The past year has revolutionised the operations of companies in a number of ways. In the logistics business, the coronavirus pandemic has changed the everyday practices, routes and modes of transport. The exceptional conditions have also affected the operations of DHL Freight (Finland) Oy, but the company has successfully maintained its operational readiness in the changing circumstances.
”None of our scenarios had prepared us for a situation quite like this, but we quickly found solutions to ensure the continuing of our business operations. Our office staff switched mostly to remote working both in Finland and the rest of Europe. We managed to keep our network of terminals open and working also during the worst weeks in the spring”, says Tuomas Ruohonen, Director of Nordic and East European Traffic at DHL Freight (Finland) Oy.
According to Mr Ruohonen, changes in the transported cargo volumes were visible when the state of emergency reached its peak in many European countries in the spring. The volumes in neighbouring areas of Finland remained almost at a normal level. ”During summer and autumn, the cargo volumes returned close to the times before the coronavirus. On the whole, we can say that so far we have made it through the prevailing situation at least satisfactorily”, Mr Ruohonen sums up.
Distribution business in transition
The coronavirus has speeded up the changes already in progress, such as the growing importance of B2C deliveries and the services during the last mile. That phenomenon is also visible in DHL’s road transports.
”Distribution operations are changing quickly. Consumers buy more and more products with home delivery, which will also change the customer base in logistics. The importance of home deliveries and environmentally sound transport products in particular will be emphasised. DHL Freight is actively involved in this transition. We offer our customers suitable and environmentally sound transport solutions from Finland to destinations around the world and vice versa. The spearhead of our services is functioning transports of parcelled goods with carbon offset which responds to the expectations of our Finnish customers on taking the environment into account. With the pandemic, the environmental values have emerged increasingly”, Mr Ruohonen points out.
Cargo moves and the wheels keep rolling
According to Mr Ruohonen, goods and trucks have stayed well on the move in the exceptional circumstances. The drivers continue their work with attention to the hygiene requirements.
”The changed situation in the connections between Finland and Sweden has forwarded the flow to where capacity is available. The coronavirus has affected the size of the total market, and thus far we have managed to transport the cargo volumes well despite occasional bottlenecks.”
Finland needs exports
Mr Ruohonen is confident about the continuing of the operations in the future. He mentions the significance of exports and functioning transport routes.
”Although the world has changed permanently as a result of the crisis, it is possible to develop and adapt the operations according to the needs. The coronavirus has taught us to seek more flexible ways to work and create new fast routes. The importance of the Port of Turku in the transport operations is emphasised even more than before. Turku is the gateway to the west and the rest of Europe. On the other hand, the exceptional circumstances stress the importance of foreign trade. Finland lives on exports, and hence it’s worthwhile for companies to aim at global operations. If exports to one country slow down temporarily, it’s good to have customers in many different countries. That’s the way to make it through hard times as a winner”, Mr Ruohonen reminds.
Text: Hanna Alin Photos: Hanna Alin ja Jarmo Piironen