The Association of European Vehicle Logistics (ECG) is appointing Frank Schnelle as its executive director, replacing Mike Sturgeon, who is retiring from the organisation. Schnelle will join the finished vehicle logistics trade association in April 2024 to begin the handover process.
Schnelle is an industry veteran of 30 years and was most recently head of finished vehicle logistics at Glovis Europe, a company he worked at for more than 13 years. He previously also worked for Adampol and BLG Logistics. Schnelle was replaced by Johan Staahlberg at Glovis Europe earlier this year.
Wolfgang Göbel, president of ECG for more than seven years, said: “After a more than successful and intense decade with our executive director Mike Sturgeon we are delighted to announce the imminent arrival of Frank Schnelle in the ECG team as the appointed successor of Mike in due course”.
Schnelle commented: “Since its establishment, ECG has demonstrated immense value, not only for its members but also for the entire FVL industry. A fact that has become particularly evident in recent years. It is both an honour and a commitment to take on the leadership of the association. I look forward to working with the team to continually advance the association in the best interest of our members.”
Schnelle told Automotive Logistics that the recruiting and retaining qualified staff across the finished vehicle sector was one of the main challenges the industry faced now. Without truck or locomotive drivers vehicle volumes go nowhere.
“It is a critical point for our sector but it is not only our sector that is suffering, we are competing with other sectors to get qualified personnel,” he said.
There is also the critical issue of sufficient capacity in European vehicle logistics, according to Schnelle. Many truck assets were sold during the Covid crisis and a lot of small to medium operators sold out to larger providers. Rail infrastructure problems in Germany are also causing headaches
What is also an issue for the finished vehicle sector is the move over the last few years by vehicle makers to own and operate their own dedicated truck fleets, something Schnelle said is contrary to the efficiency the finished vehicle sector prioritises.
“We need make sure we use the existing capacity as efficiently as possible,” he said. “So we need to make the OEMs understand that running their own truck fleet is not efficient as they cannot really optimise the flows. That is what the challenge is and it is a discussion we need to continue in the industry.”
Looking ahead to his new role Schnelle said he wants to intensify the collaboration with those OEMs. ”What I have seen from the perspective of Glovis and the Hyundai Motor Group (but also other OEMs) is that there is a different mindset coming from the OEMs, especially since the crisis.”
Supporting that discussion is one of strong points the ECG offers and Schnelle said that OEM participation and dialogue had become stronger in recent years.
“When you look at the conferences they are attended very well, with record numbers, and a lot of OEMs coming,” he said. “There is a different need from the OEMs now in dealing with the capacity crisis.”
This year’s ECG Conference takes place between October 12-13 in Copenhagen and the association said that Schnelle will be visible at its events leading up to his official appointmen