Representatives expect small shipments currently sent by small van will be consolidated into larger loads, along with some move from accompanied to unaccompanied movements, and some modal shift to shortsea.
Increased demand for part-load logistics in post-Brexit trade played a part in DFDS’ acquisition of Netherlands-based Huisman Group.
In announcing the deal, Niklas Andersson, DFDS’ executive vice president and head of logistics division said: “Huisman Group is an excellent provider of part-load solutions between the Netherlands and the UK that complements our existing strong full-load business in these markets. We can now offer customers an even wider scope of solutions.”
A spokesperson for the Denmark-headquartered logistics group confirmed that the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, now likely to be on 31 January, and the effect this would have on supply chains was a factor in the Huisman takeover.
A spokesperson confirmed: “There is a Brexit element to it, as DFDS has until now not been strong in part-load logistics, but we expect part-load logistics to grow in importance in connection with Brexit, and with Huisman, we get critical mass in part-load business and will have a broader selection of services to offer our customers after Brexit.
“This comes in addition to our quite comprehensive preparations for Brexit, which among other this, include preparing to offer customs formalities services, informing our customers how to prepare, preparing IT-systems to communicate with customs, getting AEO status in the various countries.”
UK freight forwarding association BIFA agreed with the analysis of a growing demand for part-load services.
Robert Windsor, BIFA’s policy and compliance manager and executive director, said: “There are a variety of scenarios that are evolving within the Brexit environment and this is one, because I can foresee lots of small shipments which might have been sent by small van will be consolidated into larger loads but still less than full load.
“Within the market it is likely that we will see some move from accompanied to unaccompanied movements, and some modal shift to short sea.”
Windsor continued: “No one is sure how large the market will be and Department for Transport (DfT) figures have indicated some decline in cross-channel trade, but to what extent remains highly debatable.”
Huisman Group operations include warehouses and cross-docking facilities in Wijchen, the Netherlands, and Corby, England, as well as a fleet of around 55 trailers and 50 trucks. The company has 104 employees and annual revenues of €23m.