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COUNTRY REPORTSWITZERLAND


Dominik Keller, head global


development/director at freight forwarder Fracht, said that 2019 turned out to be a satisfactory year. Globally, the market for its services was good. In Switzerland, conditions proved to be challenging. Overseas expansion has been Fracht’s


strategy. Keller said: “We are very busy in Brazil – it is still growing. At present we have five companies there, but we plan to merge them into three.” The potential for project forwarders in


Africa well known. Fracht acquired the shares of Belgium-based forwarding company Polytra, which has significant interests on the African continent, in 2018. In 2019, Fracht widened its African


footprint by opening 13 offices. Ruedi Reisdorf, the company’s managing director, suggested that it is still early days for the growing venture. “We are still in the investment phase. You


have to invest for the future and you cannot just expect to make all your money back in three months. If you make it in three years it might be nice.”


Axpo's Mauvoisin hydropower power plant in Switzerland.


Focus on Africa He said that a long-term focus on Africa has been adopted, although he cautioned that markets can sour rapidly.“It is a problem for everyone: are the markets that stable?” In Africa, even solid markets with strong


On an international basis, Roehl stated


that TGP has seen more demand for its services. “While 2018 was a year of strong growth for TGP, 2019 proved to be an even better success. Throughout the year we won numerous new large-scale projects around the world. “Our work within the oil and gas


industry in Central Asia, as well as our involvement in Antarctica research activities, were two major highlights of 2019.” The latter project, reported on by HLPFI


over the past 18 months, saw TGP handle the delivery of equipment and construction materials to the British Antarctic Survey’s (BAS) Rothera Research Station located at Rothera Point, Adelaide Island, Antarctica.


governments, reformed economies and the rule of law can fall foul of regime change and terrorism. For example, Fracht has operations in


Burkina Faso, where some of its activities have been stopped for some four months after a gold mine was attacked. Reisdorf said incidents of this nature


affect all the region’s mines. Not only does it stymie the flow of cargoes in and out of the area, but it also strikes caution in the hearts of existing and potential investors. “Personal safety comes first. At best, this is only increasing your costs,” he added. General Transport, headquartered in


Basel, has longstanding experience in the project logistics arena, both domestically and in niche international markets. Commenting on the company’s fortunes


Our work within the oil and gas industry in Central Asia, as well as our involvement in Antarctica research activities, were two major highlights of 2019. – Joerg Roehl, Trans Global Projects Group


in 2019, Bernhard Zaugg, who fills the role of ceo and airfreight management, described a year of two halves. “Demand during the first half of 2019 was


quite strong, particularly for the infrastructure and oil and gas industries. But, this slowed down in the second half of the year, particularly during the last three months, except compressor exports, mainly to China.” Looking ahead, he believes the promising


regions for its services are China and the wider Asian market. He, too, is looking to Africa as a buoyant region, particularly the infrastructure sector. Switzerland finds itself at an impasse


when it comes to its power generation industry. Its striking, mountainous landscape has lent itself to hydropower projects and more than 550 units are currently operating across the country. Environmentalists are strongly opposed to any more large-scale projects in this field. While wind energy developments have


sprung up across Europe, this has not been the case for Switzerland. Environmental groups have been steadfast in their resistance to this renewable energy source, too, and


GE remains a key client for Swiss forwarders


No report on the Swiss project logistics sector would be complete without mention of General Electric (GE), which has battled through some tough years. The USA-headquartered conglomerate acquired Alstom’s energy business, including power generation


www.heavyliftpfi.com


and transmission activities, in 2016 for the princely sum of USD13.25 billion. It has been a rocky ride since that merger – GE


Power has felt the sharp end of step-change in the power generation sector. Demand for large-scale fossil-


fuelled turbines, a core market for Alstom, has plunged. Despite these challenges, GE is a key client for Switzerland’s project logistics industry and it remains an important employer and economic player, particularly in the Baden region.


January/February 2020 109


Axpo


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