The deal is done - towards the end of August it became official that Basel, Switzerland based global 3PL and air cargo forwarder Panalpina has been fully acquired by the Danish DSV transport and logistics giant. The question in many minds is what will happen with the Panalpina product and its present managers.
Who is DSV?
The Danish company which was founded in 1976 in the small town of Skuldelev has managed in the past 43 years to grow and establish itself as a leading transport and logistics undertaking.
A simple start - resulting in what will become the world’s largest logistics and transport service provider. At least that’s what the industry experts are saying.
Ten small owner-operated hauliers in Denmark joined forces back in 1976 and decided that together they would be stronger than fighting individually against each other. They founded the De Sammensluttede Vognmaend (The Consolidated Hauliers) company, and since then have never looked back. Today, and 43 years later DSV, with the Panalpina acquisition, will employ around 60,000 staff in 90 countries and further consolidate what they term as their ‘one-stop‘ logistical shopping which is spread over their three main operating divisions.
These are Air & Sea Transport, Road Transport and offering Logistics Services and Warehousing Solutions. It is also interesting to note that DSV themselves do not own or operate their own transport equipment. This is fully outsourced to a large network of subcontractors across the globe where they operate more than 1,500 terminals, warehouses and offices.
Why take over Panalpina?
Information is that the takeover of the Swiss based company will cost DSV between US$4.6 - US$5.3 billion, but by doing so their annual revenue will be boosted up to US$17 billion.
Some may well say that Panalpina has become an ideal takeover candidate during the past couple of years. This because of their wide location network and their air cargo transport business which has extended to them utilising B747 freighters for themselves. Others might say that Panalpina has become somewhat stodgy as a company over the past years, with little forward movement, thereby listing themselves as a takeover candidate.
It makes no sense to speculate on whether either of the above are relevant. The deal is done and DSV, which has had its eye on Panalpina for the past couple of years, will have to decide how the consolidation process will be most profitable.
Panalpina name & management - disappearing?
It seems that the first moves have started in consolidating or thinning out management positions.
At the end of August, it was made known that Panalpina announced the first changes in their executive board. The Chief Commercial Officer (CCO), Karl Weyeneth, the Chief Legal Officer (CLO), Christoph Hess, Chief Information Officer (CIO), Ralf Morawietz, Executive VP Ocean Freight, Peder Winther, and Executive VP Air Freight, Lucas Kuehner - these four have resigned their positions within Panalpina. But some are expected to stay on board the merged company, maintaining senior management positions such as Mr Kuehner who has meanwhile been nominated Executive VP charter network and perishables at DSV Panalpina. It is expected that more changes will be made public in the near future.
The new company will officially be titled DSV-Panalpina - but for how long? Will we eventually see the Panalpina signs disappear from their buildings?
Some are already asking how this new set-up will affect shippers.
Generally speaking, such a merger of two large logistics companies should in effect offer their clients a better service with more attractive rates and a wider scope of locations. However, it could turn the other way if they are not fast enough or successful in turning “two into one” in a short period of time.
Both DSV and Panalpina businesses complement themselves in many ways and it can be expected that the DSV bosses have already had their heads together to ensure a smooth transition.
Let’s wait and see!
John Mc Donagh