UPS is one of the major players in international logistics. Can you describe what UPS is and what the company is all about?
As a global leader in logistics, UPS offers a broad range of solutions including the transportation of packages and freight which helps to facilitate international trade. In order to offer a wide array of services to more than 220 countries and territories, we employ more than a half million people worldwide and delivered an average of more than 25 million packages per day in 2021. In everything we do, we focus on our purpose: “Moving our world forward by delivering what matters.”
How important is Germany for UPS' European and international activities?
UPS has been operating in Germany since 1976; it was actually our first location outside of North America and Germany is for us the largest market outside the U.S. Since then, we have developed a comprehensive European service portfolio, combining local expertise in each market with our international strength and high quality standards. We operate 75 Small Package facilities and 12 Supply Chain Solutions locations, which offer over 50,000 square meters of warehouse space in Germany. Around 21.000 employees work for us in Germany.
Why in particular is Germany so crucial for UPS?
UPS operates at the airports in Berlin, Cologne, and Munich, but the Cologne/Bonn Airport (CGN) plays a major role for the global smart UPS logistic network. The Cologne air hub is the largest UPS facility outside the U.S., the central air hub for UPS in Europe. Most nights of the week, volume is flown in from around the world, including the U.S., Asia, the Middle East, and of course, cities all over Europe. It’s sorted at an impressive 190,000 packages/documents per hour, and then sent on its way. The operation during the night is essential for us and our customers. For example, a package that is picked up in Düsseldorf and is destined for New York City is first brought to Cologne and then transferred to the aircraft that came from and is going back to Philadelphia – all within the space of a few hours at night. This allows us to deliver that package by as early as 8:30 AM in the next morning – and from many cities in Germany to the entire U.S. in the course of one day. Even beyond our UPS customers, the overall German as well as the European economy benefits greatly from our air hub.
Which areas provide room for transatlantic cooperation in the logistics industry?
The TTC is a great opportunity for the EU and the U.S. to advance their trade and investment relationship, deepen their regulatory cooperation and sustain the multilateral rules-based trading system. UPS sees opportunities for cooperation in priority areas such as: global trade challenges, climate and clean tech, data governance and technology platforms as well as the promotion of small and medium-sized enterprises (SME)’s access to and use of digital technologies.
From your business standpoint, what can be done to improve Germany as a business location?
The development of international e-commerce places new and growing demands on economic operators and national customs authorities alike. For Germany as a foreign trade location, the transparent and EU-wide harmonized customs procedures are an important competitive factor.
Against this background, we, as the world’s largest customs broker, expressly welcome the stipulations made in the coalition agreement of the current federal government on faster procedures and better equipment for customs. Frictional losses in the processes and unclear or disadvantageous procedures lead to logistics flows being relocated to neighboring countries. Politics should provide reliable frameworks that facilitate the transition of economic activities by providing long-term perspectives along stringent market economy principles.
What are the major challenges of tomorrow's logistics?
To deliver in an environmentally friendly way. UPS’ German delivery fleet comprises over 3,330 vehicles and more than 2,900 vehicles of service partners. As an innovation-driven company, we are committed to reducing our impact on the environment and supporting the communities we serve around the world. UPS has developed plenty of sustainable delivery solutions. As a bridging technology for the "last mile", UPS has had more than 100 7.5t diesel trucks converted into e-vehicles.
UPS has put emphasis on its sustainability goals and social impact. Could you tell us more about your sustainability strategies and targets?
UPS has set itself the goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050. In Germany, UPS has been sourcing exclusively green electricity for years. As soon as 2025, 40% of all fuel used in ground operations will come from alternative or CO2-reduced sources. We currently operate more than 13,000 alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles worldwide.
UPS traditionally relies on its “rolling laboratory” approach to validate alternative vehicle concepts in daily operations and work with manufacturers on new sustainable developments. In 2012, we launched a special project in Hamburg: UPS City Logistics – the delivery of packages by cargo bikes, e-bikes or on foot by handcart in inner cities. Meanwhile we have a cargo bike fleet of over 100 vehicles, not only in big cities like Hamburg, Cologne, Frankfurt and Munich, but also in Westerstede, Lippstadt, and Paderborn. We are currently expanding this project further in Germany and internationally. Also, some of our service partners already adapted this concept and use cargo bikes too. Additionally, we partner with service partners who use exclusively cargo bikes for deliveries.
Is there a particular challenge that logistics service providers have to master these days beside sustainability?
Yes. There are very special packages that we must observe particularly closely, be able to find them in an instant, and ensure very specific transport requirements: healthcare products. From urgently needed medicines to new biologics or implantable medical devices, our customers are innovating like never before. This creates a need for near-perfect levels of delivery service. Thus,UPS Healthcare has expanded and upgraded its UPS Premier service across Europe to meet the evolving needs of critical time- and temperature-sensitive healthcare shipments. In 2021, UPS Healthcare invested in over 36,000square meters of cold chain GMP coolers and freezers in newly dedicated and upgraded healthcare facilities in several countries, including Italy, Poland, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, and – of course – Germany. This year our GDP certification was renewed, recognizing the quality of our smart logistics network in Germany.
As one of the world’s leading logistics companies, can you describe to what degree the Covid-19 pandemic and the ongoing Russian war in Ukraine has affected UPS’ business processes?
For us, the top priority is the safety of our employees. This applies both in the context of the pandemic and in the context of the war in Eastern Europe. Of equal importance to us are our customers, and therefore the resilience of our global network to ensure the continued reliability of supply chains.
Since the onset of the pandemic, UPS has played a central role in providing vital supplies to communities, including hundreds of millions of vaccines to a wide range of European countries and global markets. In this regard, Germany, and in particular CGN, is central as a logistics hub for maintaining global supply chains, including the efficient and safe movement of goods during crises.
The war in Ukraine, in turn, poses challenges for all economic actors and citizens, ranging from supply chain disruptions to rising energy prices. In this context, UPS recognizes its role in providing reliable services in an environment of increasing uncertainties. We are mobilizing our assets, people, and logistics expertise to help the people of Ukraine. Due to unprecedented demand to support for Ukraine we’ve doubled our initial commitment surpassing $2M in Humanitarian relief to date. Our Logistics Emergency Team (LET) is fully operational now and staffed with UPSers who are working daily with the UN Logistics Cluster to stand up humanitarian supply chains. The LET team essentially coordinates with every relief agency operating on the ground, providing customs clearance, warehousing, and coordination of transportation movements.