdam lane, we would need to provide space for 10 containers. If we onboard 10 new LCL customers we would only need to add one container instead. Even in this turbulent market environment, this is well manageable for us. Another example would be: FCL shippers who are able to split their shipments into smaller batches and a higher number of shipments will still be able to get on board with our LCL product while their FCL volumes may only get partially accepted or may have to wait several weeks.

FCL shippers who are able to split their shipments into smaller batches and a higher number of shipments will still be able to get on board with our LCL product.

What is the main benefit we can offer to our customers?

It is our idea to provide our LCL customers with a product experience that is rather steady as we focus on counterbalancing the sometimes extreme market volatility. That helps our customers to focus their time, efforts, and energy on other logistical topics they might have in Airfreight, FCL, Rail, etc. We have dedicated Hellmann teams across the globe, we find it very important that we care well for our customers with fast and reliable information, internally and externally. Reliability and effective communication are key factors we work for every day.

What are the main strengths Hellmann can provide to support the customers in the best possible way?

As a global service provider with 150 years of experience, the many long-term relationships with our partners, I think is our biggest strength. Our alliances are strong enough to be able to serve our customers in these challenging times. We are proud that we are a solution-oriented company with high customer focus and to keep what we promise. In these times I think it is very important to have reliable partners, strong contributions and together we can achieve the goal and get better every day.

What are the main trade lanes you focus on in Europe? We heard about the LCL Transatlantic campaign, can you tell us a bit more about that?

We are developing all trade lanes to and from Europe. On the Transatlantic trade specifically, our customers are having the possibility now to keep a steady cargo flow with the US while the FCL capacity from Europe to the US is basically fully utilized. With our LCL product, we offer shipping opportunities for smaller quantities with regular departures. On the cost side, customers benefit from paying only for the space their cargo requires. Hellmann has been active for years in the transatlantic trade. We are a known provider to the different vertical industries and customers. We can provide Door-to-Door service completely managed by our Hellmann branches, limiting down the interfaces between different providers.

Thank you!

Xenia Csoka

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