Global supply lines have recently been subject to wave after wave of unimaginable disruption due to trade disputes between superpowers, pandemic-related port closures, a container ship obstructing the Suez Canal, and most recently, war in Europe.
As a result, trade channels have been clogged, there is a significant lack of space, and the cost of shipping goods internationally has skyrocketed, leaving enterprises scurrying to secure essential deliveries and supplies.
Despite all of this uncertainty, cross-border trade’s volume and value surpassed pre-pandemic levels in 2021.
What you did was impressive. And it is in large part because of the efforts of the logistics firms working in the background to make sure that everything is delivered on time and according to plan. The Nippon Express Group, the largest global logistics service provider in Asia and one of the best examples of such successful adaption.
Toshiro Uchida, Senior Managing Executive Officer of the Global Business Headquarters for Nippon Express Holdings, states, “Throughout this period of extreme disruption, we have been working everyday on how to secure our clients’ supply chains.
As logistics experts, it was our responsibility to minimize delays and return things to normal for our clients.
Take the most recent commotion. Following the start of the crisis in Ukraine, the firm introduced a new train-ship route from China to Europe that avoided conflict areas by traveling through the Caspian Sea and Istanbul in the south. The Nippon Express Group used charter aircraft and different ports and routes earlier this year to get around Covid-related delays at Shanghai port, the biggest by trade volume in the world.
The Group has led industry trends in solutions for longer-term logistics sustainability and resilience in addition to providing such emergency responses. Reduced environmental impact of transportation, support for reshoring, and accelerated automation and digital transformation of warehousing and transportation are some of the answers.
Dynamic global growth
These efforts are bearing fruit. In pursuit of its goal to become “a logistics company with a strong footprint in the worldwide market,” the Nippon Express Group is making rapid progress.
“Our most significant management goal of global growth has been achieved very well over the previous three years,” claims Uchida.
The group’s overseas revenue for 2021 reached $6 billion1 (out of a total of $20.3 billion1), far above the $4.5 billion1 mid-term target established in 2019. The Nippon Express Group is making steady progress toward its goal of having half of all Group sales, estimated to reach $30 billion to $35 billion1 by 2037, the company’s centennial.
Overseas sales increased by more than 30% in 2021 compared to the previous year in each of the Group’s five core growth industries: electric and electronic, automotive, apparel, pharmaceutical/medical, and semiconductor. The impressive numbers show how the global forwarder is successfully meeting the changing requirements in the movement of products essential to our global economy.
The Nippon Express Group has been assisting automakers in the transition to EV production by establishing new operations and services in areas like Central and Eastern Europe and North Africa, which are emerging as important manufacturing hubs. The company has been extending domestic logistics services within the US and Taiwan in the semiconductor industry, where geopolitical pressures to re-shore and shorten supply chains remain substantial. The company has added new customers to its core electronics operations, including device makers, in part as a result of a novel strategy for managing worldwide major accounts that involves top-level executives directly.
Synergies and M&A activities are also paying off.
In order to create a global platform for pharmaceuticals based on international quality standards like GDP, Uchida thinks that his company’s recent acquisition of the US pharmaceutical logistics company MD Logistics is a critical step forward.
In order to provide a complete global solution for pharmaceutical logistics, we have already created a network infrastructure, including a digital platform, in Japan.
The company is in an excellent position to take advantage of the recovering post-pandemic demand in worldwide exports of both quick and high-end global garments thanks to its recent acquisitions of European luxury fashion logistics companies and collaborations with significant fast fashion companies.
Not just moving things
Despite the fact that the global logistics industry is becoming more crowded and competitive, the company is confident in its ability to outperform rivals and support the development of supply chains for its customers.
“By understanding the distinctive aspects of our clients’ goods inside and out, we are able to provide quality control in storage and delivery. Instead of viewing logistics as just moving goods, we are committed to providing our clients with custom business solutions, according to Uchida.
This mentality is supported by the Group’s planetary-wide material resources. The forwarder provides customers with a variety of carriers (shipping firms and airlines) and routes combining multi-modal transport that can assure efficient and adaptable cross-border shipments.
According to Uchida, the company’s strong position in terms of employees, purchasing power, and infrastructure for logistics services in Asia—one of the most crucial battlegrounds for forwarders—is equally significant.
The Group is even more committed to reducing the environmental impact of its logistical services with the mainstreaming of ESG. This entails encouraging the use of energy-efficient forms of transportation, such as rail and electric vehicles (EVs), as well as working with airlines to encourage the use of sustainable aviation fuels. A novel last-mile delivery service using a hydrogen-engine-powered boat in Venice, Italy—a city particularly vulnerable to climate change—is a recent innovation from the Nippon Express Group. Earlier this year, the Group quadrupled its goal to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 30% by 2023 compared to 2013.