New partnership for transports to West Africa

The contracts have been signed, first transports are already underway: the OMA Group, headquartered in Accra, Ghana, is the new partner for the West Africa transports of the entire Militzer & Münch Group. In addition, some of the country units have joined the African transport network ALNA.

In the future, all transports from the Militzer & Münch network to West African countries will be handled by the new partner. Customers benefit from good area coverage, as the OMA Group has offices in Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, the Ivory Coast, Senegal and Togo as well as strategic regional partners in Cameroon, Mauritania, Niger and Nigeria.

The OMA Group has already been successfully cooperating with Militzer & Münch France for the past two years, now the whole Militzer & Münch group has signed an agreement with the company. Initially, the cooperation will focus on transports between the subsidiaries of the OMA Group and the Militzer & Münch country units in France, Turkey, Poland and Morocco. The OMA Group has more than 30 years of experience in the business and offers specialist logistics support services for customers from industries including mining, oil and gas, energy and infrastructure as well as the transport of spare parts for ships in transit.

“With this new partnership, we offer our customers reliable and safe transport solutions towards West Africa,” says Stéphane Grèze, Group Delegate for Africa, who is developing Africa transports for the entire Militzer & Münch Group. “And the demand is growing – already now we see that customers with shipments to the Maghreb also want to handle transports to West African destinations.”

A strong network

In order to strengthen Militzer & Münch’s position in Africa even further, the country units in Germany, France, Switzerland, Uzbekistan, UAE, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey have joined the Airfreight Logistics Network for Africa (ALNA), a powerful network dedicated to airfreight to and from the African continent. “The network will grant us access to a safe and reliable network of companies in many countries in Africa”, says Stéphane Greze. “Allowing us to increase sales and to develop our Africa business. We will also have the opportunity to receive shipments from the network and thus increase our volumes.”

The cooperation with the OMA Group as well as the ALNA membership are part of Militzer & Münch’s strategy to grow in Africa. Reliable partners and their local expertise as well as a strong network in western Africa will strengthen the position of the logistics service provider on the continent and offer many opportunities in the future.



The African Free Trade Area – a growth market of the future

The commercial launch of the African Free Trade Area – the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) – on January 1, 2021 was primarily a formal act. With the exception of Eritrea, all 55 member states of the African Union have signed the agreement; 36 have ratified it so far.

The goal is to create a single African market for 1.3 billion people, with a combined economic output of more than USD 2.3 trillion. The aim of the agreement is to increase intra-African trade, drive forward industrialization and establish regional value chains. The agreement is a milestone for the economic and political development of the African continent.

OMA Group

  • Founded: 1982
  • Head office: Accra, Ghana
  • Staff: 200
  • Management: Group CEO Gerrit Van Der Merwe and Group COO Samad Osman
  • Good networking:The OMA Group is partner in logistics networks including FIATA, ICS and WACO
  • Website:

Caption: Stéphane Grèze, Group Delegate for Africa – he drives the development of African transports for the entire Militzer & Münch Group

„Our employees are our most important asset“

After more than a year of the pandemic, the Militzer & Münch Group looks back on 2020 with an overall sense of satisfaction. The results of the individual regions vary – but one thing is certain: The employees are committed to creatively mastering the small and big challenges, and to always having an open ear for their customers.

The Militzer & Münch Group’s 2020 business year was, on the whole, satisfactory. “The term ‘mixed fortunes’ sums up the past year quite well,” says Alexei Kovalenko, Chief Financial Officer TransInvest and Militzer & Münch, and spokesman of the Militzer & Münch Group Management. “Except for the spring, especially the month of April, which was marked by lots of uncertainties due to the completely new situation, the rest of the year went largely in line with our expectations.” Among others, there was positive business development in Western Europe, particularly in France and Germany, as well as in the Maghreb.

The Militzer & Münch teams in the individual countries played a substantial role in this development. “These past months have confirmed once again that employees are our most important asset,” says Alexei Kovalenko. “Besides the framework conditions imposed on us by the governments, development is closely related to the colleagues on site. In many cases, the local management did a good job of communicating the temporary and necessary measures, such as short-time work, and the teams went along with them – that was crucial in order to prevail also in the future.”

In addition, the politico-economic framework conditions in some countries were favorable, especially in France and Germany, and Militzer & Münch made use of government support. “In Germany, we experienced some tough weeks in Q2 across all business segments,” says Holger Seehusen, member of the M&M Group Management and Managing Director M&M air sea cargo GmbH. “The option of short-time work was important for the German country unit, and our team fully backed the decision.” In Central Asia, for example, there was no such form of government support, which made the situation far more difficult. There, Militzer & Münch is active in the project business, among other things – this segment however declined noticeably during the pandemic. “Central Asia has been and will be badly shaken by the pandemic,” says Alexei Kovalenko. “However, we are confident that the situation will ease again, and we are still expecting great opportunities in the project business along the new Silk Road.”

Positive signals from the industries

After minor declines, demand from automotive customers already recovered in 2020, and also in the textile and cosmetics sectors, Militzer & Münch records only minor dents in transport demand. “Especially with cosmetics and hygiene products, our expectations of an increase in demand were perhaps a bit higher than it ultimately turned out to be,” says Holger Seehusen. “A positive example is the good cooperation between the teams in China and Germany on the transport of corona protection materials.”

Asia is also benefiting from the e-commerce business, which is particularly noticeable at EMEX, the M&M courier and express service in Kazakhstan – a development that was already apparent in 2020 and continued in Q1/2021. The 1st quarter of 2021 was good in all Militzer & Münch regions, with the country units in Asia still needing to catch up more than their European counterparts.

In some regions, the signs are even pointing to growth: the former delegation in Malaysia has been turned into a full country unit as a joint venture. Militzer & Münch France has taken over ITP and ITPL, companies of the LPS Group (Logistique et Prestations de Services), to further strengthen the Maghreb business. In Vienna, Austria, Militzer & Münch has been represented by its own branch office since October 2020. And the joint venture in Serbia is also developing promisingly. “2020 was the first full year of business for the highly motivated team,” says Alexei Kovalenko. “Thanks to the good development, we decided in March 2021 to acquire the previously rented property with 10,000 square meters of warehousing and 3,000 square meters of office space in Dobanovci near Belgrade, thus giving Militzer & Münch Serbia even more space for growth.”

Ready for the extra mile

The Militzer & Münch Group has always been flexible, and the pandemic once again confirmed it. Where activities allowed, home office options were created at short notice, with both the central IT in Hof and the local IT teams contributing. Some sites relied on a rotating model, which ensured that the offices were never fully staffed.

For the sales teams, among others, however, the pandemic with its many restrictions has been a challenge. “At times, one-on-one customer contact was not possible at all, and digital-only meetings are not easy for either side – neither for forwarders nor for their customers,” says Holger Seehusen. “The creativity of the employees in approaching customers has shown that even in difficult times they are motivated to go the extra mile, to always be close to their customers and understand their needs.” And they demonstrate a great deal of flexibility: telephone conferences called at short notice across national borders and time zones go very well – proof that intensive and efficient exchange is also possible digitally.

Maintaining customer relationships is easier in pandemic times than acquiring new customers, but Militzer & Münch was already well positioned before the pandemic and was able to rely on existing contacts. Thus, the Rail segment at M&M air sea cargo GmbH, for example, developed well in cooperation with the InterRail Group. The relatively new project department in Düsseldorf also gained a foothold and completed some exciting project shipments, including on-carriage to the hinterland, within a very short period of time. In view of the positive business development, Militzer & Münch decided to join the worldwide Atlas Breakbulk Alliance (ABA) network, whose members are forwarding companies with a focus on project shipments only. Thus, participation in the Breakbulk Europe trade fair, which will hopefully take place next year, is a must.

Alexei Kovalenko, Chief Financial Officer, TransInvest and Militzer & Münch, as well as Spokesman of Militzer & Münch Group Management

Holger Seehusen, member of the Militzer & Münch Group Management and Managing Director M&M air sea cargo GmbH.

New country unit in Malaysia

The Militzer & Münch network in Southeast Asia has been expanded: Since May 10, Militzer & Münch has been operating its own country unit in Malaysia. M&M Militzer & Muench SDN BHD, as the company is officially named, focuses on worldwide air and sea freight with comprehensive services.

Militzer & Münch has already been represented in Malaysia by delegate Gopal Krishnan since 2019. He has now taken over the management of the new country unit. “We want to position ourselves in the growth market Malaysia with top quality and comprehensive services,” says Gopal Krishnan. The team’s office is located in Subang Jaya, a major city just outside the capital Kuala Lumpur, with direct connections to both Port Klang and KLIA – the country’s most important seaport and airport, respectively.

“Malaysia is one of the fastest-growing countries worldwide, and is also gaining increasing importance as a logistics hub. With the new country unit, we are making a clear commitment to the location,” explains Andreas Löwenstein, Regional Managing Director Asia / Far East. “We see great potential above all in the air and sea freight sectors, but definitely also in cross-border trucking to the neighboring countries of Singapore and Thailand. In addition, from Malaysia we aim to further expand all our activities in the ASEAN countries.”

75 Tons from Bursa to Ploieşti

Barely 900 kilometers separate the Turkish city of Bursa from the destination, the city of Ploieşti in Romania. Not too long a distance, one might think, but the transport route leads through a total of three countries, two capitals, and across the Bosporus. The load: a 75-ton metal press. A task that Militzer & Münch Turkey mastered flawlessly.

We don’t get to see them very often, but they have long been an integral part of the industry: mechanical and hydraulic presses. With the help of high pressure, they cut, punch, bend, rivet, and shape almost any material. Preston Makina, a good customer of Militzer & Münch based in Bursa, manufactures exactly such machines and relies on Militzer & Münch for the transport.

This time, a metal press measuring 8.60 x 2.35 x 3.20 meters and weighing a total of 75 tons had to be transported from Bursa in Turkey to Ploieşti in Romania. A proverbial mammoth task, thoroughly planned by Militzer & Münch Turkey in collaboration with customer Preston Makina. First, the heavy cargo had to be lifted onto a low-bed trailer with the help of a crane. After the freight had been properly secured and wrapped, the special transport was ready to start: From the northwest of Turkey, it first went along the Sea of Marmara, across the Bosporus and through Istanbul. The convoy then passed through Bulgaria before crossing the Romanian capital Bucharest and reaching its destination just under 100 kilometers further on: Ploieşti in Romania. “The order was handled to the customer’s full satisfaction, and the team did a really good job,” reports Kostas Sandalcidis, member of the Management Board.

Road transports are Militzer & Münch’s specialty. But the Militzer & Münch Bursa branch office also has a sound knowledge of sea transports. Within the Turkish Militzer & Münch country unit, the branch office is considered the country’s No. 1, an impressive achievement for the six-member local team, which is already looking forward to the next cooperation with Preston Makina.

Militzer & Münch France strengthens Maghreb competence

In Vitrolles, near Marseille, France, Militzer & Münch France has acquired 100 percent of the shares of ITP and ITPL, two companies of the LPS Group (Logistique et Prestations de Services). The management of the business units remains with experienced company founder Jean Louis Poirier.

Both companies specialize in transporting goods to the Maghreb countries, particularly to Algeria. At the Vitrolles site, the business units offer specific logistics solutions with value-added services for:

  • pharmaceutical and paramedical products – this is what ITP (Inter Transit Pharma) stands for;
  • spare parts, especially for the automotive sector – this is what ITPL specializes in (Inter Transit et Prestations Logistique).

With this entrepreneurial commitment, Militzer & Münch France strengthens its leading position in the French transport market, and the Militzer & Münch Group as a whole reinforces its competence in Maghreb transports.“The Maghreb countries are one of our key markets”, says Guillaume de Laage de Meux, Managing Director Militzer & Münch France, Regional Managing Director South West Europe / Maghreb, and member of the Militzer & Münch Board of Directors.
“With our experienced teams in the Maghreb, in France, Germany, Switzerland and Turkey, as well as with the cross-divisional business development team, we are optimally positioned to offer individual transport solutions for different industries.”

The site at Vitrolles

  • Modern facility for warehousing, transit and handling;
  • High security standards: indoor and outdoor video surveillance, remote monitoring, volumetric attendance control, access to each area of the site only with individual badges;
  • Separate areas for cooling products (+ 02° C and 08° C) and storage at constant room temperature (+ 18° C and 21° C) – the areas are accessible via air locks;
  • Areas for order preparation, labeling of goods and packaging; special software for processing labels in Arabic;
  • Modern technological equipment with hydraulic docks, electric pallet trucks, forklifts, compressors for stow bags, etc.;
  • Safe and reliable transportation (with own trucks and drivers).

M&M Business Unit “South West Europe Maghreb”

170,000 – that’s the number of transports handled each year by the Militzer & Münch Group’s business unit “South West Europe Maghreb”. The business unit comprises France, Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria, and year after year registers an increase in goods traffic between these countries.

“With our experienced teams in the Maghreb, in France, Germany, Switzerland and Turkey, we are ideally positioned to offer customized transport solutions for different industries.”

Guillaume de Laage de Meux
Managing Director Militzer & Münch France, Regional Managing Director South West Europe / Maghreb and Member of the Militzer & Münch Board of Directors

For breakbulk, a broader position

To strengthen its own project business, to further improve service quality in the breakbulk cargo segment, and to offer customers new trade lanes – strong motives for Militzer & Münch to join the Atlas Breakbulk Alliance (ABA).

ABA is part of Atlas International Network Ltd, a global logistics network of local companies active in the air and ocean freight business, which consists of freight forwarders, NVOCCs, and other related service providers. Founded in 1998, the international organization operates on five continents and admits only a limited number of representatives from each country.

Based in Antwerp, Belgium, ABA specializes in breakbulk cargo and project cargo as part of the network and, like the parent network, sees itself as a non-profit service broker. All profits generated by ABA are reinvested in the development of smart tools and (marketing) programs to enhance the members’ breakbulk business and to further optimize the network.

A global network of carefully selected partners

“The membership offers us a global network with profound know-how explicitly in the breakbulk sector, and above all the opportunity to make new contacts,” explains Marco Fischer, Operations Manager Sea Freight & Project Logistics, Düsseldorf. “All carriers and forwarders that are part of ABA were carefully screened beforehand. A classic application process takes place, which also requires external references that are checked by ABA. Membership is subject to a fee, which is another element of the Alliance’s claim to exclusiveness and quality. We have undergone this selection process and have been accepted.”

What is special here is that Militzer & Münch will initially be the exclusive German representative of the Alliance – a strong position and a good opportunity to generate more business in the breakbulk sector.

Benefits for customers

ABA offers a wide range of proven service features to support breakbulk cargo handling at a high service level. Militzer & Münch customers with project cargo and breakbulk cargo will benefit from the new alliance. Not only in terms of service, but also in terms of new trade lanes. “The African continent is gaining more and more importance for our customers,” says Marco Fischer. “This makes Africa an interesting market for us as well, a market where we plan to offer more heavy load transports. But our trade lane managers will also focus on regions such as the USA, India, Southeast Asia, China and South America.” Growth in Africa is increasingly coming into focus for Militzer & Münch. Stéphane Grèze is Group Delegate Africa and promotes the development of the Africa traffics for the entire Militzer & Münch Group. Moreover, Militzer & Münch France has been active in the Maghreb countries for decades, and plans to grow further there. Recently, the French country unit acquired the LPS Group with ITP and ITPL, companies specializing in goods transports to the Maghreb countries.

Exploiting competitive advantages

Militzer & Münch will use the network to position itself more broadly, to close strategic gaps, to strengthen existing out-of-gauge services, and to offer customers a comprehensive overall package. Militzer & Münch’s current breakbulk and project logistics portfolio as well as the already existing network, will be further strengthened through the Atlas Breakbulk Alliance. “This should enable us to participate in new tenders and to provide significant support for existing tenders,” says Marco Fischer. “After all, we can now act as a full-service provider worldwide in this field, offering door-to-door deliveries, professionally executed.”

Handling breakbulk with ABA

  • Several global member meetings per year in collaboration with Breakbulk Europe – there was, for example, a digital member conference in May 2021
  • Preferred access to innovative partners in ICT and supply chain
  • Global NVOCC with FMC and Chinese MoT license
  • Ethical code of conduct including anti-corruption policy
  • International credit risk analysis in numerous countries
  • Container repositioning at 2,500 locations worldwide for more than 250,000 boxes
  • Container Trade Lane Benchmarking Club

“The strategic partnership with Atlas Breakbulk Alliance (ABA) will strengthen the project business and further improve service quality in the breakbulk cargo segment,” says Marco Fischer, Operations Manager Ocean Freight & Project Logistics (photo: center), with department management team Bobby Phan (left) and Sabine da Costa Soares (right).

300 tons for the glass industry

Eleven trucks, ten of them oversized, on the road in two convoys, with special permits and escorts, three nights each, through five countries. A task mastered jointly by the Militzer & Münch teams in Romania and Germany. The concerted action served to transport a plant for industrial soda production –  anything but an everyday job.

Soda ash is an important ingredient in many products of everyday use. The largest consumer is the glass industry, which uses soda ash in the melting process. Soda ash is also used in the production of detergents and cleaning agents, of textiles, paper, food and many more products.

The Ciech Group, which operates eight factories in Poland, Germany and Romania, is the second largest soda ash producer in Europe. In late 2020, subsidiary Ciech Soda Germany commissioned the Militzer & Münch team in Berlin with a special transport: to move a so-called carbonation column from the Romanian Ciech plant in Ramnicu Valcea to its new place of use at the Staßfurt site in Germany.

Two convoys with special vehicles

“This was our first order for this customer; it was a recommendation from another industrial company,“ says Sven Sange, Sales/Transport Scheduling at M&M Berlin. He organized the transport of the 300-ton colossus together with Militzer & Münch Romania.

Daniel Din from the team in Romania inspected the plant on site, then prepared the loading scheme. Subsequently, he synchronized the entire process. Eleven trucks, ten of them oversized, were needed to transport the dismantled chemical plant from Romania via Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic to eastern Germany. The door-to-door transport started in two convoys just before and after Christmas.

“The parts of the dismantled plant were loaded in three days,“ says Daniel Din. “Five trucks on the first day, three trucks on the second day, and three trucks again on day three, as the last six loads were more complicated and couldn’t be handled on one day.“

Special permits had to be obtained for the oversized vehicles. The trucks were only allowed to be on the road at night, and traveled in two convoys. Each convoy took three nights to cover the 1,600-kilometer distance. “This transport is a good example of the successful cooperation between Militzer & Münch Romania and Militzer & Münch Germany,” says Militzer & Münch Romania Managing Director Valentin Dragu. Sven Wolthusen, Branch Manager M&M Berlin, takes a similar view: “From the first call to Daniel Din to the delivery, everything went smoothly, and the customer was fully satisfied.“

In demand: the new route to Baku

Launched last year, already firmly established today: Militzer & Münch’s new truck route Germany – Azerbaijan is in high demand among customers. Every week, two to three groupage trucks are on their way from Eichenzell to Baku, a distance of more than 4,000 kilometers.

Militzer & Münch organizes the transports in cooperation with Nijat Shabanly, the Militzer & Münch delegate in Baku, and TP Logistik, the new local partner. “The first transports started in August 2020,” says Julian Backenstoß, Manager of the Militzer & Münch Eichenzell branch. “Since then, transport volumes have developed very positively. Our customers ship goods from all sectors, from household appliances and electrical goods to pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and products for the food industry.”

There are two options for the route to Azerbaijan: via Poland, Belarus and Russia, or via Austria, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey and Georgia. The decision on which way the shipments are routed is mostly based on the current permit conditions and the political situation. While the truck is in the EU, it can take on additional cargo; the trailer or semitrailer is not sealed until it reaches the EU’s external border. On request, the Militzer & Münch customs departments in Hof or Bad Reichenhall handle customs management.

The trucks are on the road for a total of ten to 14 days each way. Upon arrival in Azerbaijan, the shipments are received at the Baku customs terminal and cleared by the consignee or their agent.

Spare parts 24/7 – further industries benefit

Spare parts supply around the clock, seven days a week – Militzer & Münch already successfully offers this service to airlines and their fleets. Now, other industries that depend on the fastest possible spare parts delivery can benefit from the offer, too.

When an aircraft has to be grounded because an important spare part is needed, utmost urgency is imperative. For the Hamburg air freight office of M&M air sea cargo GmbH, such emergencies therefore have top priority. “An aircraft that is grounded causes high costs,” says Dirk Bukowski, Regional Manager North Germany. “That’s why it’s enormously important to respond as quickly and flexibly as possible in the event of an AOG emergency.”

From combine harvesters to wind turbines

AOG stands for ‘Aircraft on Ground’, and it is for aircraft spare parts that the 26-person team has primarily been in action to date. “Our customers mainly include airlines in China, Taiwan and India,” explains Dirk Bukowski. “We have now expanded our AOG service to other industries. ”Whether the maritime industry, manufacturers of large vehicles such as combine harvesters and forklifts, or of wind power plants and the workshops assigned to them – many companies rely on short-term delivery of spare parts and can now take advantage of Militzer & Münch’s offer.

On duty, non-stop

The special feature: Militzer & Münch assures its customers of a reliable 24/7 service, completely independent of the logistics provider’s other workload. Shipping and inventory are controlled by the Militzer & Münch branch office in Hamburg via a control tower, which is the interface to customers and partners.

“Our team can directly access our own warehouse, which has not been common in the industry for a long time,” says Jennifer Bastkowski, Branch Manager Airfreight. “The warehouse is connected to our office and is located just a few hundred meters from the cargo area of Hamburg Airport. This allows us to process urgent orders within the shortest possible time. Already, our service is attracting a lot of interest from ocean carriers and commercial vehicle manufacturers.”

Stability even in the pandemic

While expanding its service to new customer groups, the Hamburg team is currently coping with the effects of the Corona pandemic. This is because, although global passenger traffic in particular has fallen sharply, an above-average number of spare parts are currently being ordered that have to be sent on their way immediately – often outside normal working hours or on weekends and public holidays.

At the same time, order handling is now much more time-consuming. “In the times before the pandemic, we transported a significant proportion of our airfreight in passenger aircraft as so-called ‘belly loads’,” explains Jennifer Bastkowski. “Due to the restricted passenger air traffic, this cargo space is largely eliminated, especially on the long-haul route to China.” For the time-critical spare parts transports, there are currently almost exclusively cargo flights available, but they operate irregularly during the pandemic. That makes planning more complex. “Our team has mastered the challenges with flying colors, and the new procedures have long since become routine,” says Dirk Bukowski. “Now we’re looking forward to new tasks in new sectors!”

“Anyone who is content with the status quo will quickly be left behind”

Andreas Löwenstein has 28 years of experience in logistics. He has been working for Militzer & Münch since December 2019 – and in the position of Regional Managing Director Asia / Far East since April 2020. He studied sinology and has an affinity for Asia and China in particular. In this interview, he tells us what fascinates him about Asia, and what plans he has for Militzer & Münch in the eastern part of the region.

Mr. Löwenstein, you have almost three decades of experience in the logistics industry. What motivated you to become a logistics specialist?

Andreas Löwenstein: I studied sinology – Chinese studies – and during that time I spent two and a half years in China. Other countries and cultures, people and markets have always fascinated me – which makes the logistics industry a perfect fit for me. It also gives me the opportunity to travel a lot and use my language skills. In the course of my career, I have lived in China, Japan, Singapore, Thailand and the U.S.  – all in all, I spent 31 years in these countries.

Have you previously worked in industries other than logistics?

Andreas Löwenstein: Before that, I worked in the tourism industry. Incidentally, these industries have a lot in common. Tourism is also about working with agents, coordinating projects together with many partners, and selling products. In both industries, you need creativity and the ability to find new ways of doing things – they make the difference between success and failure.

How is the Militzer & Münch business in Asia going?

Andreas Löwenstein: Business in Asia is going well. The region is very dynamic. But that also means that conditions are changing at breakneck speed. Anyone who is content with the status quo here will quickly be left behind by the competition. It’s part of our daily routine to deal with special economic zones, tariff-free trade between defined subregions or bilateral country partnerships – and while this often presents us with challenges, it also holds many opportunities. There are currently many more opportunities for investment in Asia than in Europe. For example, new ports are being built to attract industry. Of course, this is also associated with risks, because political tensions, trade restrictions and sudden obstructions to the goods flow are typical of the region. In addition, there are fluctuations in exchange rates here the likes of which have not been seen in Europe for a long time. Thus, product development, network expansion, and legal and currency issues are the focus of our work every day.

What are the Militzer & Münch goals in Asia?

Andreas Löwenstein:
 In regions like Central Asia, Militzer & Münch is a nose ahead of the competition; in most of Asia, though, we are still at the beginning. We are working on finding the right partners, formulating prudent goals, and investing with foresight. In addition to our branches in China, which have been established for a long time, we only have a small country unit in Sri Lanka and a start-up in Malaysia. We want to further expand our network and our activities within Asia.

Which business units are most successful in Asia?

Andreas Löwenstein: Transports between Asia and Europe as well as intra-Asian transports are both largely carried out by sea and air freight. We work with numerous small and large as well as national and regional shipping companies and airlines. Road and rail transports within Asia are reaching their limits due to the geographical givens. There are still development opportunities here. However, due to the specific expertise of our Militzer & Münch colleagues and, of course, of InterRail, we have an advantage over our competitors, especially in rail transport between Asia and Europe – here, we see great potential to position ourselves even more strongly in the Asian market. The rail market is currently booming, and even road transports from China to Europe have recently become part of our portfolio.

How has COVID-19 affected Militzer & Münch’s business in Asia?

Andreas Löwenstein: Of course, the economic volume decreased, and the market slump in Europe was clearly felt here – especially in comparison to the past years. However, this applies to the entire logistics industry. In particular, we have seen a significant decline in the transport of spare parts for aircraft. This was particularly felt by our colleagues in Hamburg and Beijing, because less air traffic during the pandemic also means that fewer spare parts are needed. However, the Asian market is so dynamic that we were able to cope well with these declines. Even during the pandemic, a lot is happening in Asia and there are plenty of opportunities. In the meantime, flights within China are operating almost exactly as they did before the pandemic.

What has changed for you personally since the pandemic began?

Andreas Löwenstein: The pandemic showed me how much is feasible without traveling. Video conferencing has become established in recent months – it saves a lot of time and money. Nevertheless, logistics remains a people-to-people business. Personal contact with customers and colleagues is an essential part of it. I’m already looking forward to traveling in Asia again to maintain old partnerships and build new ones.

How do you spend your free time?

Andreas Löwenstein: I am very much interested in history and culture. Having lived in six different countries in my life and having traveled a lot, I have been able to indulge this interest extensively.