2021 was a more than successful year for the digital cross-border e-Commerce logistics service provider, with sales exceeding 2020 figures by 500 percent. An automated sorter was put into operation at Frankfurt Airport, so that significantly more volumes can be handled in the same amount of time. Meanwhile the e-Commerce business is back to normal but heyworld aims to increase its market presence fast.
The E-commerce market is contracting in Germany, but volumes are currently still 15% above those handled in 2020. "What we see is a normalization of the growth rate,” is how heyworld CEO Timo Schamber describes the current situation. Therefore, the order of the day is to consolidate and scale heyworld’s business model. This also gives the employees the chance for taking a breather, who were kept extremely busy in handling the burgeoning day-to-day business during the last two years.
However, the current calmness is likely to change quickly. The “culprit” is Timo Schamber who has new plans in his drawer to establish heyworld as a global brand and enter new markets.
Step 1: ... focusses on the utilization of the Lufthansa belly network on intra-European routes. heyworld managed to get access to the passenger fleet’s lower decks for distributing its own e-Commerce shipments. These consist of smaller and unpalletized package, easily to be loaded or unloaded very quickly in any aircraft. "We took a close look at the Lufthansa Group's EU-wide belly network. The surprising result: there are many routes standing on the flight plan where air freight doesn’t play any role,” the manager wonders. It’s unutilized capacity that now will be partially filled with e-Commerce shipments. "We managed to open up these flights for heyworld," confirms Mr. Schamber.
The name for the product has already been found - EU Express. Delivery times trail those offered by integrators, but only marginally, at comparatively attractive prices. To secure fast and seamless transportation on the last mile, heyworld intends to collaborate with local partners. In the case of Athens’ flights, for instance, it could be the Greek postal service. Alike alliances will be set up in other countries based on reliability and the fast distribution of goods.
The test phase has begun, confirms Mr. Schamber. EU Express will be officially kicked off in Q 1 or Q2, 2023, provided the trials run according to expectation. Part of the program is the inclusion of Austrian Airlines, and Brussels Airlines in the EU Express program.
Step 2: Turkey has lately attracted the attention of heyworld. It is one of Europe’s fastest growing markets for e-commerce exports. According to Timo Schamber, the first export shipments have already been successfully accomplished. For granting local feeder services, heyworld is collaborating with the Turkish Post (PTT). In addition to lower deck capacity of Lufthansa’s pax flights, heyworld can utilize the main deck of an A321 freighter serving Istanbul and operated by LH Cargo.
Many of the Turkey originating e-Commerce shipments are addressed to U.S. consignees. So they must be transferred at Frankfurt from regional to intercontinental flight. Which leads to the next item on heyworld’s market expansion agenda:
… and Canada
Step 3: …North America. In the U.S., the e-commerce business is burgeoning. The dollar is strong, making imports financially attractive, stimulating consumer demand. This pushes cross-border e-Commerce volumes up, stemming from Turkish suppliers, for instance. This trade lane has gained increasingly buyer attention through China’s rigid lockdown policy coupled with constant supply chain disruptions. A trend that also applies to Canada, albeit to a lesser extent.
The Canadian market will now be incorporated into heyworld’s own delivery network. "Canada is high on our agenda,” confirms Mr. Schamber. There, a service partner is now being sought for the last mile – nationwide. In principle, only two providers are suited for this task: The Postal Service and FedEx. However, Mr. Schamber keeps his lips tight. All he says is this: "From what I know is that the quality of last-mile delivery in Canada is excellent.”
heyworld will start doing business there in the first or second quarter of next year.
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