2018 was yet another record year for DSV. We performed according to our own expectations and achieved strong organic growth across all business areas.
A year of geopolitical concerns
During 2018, several geopolitical issues caused uncertainty in the logistics markets – most notably the implementation of trade tariffs between the US and China and the ongoing Brexit negotiations. The direct impact on our activities and financial results in 2018, however, was limited.
We are currently working closely with our customers to make sure that we will be prepared – as best we can – for the different Brexit and "trade war" scenarios. We hope that the contending parties will reach good, sustainable agreements.
In DSV, we are great believers in free trade and globalisation, and our base assumption is that global trade will grow in line with GDP in the coming years. In any case, we are flexible and will adapt to changing market conditions if necessary.
A disciplined approach to M&A
In 2018, we continued to benefit commercially from the strong market position and scale benefits we gained through the successful integration of UTi.
While M&A remains an important part of our strategy, we are also a disciplined and patient buyer. We pursue M&A opportunities when we see a strong business case and value for DSV’s shareholders. But M&A is not a must – we already have a strong platform for organic growth and a clear target of outgrowing the under-lying market. In 2018, we delivered on this target and took market share across all business areas.
We constantly focus on our customer relationships, looking for ways to improve our value proposition. Our financial performance is proof of high productivity and a strong performance culture. For our customers, this translates into high-quality services.
The durability of the freight forwarder
Digitalisation and new technology remain hot topics in our industry, and the freight forwarder has been declared an endangered species for decades. In 2018, DSV performed better than ever and our strategy has stood the test of time; the asset-light business model combined with focus on growth, operational excellence and people is a winning recipe. For this reason, we hold on to our vision and strategy.
We will continue to develop our IT infrastructure and our digital services, and we strongly believe that we will benefit from further digitalisation and new technology.
In 2018, our staff increased by 3.9%. While we continue to rationalise through digital workflows, IT systems and automation, we still need the right people to support our growth.
Further steps towards ensuring a talent pipeline and structured people development were taken in 2018 with the expansion of DSV Academy and implementation of a global talent management programme.
Targeting further growth
The plan for 2019 is further growth – both organic and inorganic. We assume that the transport markets will grow around 3% and expect that we can take market share.
We will continue to look for suitable M&A candidates to accelerate growth, but we will also keep a strong focus on delivering high-quality services to customers, so we can grow with them.
Read more in the DSV 2018 Annual Report