Lucia Puttrich: "Broad-based SMEs are our insurance in the crisis".

Already on Wednesday, 25 September 2020, Minister for Europe Lucia Puttrich visited ZUFALL logistics group in Fulda. With around 2,200 employees, the freight forwarding company is one of the largest regional providers of freight forwarding and logistics services in Germany. The topics were wide-ranging. The effects of the Corona pandemic on the industry, but also Brexit and European requirements.

The Minister of State was welcomed by Branch Manager Christoph Göbel. “In recent months, large corporations have often been the focus of political attention. We are therefore very pleased that Minister Puttrich is visiting ZUFALL as a high-performance, family-run medium-sized company with over 90 years of tradition, to find out about developments in logistics. I think we were able to give the Minister a good impression of how a logistics company is not only doing in COVID 19 times but also preparing for a hard Brexit.” The ZUFALL branch manager was also particularly concerned to push the use of hydrogen as a future energy carrier for logistics mobility of the future. “It is now a matter of joining all forces at European level to drive the technology and the necessary infrastructure towards a solution. I am convinced that, in view of the development of land-based freight transport, this is the only way we will achieve the agreed CO² targets,” explains Göbel and appeals, “Research funds alone are not enough; consistent political support for this technology is needed.”

The Minister for Europe thanked the participants for the intensive exchange. “The forwarding and logistics sector has come through the crisis well so far. The declining development in certain areas could be compensated, for example, by the increase in online trade during the Corona crisis. The broad positioning of small and medium-sized enterprises in particular is an important foundation for coping well with the current challenges. The state’s emergency aid and the short-time work scheme have also contributed to this. Employees are the gold of companies. It is therefore important to support companies in retaining their staff even in times of crisis. The fact that many employees work in companies like Zufall logistics group for their entire professional lives shows the great attachment to the company, but also the responsibility that the company assumes for its workforce.”

“Uncertainty still prevails above all on the subject of Brexit. Will an agreement still be reached or not? Customs procedures, but also possible routes to the United Kingdom and Ireland depend on this. In principle, however, Brexit can also bring advantages for the logistics sector in Hesse. Many companies from Great Britain are currently planning European goods and logistics centres in order to continue to be present in the European single market. Here, Hesse can particularly benefit from its geographical location in the heart of Europe,” said the Minister for Europe.