German logistics provider BLG has reported growing volumes in its automotive processing with 5.4m vehicles handled in 2010 compared with 4.6m for the previous year.
Taken along with its container and retail business segments, and cost reductions made across the company, BLG saw pre-tax earnings more than double to more than €34m ($50m) on 2009 (€16.5m), with a sales turnover of just under €900m, up 9.6% on the previous year.
The increase was helped by the rise in German automotive production and significant growth in exports to Asia and the US. Vehicle production in Germany rose 12% to 5.5m in 2010 and the company has seen corresponding growth at its port terminals in Bremerhaven and Cuxhaven.
New business from Volkswagen has played its part with a contract awarded in Brazil for the export of vehicle parts worldwide. This follows on from a similar three-year contract awarded in 2010 by VW for the packaging and worldwide delivery of complete knockdown (CKD) units from its logistics centre situated on the port basin of Neustaeter Hafen in Bremen. BLG is dedicating 30,000m2 of warehouse space and 5,000m2 outside space at the centre (read more here).  
However, weak domestic demand and the end of the scrappage bonus scheme in Germany saw demand for finished vehicle imports drop severely and the company has made structural changes in response, including the temporary use of terminal areas at Bremerhaven for offshore wind energy.
On the positive side, BLG executive board member Manfred Kuhr highlighted the promise offered by the new Kaiserschleuse lock for Bremerhaven.
“Not only will it cater to the largest car ships now and in future, it is also suitable for the offshore plant assembly ships,” he said.
Growth markets targeted by BLG include Eastern Europe and the company has established an Eastern Europe strategy that includes a new rail terminal on the Belorussian border and a €10m investment in a rail terminal at Falkenberg close to the Czech border. It is already present in Russia, Poland, Ukraine, Slovenia the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and said it is planning to incorporate the Trans-Siberian railway into its transport network.
BLG has also reported on continued investment in rail, building on the investments it has made in newer, more environmentally-friendly carriages since 2008. By the end of 2013 the company expects to have procured 1,300 units, corresponding to 75 block trains. In 2010 BLG AutoRail transported 220,000 vehicles and expects that to rise to 320,000 this year.
Pictured from left to right Dr.-Ing. Bernd Lieberoth-Leden, chairman of the executive board, Contract division; Manfred Kuhr, vice chairman, Automobile division; Detthold Aden, president, CEO and chairman of the Executive Board; and Hillert Onnen; executive board division of the Chief Financial Officer.