Marcel Vogler: “Christmas trading period will be more challenging than ever”

Hamburg/Versmold. 07/10/2021. Almost two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, logistics market challenges continue to increase throughout Europe in the second half of 2021. The end of the lockdown in almost all European countries, coupled with activity ramping up across all sectors, has led to overall capacity demands far exceeding pre-COVID-19 levels for more than five months. Marcel Vogler, Executive Director Transport at Nagel-Group, explains Nagel-Group’s assessment of the current situation in the market, the challenges for the Christmas trading period, and the measures Germany’s largest food logistics company is taking.


Marcel Vogler, Executive Director Transport der Nagel-Group

Mr Vogler, the shortage of drivers is a pervasive problem. It is also becoming increasingly challenging to find skilled workers in logistics. How do you explain the situation?

The COVID-19 pandemic served as an accelerator for known developments in many areas. Last year, thousands of drivers and logistics workers, affected by the decline in volumes in specific sectors in the form of permanent or temporary lay-offs and short-time working, were forced out of the market prematurely and permanently. They have found other jobs that are now more attractive. For drivers, the desire to reconcile work and family means they are less willing to move and travel. The result is a further reduction in available foreign employees for the European market. The shortage of skilled workers and drivers in logistics has never been more noticeable. There is intense Europe-wide competition for these highly valuable employees.

Looking ahead, what do you expect for the upcoming Christmas trading period?

At the moment, global supply chains are severely disrupted. Thus, we are experiencing supply bottlenecks in almost all sectors. These lead to longer delivery times, make it challenging to plan, and result in price hikes. Food logistics and the upcoming high volume peak Christmas period are particularly affected by this. We have already exceeded the volumes usually seen during the Christmas period in the summer. The available capacities were insufficient to serve the demand side as reliably as usual. Volumes continue to rise, and the actual demand in the fourth quarter of 2021 can only be estimated. However, one thing is certain: it will be historically high. Not only that, but the short-term measures will be unable to meet demand fully. The 2021 Christmas trading period will be more challenging than ever.



How are you responding to the situation? Is there any improvement in sight?

Unfortunately, the outlook is sobering. Especially in relation to the driver shortage: in its latest study, the International Road Transport Union (IRU) forecasts a shortfall of around 185,000 drivers in Germany by 2027. According to the study, there is currently a shortfall of at least 60,000 drivers. The current situation in the UK is a stark reminder of where this can all lead. I think we need to do more to promote logistics and career opportunities at Nagel-Group. We also need to convey to people that it is an exciting profession in a systemically important industry. As a driver, you can make a good living and provide a critical service to society. At some point, this must also be recognised by society as a whole. However, at present, it is even a frequent challenge to convey logistics costs to the end customer. We need a different understanding if we want a stable supply chain and, in the future, climate-neutral logistics. This is a challenge that we as an industry must tackle together with our customers.


What is Nagel-Group’s outlook for the coming weeks?

Our mission is to ensure reliable supply chains for one of the most important industries – the food market – this drives us today as it has for decades. At Nagel-Group, we have refocused our priorities. We are now leveraging all central and decentralised resources available for the second half of the year to accomplish this goal in this historic Christmas season. It will not be easy, but we will do everything we can to prevent empty supermarket shelves.

Über die Nagel-Group

Die Nagel-Group mit Hauptsitz in Versmold/Ostwestfalen ist ein europaweit tätiges Familienunternehmen, das sich auf Lebensmittellogistik spezialisiert hat. Die Gruppe beschäftigt mehr als 12.000 Mitarbeiter an über 130 europäischen Standorten. Täglich transportiert sie europaweit rund 100.000 Lebensmittelsendungen aller Größen und Temperaturklassen. Damit ist das einzigartige Netzwerk führend in Deutschland und der führende Anbieter von temperaturgeführten Logistikdienstleistungen in Europa.

Ob Tiefkühlprodukte, Fleisch, Molkereiprodukte, Kaffee oder Süßwaren – Tag für Tag trägt die Nagel-Group im Auftrag von Industrie und Handel dazu bei, dass Verbraucher in ganz Europa die richtige Ware zur richtigen Zeit und in der richtigen Qualität am Point of Sale vorfinden. Auf diese Weise leistet die Nagel-Group einen wesentlichen Beitrag zum Erfolg ihrer Kunden. Das Leistungsspektrum reicht von Beschaffungslogistik, Transport und Distribution über Lagerhaltung, Kommissionierung und Verpackung bis hin zu Mehrwertdiensten wie Displaybau, Etikettierung und Verzollung. Lebensmittel werden in allen Temperaturklassen (von Ambient bis Tiefkühl) bewegt. Auch die gesamte Bandbreite an Sendungsgrößen findet ihren Weg durch das europäische Netzwerk der Nagel-Group: von Paketen über Stückgut, Teil- und Komplettladungen bis hin zu Tankwagenladungen. Eine sichere und leistungsfähige IT-Landschaft rundet den Service ab.

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Julian Mester
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T: +49 5423 960 641