The Freight Services Market In GermanyThe Freight Services Market In Germany

Germany is Europe's largest economy and a star performer in world trade. It is therefore no surprise that the freight services market in Germany is well served by a wide range of shipping companies and freight companies. Germany performs extremely well in international trade and has trade surpluses with most of its trading partners. In fact it was the world's leading exporter every year from 2002-2008 and was surpassed only in 2009 by China, when Germany was toppled into second position. Germany's trade surplus was over 12 billion euros in February 2009, making it the most export-led country in Europe.

Germany is clearly therefore a highly export oriented country, although it imports fuels and raw materials. The needs of these German imports themselves fuel a robust number of freight forwarders that are able to serve these particular sectors and the distinctive international freight needs of these kinds of products.

Germany's most important trading partners are the European Union and the United States. Freight forwarding connections between Germany and the United States as well as to and from other EU countries are thus highly developed and the international freight market is sophisticated and competitive.

Since the expansion of the European Union in 2004, Germany has enjoyed an increase in freight transport and trade with Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia. As the markets have developed in these new EU countries, they have spawned many a new freight company and shipping company keen to capitalise on the emerging opportunities presented by the increasing market for freight transport.

However, Germany's single most important trading partner is France. France is followed in importance by the United States. Other significant markets are the UK, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg, then Austria, Switzerland, Poland and Spain - and these relative strengths are reflected in the corresponding activity in the international freight transport market.

Germany's main exports are motor vehicles, machinery, chemical products and electrical engineering products. The country's reputation in motor vehicle manufacturing is legendary and its brands such as BMW and Audi lead the automotive sector worldwide. As a result, there are many freight services companies that are highly geared towards serving the needs of the automotive sector, all focussed on ensuring that the freight transport of these expensive cars is as streamlined and efficient as the German cars themselves.

It is less well known that Germany is also the leading exporter of solar energy equipment and wind turbines, driving the burgeoning market for eco-energy, and also setting the pace in international freight of these specialist items, which have specific freight forwarding needs. Freight forwarders operating in Germany have been able to build on their substantial experience to find new solutions that are ideal for the new kinds of products manufactured in Germany today.

On imports, the most important suppliers to Germany after France and the United States are the Netherlands, Italy, Great Britain, Belgium, Luxembourg and Japan. Germany's largest trade imbalance has long been with Japan.

One recent event that will continue to help the market for German exports still further is the drop in value of the Euro against other major currencies, which is aiding the competitiveness of German exports. This in itself is likely to give a further boost to the freight services sector that serves the market, helping many a freight company and shipping company to face the future with growing confidence after the turbulence of global markets and the economic slowdown in 2008 and 2009.
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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