Over the past three years, Rhenus UK has continued to build on its services between the UK and Italy, says director Gary Dodsworth. The operator is making use of a

strong network in both countries, which has been bolstered in recent years with the acquisition of the PSL Group in the UK, and Cesped and Nuova Transports in

Italy. The acquisitions of

Cesped and Nuova Transports have been key to strengthening the Rhenus network in Italy, increasing the group’s presence from 25 to 31 hubs. Rhenus Italy also benefi ts from Cesped’s 37

years of experience and over 50,000sq m of warehousing. The

Covid-19 pandemic

meanwhile “continues to bring uncertainty for many businesses and will do for months ahead to some degree,” says Dodsworth. “While transport is moving freely across borders at present, some businesses are still experiencing supply chain challenges due to international restrictions or shortages of products. These diffi culties for UK-Italian trade have been escalated by the introduction of customs formalities from the 1 January.” Customers used to sending

the horizon for the economy

Better times on

Italy may be going through unprecedentedly tough economic times at the moment, but commentators are expecting a rebound later in 2021. In late January, Reuters

reported the Confindustria business lobby’s CSC research arm as saying that a strong rebound could start in the third quarter of the


and could exceed initial estimates – provided that the country’s Covid-19 vaccination programme was rapid and efficient. However, that remains to

be seen. The Statista website reported that, as of 10 March, there had been 5.8 million doses administered in Italy, little more than a quarter of the UK figure. However, more people in Italy than in the UK had at that time received a second dose – 1.7m people. Meanwhile, though there are some choppy waters to

negotiate, CSC continued. It expected consumption and gross domestic product to slow down in the first quarter of 2021 as households put more money into savings amid uncertainty about the economic outlook and jobs. Consumer confidence would

return once restrictions to control the pandemic were eased, it added. CSC is estimating that

Italian GDP will grow 4.8% in 2021, although that estimate is hedged with uncertainty. Meanwhile, though, economy minister Roberto Gualtieri was reported as saying that the country would achieve economic growth not far short of the official 6% target, set in September. The European Commission

was rather more measured in its comments. It said that after the strong rebound in real GDP over the summer, when the Italian economy recovered

Global logistics SOLUTIONS


Strategic supply chain partners

goods between the UK and Italy without restrictions are now having to familiarise themselves with customs procedures for any goods moving between the two countries. “It’s therefore imperative that logistics partners continue to work more closely than ever with customers to help navigate these uncertain times and keep business moving,” Dodsworth says. But aſt er more than three

months, customers now have a better idea of the requirements, and he believes that

trade is

likely to pick up again, Covid-19 permitting.

almost three quarters of the output loss incurred in the first half of 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic has again tightened its grip, forcing the government to re-impose restrictions on mobility and economic activity, implying an output contraction in autumn that is likely to continue into the first quarter of 2021. “However, compared to spring 2020, the latest containment measures directly affect a much smaller fraction of economic activity, it said, adding: “In particular, the industrial sector, which accounts for a large share of the Italian economy, and the construction sector, continue to operate without restrictions, which prevented an even larger output drop in the fourth quarter of 2020.” It is mainly “contact-

intensive” sectors of the economy that continue to reel from the pandemic’s economic impact including tourism. Based on quarterly GDP outturn data, real output fell by 8.8% in 2020, said the Commission, and this would affect growth in GDP into 2021, which it expected to expand by 3.4% in 2021. It added that output is set to grow at a similar pace in 2022 on the

Issue 3 2021 - Freight Business Journal DHL opens Milan hub

DHL Express has opened its new logistics hub at Malpensa airport near Milan. It will be able to operate over 30 daily fl ights and handle nearly 38,000 pieces per hour through automated sorting and scanning systems. The facility employs 900 people but during peak periods this number could increase by a further 10%. At

€110 million, Malpensa

represents a third of total investment in Italy by DHL Express. As the fourth biggest European hub, it joins Leipzig, East Midlands and Brussels and was built in full compliance with the latest sustainability, safety and effi ciency guidelines of the Deutsche Post DHL Group GoGreen strategy. The new dual facility integrates all DHL Express processes under one roof, managing the air service and a service centre for last mile pick-up and delivery. DHL Express Europe chief

executive Alberto Nobis, explained: “The pandemic has not only changed our current lives, but also our future. Globalisation and digitalisation play a crucial role in the economic recovery from Covid-19. They enable E-commerce and cross-border trade, which nurtures an increasing demand for express services. With our new logistics hub in Italy, we can react to this increase in demand by

back of the momentum gained in the second half of this year and the continued recovery of the services sector. It adds that the assumed restrictions by

relaxation of

summer 2021 should unleash pent-up consumer demand in the second half of the year. Housing investment will

continue to benefit from tax incentives

to improve the

energy efficiency of residential buildings and protect against earthquakes.


investment, after having registered a steep decline in 2020, is set to gain traction this

further connecting markets internationally.” His colleague, chief executive

of DHL Express Italy, Nazzarena Franco added: “The Malpensa Hub is the fl agship of our


and with the new hub we want to contribute to the growth of Italian exports.” The new hub can move express shipments

to and

from Italy through the national airports of Ancona, Pisa, Naples, to and from Europe with transit through Leipzig, Brussels, Paris,

strengthening strategy in Italy, in which we have an ambitious investment plan of over €350 million with the aim of being the partner of companies that produce and export Italian excellence in the world,” adding: “Despite the pandemic our business has never stopped, and we have always tried to meet the needs of companies by supporting their eff orts, particularly in foreign markets. Lombardy represents one third of the country’s exports thanks to a dynamic entrepreneurial system and highly innovative supply chains such as IT, textiles, fashion, aeronautics, automotive

year on the back of recovering cash flows and brightening demand prospects while Transizione 4.0 investment tax credits are likely to lend further support to capital spending. The rebound of Italy’s main

trading partners in the second half of 2020 is likely to gain strength in 2021, implying a sizeable growth contribution from net trade, with exports projected to grow broadly in line with global trade. However, the recovery of the tourism sector will lag behind. Italy should though enjoy some welcome political

Barcelona, Vitoria, London, East Midlands, Cologne, Zagreb, Athens, Budapest and Thessaloniki. Additionally, shipments can be moved outside Europe to Bahrain, Seoul and Cincinnati in the US. All industry verticals

served by DHL Express are managed in the hub, including manufacturing, luxury goods, e-commerce,

chemical and aeronautics. Since 30 December 2020, DHL Express Italy has been managing the delivery of Covid19 vaccines and their distribution to the regional and national health system from the Malpensa hub.

stability, says The Economist. With the appointment on 13

February of Mario Draghi as prime minister by the president, Sergio Mattarella, the current cabinet has one of the largest parliamentary majorities ever and the Economist Intelligence Unit does not expect a snap election before the end of the parliamentary

term in 2023.

It too expects the economy to begin a fragile recovery in 2021, but a return to pre-crisis levels is unlikely before 2024. Support from EU institutions will mitigate financial risks, it says.


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