Reporting 2020


Interview with Michael Blach
In this interview, Michael Blach, CEO of the EUROGATE Group, talks about the recently launched transformation program. The program will further improve customer-orientation and ensure the digital future of the group.

What is the situation at EUROGATE right now?

EUROGATE is on the move. We’re involved in a dynamic process, both nationally and internationally. Business is good, and of course we’re key to keeping essential supplies flowing in our country. That became especially clear during the pandemic. At the same time, our company faces major challenges. Big changes are taking place in international container shipping, which is dominated by alliances and massive market pressure from European competitors. In response to this situation, we launched our Future EUROGATE transformation program at the end of 2019.

What are the motivations for and goals of Future EUROGATE?

Our container terminals are vital for the functioning of Germany’s economy. We contribute to the fact that our country has for years maintained its status as the No. 1 exporting nation. 90 percent of all traded goods are transported by sea. Without us, life as we know it wouldn’t be possible. We are system relevant. But we’re not alone. Looking at the current competition, our German locations Hamburg and Bremerhaven have fallen behind other European ports, especially Antwerp and Rotterdam. What’s more, the continuous expansion of container terminal capacities throughout Europe is resulting in spare capacities and fierce price competition. Simultaneously, goods flows are changing, for example in the Mediterranean and the Baltic Sea. These developments mean our way of handling containers is no longer viable. Future EUROGATE is our response to these changes. It will restore the profitability of our German terminals. At the same time, we are investing in digitalization and cutting-edge technol­ogy. This is how Future EUROGATE will ensure the continued existence of the company.

What are the key measures?

To put it simply, it’s all about increasing efficiency and productivity. Everything’s on the table. We’re analyzing and improving our corporate structures – in all areas and at all levels! We’ve drawn up around 200 individual measures. The overriding goal is to ensure we can meet our customers’ needs and wishes even better – and more profitably.

“To make our transformation process a success, we need everybody to pull together. Our company can only be successful if we implement Future EUROGATE together, in unison and without compromise.”

Michael Blach, CEO of the EUROGATE Group

When will the first milestones be reached?

We have presented the action packages to the employee representative bodies. And we’ve been able to implement the first steps, for example eliminating redundant structures in management and pooling central purchasing. We’re on the right track and expect to achieve our first goals in 2021. But one thing’s clear: To make our transformation process a success, we need everybody to pull together. Our company can only be successful if we implement Future EUROGATE together, in unison and without compromise.

How do you plan to ensure the competitiveness of the locations in the long term?

Future EUROGATE is the first and extremely important step. All the measures we’re starting to implement now will help get the group back on track. This will involve change, significantly improving structures and streamlining as well as accelerating our handling processes. However, in the medium and long term, we want to be more than just a healthy company. We want to operate modern, highly efficient terminals and offer services our customers don’t want to do without. That’s why we will in future significantly increase the automation and digitalization of our handling processes. To make this possible, we’re investing in technology and the qualification of skilled employees.

How will employees benefit from digitalization? How do you plan to prepare your colleagues for the digital and automated future?

EUROGATE has from the start embraced digitalized processes. This year, we are again developing improved software – from control of the terminal to better customer service to truck processing. It’s no good trying to hold back progress. Instead, we will actively shape the digital future and further increase our operational performance. This will also secure the future of Germany’s sea ports.