According to the World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index 2014 (LPI Report), Germany is the world’s current logistics champion (http://lpi.worldbank.org/). The joy is mixed: the poor state of the infrastructure in Germany has been a topic of public discussion for years. The German Association of Cities and Municipalities sees a need for additional investment in the German road network to the tune of €7.2 billion per year. To renovate or build new bridges alone, the country requires €17 billion, adds the German Institute for Urbanism. “But it is not enough to invest in concrete and steel,” says Professor Alan McKinnon from Kühne Logistics University Hamburg (KLU). “More and more, the efficiency of the logistics markets depends on the performance quality and competency of the sector’s managers. Above all, we need to invest in minds.”
“Germany’s challenge is to retain its top logistics ranking. The 2014 LPI Report indicates how the country can achieve this goal. It shows that the most important USP in the high-income countries’ mature logistics markets is not infrastructure or the customs service – the standard is generally high. Attention is turning to the excellence of young logistics managers,” McKinnon told the 150 guests at the World Bank’s presentation of the LPI results at Kühne Logistics University today (March 31, 2014). Head of the Logistics department at KLU, McKinnon also chairs the Transport Advisory Board for horizon 2020, the EU framework program for research and innovation. In this office, he advises the EU Commission.
Jean-François Arvis, World Bank senior economist and Christina Busch economist at the World Bank and co-author of the report, presented the LPI Report at KLU.
McKinnon is not surprised that the World Bank chose to hold its exclusive presentation of the 2014 LPI study results in Germany at KLU, the world’s only logistics university, established in Hamburg in 2010. “Kühne Logistics University’s mission is to train the next generation of logistics managers – who Germany will be able to rely on to maintain its high ranking in future LPI studies,” said McKinnon. “In many countries, there is a shortage of qualified logistics experts and trained staff. If Germany wants to stay at the top, it has to focus on acquiring highly qualified university graduates for the logistics field.”
Professor Frank Straube (Chair in Logistics at TU Berlin) agrees: “Logistics is the bloodstream of business and society. The current challenges are global transport reliability, volatility, sustainability, the integration of transportation and logistics networks, and the continuing education and training of people.” As the country with the best rating, Germany is the world’s logistics champion in 2014, but the top 9 (the Netherlands, Belgium, Great Britain, Singapore, Sweden, Norway, Luxembourg, the US and Japan) are equals in some aspects and better in others. “Being number 1 in the index is good for bragging rights but in reality, there is little difference between number 1 and number 10,” said Prof. Rod Franklin, Department of Logistics at Kühne Logistics University Hamburg and vice chairman of the Alliance for Logistics Innovation through Collaboration in Europe (ALICE).
Being the champion does not automatically mean being the best at everything. “While German logistics managers will naturally take pride in their country’s no.1 ranking in this year’s LPI survey, other messages which merit attention emerge from the survey. For example, it confirms that shippers are attaching increasing importance to the environmental performance of logistics operations, particularly in high-income countries like Germany. This is not currently an LPI criterion, but if it were, how high would Germany’s score be?” asks logistics expert McKinnon.
But ultimately, McKinnon strikes a positive note: “One LPI criterion for which Germany obtained the highest score was the quality of its transport infrastructure. Many managers, politicians, and citizens may be surprised by this result, as they often complain about the state of the country’s transport networks. While in absolute terms it may be deficient, relative to that of other countries, the German infrastructure is judged to be very good.”
Prof. Dr. Alan McKinnon
Head of Logistics Department
Kühne Logistics University – The KLU Wissenschaftliche Hochschule für Logistik und Unternehmensführung
Großer Grasbrook 17
Tel.: +49 40 328707-271
Fax: +49 40 328707-109