Last week Daimler held its annual European Carrier Day at the Mercedes-Benz truck plant in Wörth, Germany. The latest Actros truck, which has been coming off the line there since September formed the backdrop for presentations and awards that actually extended over two days, filled with reassuring economic forecasts, brand promises and new logistic tenders for 2012.
While Daimler dealt out reprimands in the wake of poor performance results during a difficult couple of years for the industry there were also accolades for those carriers that had shown exemplary services.
First up was the European Carrier Award 2011 for passenger vehicle deliveries, which went this year to UK-based ECM (Vehicle Delivery Services). It marked the first time a carrier from the UK has won the award. ECM’s managing director, Ray Macdowall (pictured second right) was pleased to accept the award. “ECM is extremely proud of receiving this most coveted of European industry awards,” MacDowall told Finished Vehicle Logistics. “The sense of achievement in winning the Daimler Carrier Award is significantly enhanced by the very high standards required and the geographic spread of Daimler's European supplier base.”
ECM is a long-standing provider of delivery service to Daimler, annually transporting around 90,000 passenger cars from the ports of Purfleet, Killingholme and Portbury to the UK dealer network. 
“At ECM, we have a desire to set the benchmark for performance in our industry as suppliers of vehicle logistic services, by providing consistently high on-time delivery ratios and consistently low damage ratios,” said MacDowall. “We aim to match these high standards, in key performance areas of our business, with a responsive management team and a ‘can do’ attitude to problem solving and to meeting the requirements of special requests.”
German carrier Braase Spedition and Logistik took the European Carrier Award 2011 in the category of commercial vehicle delivery. The award was accepted by the company’s CEO Dirk Zernitz (pictured second left). The commercial vehicle side of the Daimler’s carrier business has remained more stable in terms of delivery results than passenger cars over the last year, at around 60% on target according to Daimler's own KPI index. It showed an upturn in the third quarter of 2011.
There was also a Special Award 2011 for Helf Automobil-Logistik, based in Essen, Germany, in recognition of the commitment shown by its founder Willi Helf who unfortunately died in 2011. The company has been a regular winner at the European Carrier Awards and Egon Christ (first right) recognised the consistency of performance as an extraordinary achievement, as well as pointing out his personal experience of Willi Helf ‘s honesty, reliability and friendliness. “Helf was also a very successful business manager and he was resolute, ambitious and successful,” he added. The award was accepted by CEO Alfred Walde (pictured centre) on behalf of the company.
With those examples of success Christ said that, though times had been tough, there was no reason for pessimism and appealed to the carrier community to join Daimler in looking forward with confidence. Forecasts presented at the event suggested that growth would continue in 2012.
Acknowledging that there were problems in financing and investment for carriers, Christ called for a greater faith in market recovery and said he hoped the economic forecasts at the event would engender this because Daimler was suffering from a lack of capacity. He called on carriers to develop a more multimodal approach to deal with its expected volume increases in 2012 and solve the bottlenecks that have been affecting distribution targets over the last couple of years.
A full report on the European Carrier Day 2012 will be published in the January-March edition of Finished Vehicle Logistics magazine.