Germany - Leading The Way In International FreightGermany - Leading The Way In International Freight

Germany is actually the largest exporter of merchandise in the world, with a string of famous brands in the luxury automobile sector such as Porsche, Mercedes- Benz and BMW, as well as Audi and Volkswagen also delivering well engineered car exports right across the globe.

The fame of these luxury brands is legendary and they have become symbols of engineering excellence, an industry in which Germany is truly world class. Little wonder then that in order to serve this buoyant and high value export trade, the freight services market has developed in tandem and is able to provide a very high level of service, with a number of specialist facilities offered from a wide range of freight forwarders.

These top of the range car exports are perhaps the best known of German exports but they are certainly not the only ones. In 2007, Germany exported nearly 1.5 trillion dollars of goods, spanning a wide range of sectors. The strength of the export sector helps compensate for sluggish domestic demand. In fact, German companies derive one third of their total revenue from exports. The international freight sector has developed in order to underpin this thriving trade and freight transport operates efficiently at all levels.

Vehicles are the largest single sector within export trade, followed by industrial machinery and chemicals. Medicinal, dental and pharmaceutical preparations are also a large sector, as well as scientific, medical and hospital equipment.

Many of these products require specialist care during freight forwarding, for example in terms of temperature control or especially safe packaging, and the freight company or shipping company operating to and from Germany will be sure to do their utmost to ensure that these factors are all taken care of.

Germany conducts more than half of its trade with the other countries in the European Union, followed in terms of importance by the United States, Canada, European countries that are not in the European Union (such as Switzerland and Iceland) and Japan. So there are a growing number of international freight services and shipping companies serving these countries.

The single most important trading partner for Germany is France, then closely followed by the United States. France accounts for over 10% of all of Germany's exports, with the United States accounting for just under 10%. These countries are then followed in terms of magnitude by Italy and the United Kingdom, both accounting for around 6% of total exports, then Belgium, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, China and the neighbouring country Austria.

The strength of international trade with other countries in the European Union is in line with the policy objective of the European Union to build trade as much as possible within the countries making up the European Union and also reflects the World Trade Organisation ambition of increasing global trade liberalization.

As well as with other European Union countries, there is also growing German trade with China and Russia. In fact, there is particular emphasis on building exports to Russia and it is interesting to note that Germany is already Russia's leading trade partner, particularly in the energy sector. Meanwhile, China has now overtaken Japan as Germany's top trade partner in Asia and Germany has been making significant investment in China as its economy expands. So the freight services sector has seen considerable growth in activity between these countries.

The fastest growing exports to the United States are precious metals (especially copper), railway equipment, television receivers, DVDs and other video equipment.

The United States is the second largest trading partner for Germany after France. The total value of trade between the United States and Germany is approaching 100 billion dollars, with Germany exporting approximately twice as much as it imports. Imports making up international freight from the United States include aircraft, telecommunications equipment, electrical goods and motor vehicle parts.

Given this picture of export strength and its pivotal role in the economy of Germany, Germany has a policy of aiming to reduce trade barriers at all levels, including any involving tariffs. This policy also extends to a progressive transport policy that helps support freight transport to and from the country. These policies at central level will continue to ensure that Germany remains a leading world exporter as its trading partners emerge from recession. There can be no doubt that the freight forwarders that serve the German market will also continue to stay at the leading edge.
by Stephen Willis
References and Bibliography
Stephen Willis is Managing Director of RW Freight Services a UK based freight transport company, established in 1971 and operating worldwide freight forwarding services including specialist freight services to and from Germany
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