Reporting 2021

Fundamental Information about the Group

As the personally liable general partner of BLG LOGISTICS GROUP AG & Co. KG (BLG KG), the listed company BREMER LAGERHAUS-GESELLSCHAFT -Aktiengesellschaft von 1877- (BLG AG) has assumed the management of the BLG Group. These two companies, which are closely linked in legal, commercial and organizational respects, have prepared the consolidated financial statements as joint parents.

BLG AG does not hold any share capital in BLG KG and is also not entitled to participate in the company’s profits. It receives remuneration for the liability it has assumed and for its business management activities. All limited partnership shares of BLG KG are held by the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen (municipality). The business of BLG KG is managed by the Board of Management of BLG AG as a body of the general partner. The Board of Management is fully accountable for managing the business in accordance with Section 76 (1) of the German Stock Corporation Act (AktG) and is not subject to instructions from the shareholders.

Legal structure of the Group as of December 31, 2021

Legal structure of the Group as of December 31, 2021

Business model and organizational structure

The BLG Group operates externally under the brand BLG LOGISTICS. BLG LOGISTICS is a seaport-oriented logistics service provider with an international network. We have a presence in all the world’s growth markets, with over 100 companies and offices in Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia. We offer our customers in industry and retailing complex logistics system services. Our AUTOMOBILE and CONTAINER Divisions are leaders in Europe. Our CONTRACT Division offers our services at more than 40 locations in Europe and overseas.

As a strategic management holding company, BLG KG focuses on strategic developments at Group level. As a result, the holding company’s influence on the operating business is greater than that of a pure financial holding company, but it is also significantly less than in the case of an operational management holding company. The Board of Management members responsible for the three divisions AUTOMOBILE, CONTRACT and CONTAINER play a special role as an interface to the operating units. The Board of Management determines the Group strategy together with the vision and mission accompanied by strategic guidelines at Group level; together with the operating managers, the relevant Board of Management member determines the strategy at division level within the framework of the Group strategy and is responsible for strategic management of the division. Fulfillment of the respective strategies is supported by the central departments.

In accordance with its defined mission, BLG LOGISTICS aims to make logistics simpler for its customers, so that they can focus on being successful in the market.

BLG LOGISTICS operates in three divisions. Reporting also follows this structure.

The AUTOMOBILE and CONTRACT Divisions are subdivided into business areas. Responsibility for the operational management of the business areas, including earnings responsibility, lies with the relevant business area managers of the AUTOMOBILE and CONTRACT Divisions, and with the Group management of the EUROGATE GmbH & Co. KGaA, KG subgroup for the CONTAINER Division.


The AUTOMOBILE Division is a leading technical and logistics service provider for the international automotive industry. In the 2021 financial year, our worldwide AUTOMOBILE network handled, transported or technically processed 4.8 million vehicles.

In this division, BLG LOGISTICS offers multimodal transport concepts with global logistics reach and dovetails customized and innovative technical service packages. Distribution takes place by road, rail and inland waterway. In addition to the seaport terminals in Bremen, Bremerhaven, Cuxhaven, Hamburg (all Germany) and in Gdansk (Poland), the AUTOMOBILE Division also operates several inland terminals on the Rhine and the Danube. Our truck fleet bases extend across the whole of Europe.

BLG AutoRail is a specialist provider of vehicle transport services by rail, with its own fleet of 1,500 open double-deck railroad cars including 200 flat wagons. This means that the logistics supply chain from the vehicle manufacturers to the end customer is fully covered.

Our wheels never stop turning: BLG’s AUTOMOBILE Division consistently supplements its logistics network with smart digital solutions and sustainable concepts for climate-friendly transport.


The CONTRACT Division manages complex projects and offers our customers reliable logistics solutions. The focus of our know-how and experience lies in procurement, production and distribution logistics as well as in reverse and spare parts logistics. We offer storage, transport, packing and unpacking services, handle conventional orders, e-commerce issues and also a variety of value added services.

As a logistics architect, we plan, configure and operate customized logistics solutions, ranging from highly automated logistics centers to manual in-house handling. Project management is our core competence, and the topic of sustainability and agreed, reliable quality are our top priorities.

Our customers are strong brands from industry and retailing, medium-sized companies and the major German and international car manufacturers. We work at our logistics centers and our customers’ production facilities and plants at over 40 locations in Europe and overseas. Be it automotive parts, railroad components, sportswear, printers, fashion, furniture, foodstuffs, sanitary fixtures and fittings or frozen products – our teams of experts devise customized service packages for a wide variety of goods.


The CONTAINER Division is represented by the EUROGATE joint venture. The EUROGATE Group, in which BLG LOGISTICS holds a 50 percent stake, is Europe’s leading shipping line-independent container terminal group. Together with the Italian terminal operator CONTSHIP Italia, the company operates a network of 11 container terminals from the North Sea to the Mediterranean. Secondary services are also available in the form of intermodal and container-related services.

Changes in the group of consolidated companies

In the CONTRACT Division, BLG Handelslogistik GmbH & Co. KG, Bremen, sold its shareholding in BLG Logistics Solutions Italia S.r.l., Milan, Italy, under contract of February 23, 2021, effective from the same date.

Under contract of February 11, 2021, BLG International Forwarding GmbH & Co. KG, Hamburg, sold its operating business within the scope of an asset deal with effect from April 1, 2021. As part of the subsequent restructuring, the company was absorbed into BLG KG and deconsolidated with effect from October 6, 2021.

In order to expand the depth of services, BLG Logistics, Inc., Atlanta, USA, founded BLG Freight, LLC, Hoover, USA, in the reporting year. The object of the company is the provision of distribution and transport services. Due to the small volume of business, the company was initially not included in the consolidated financial statements.

Research and development

In order to make our customers’ logistics processes fit for the future, we are committed to developing new solutions. At the same time, we focus on continuous process optimization across the entire service portfolio. The necessary innovations for this are developed, managed and ultimately translated into product solutions by the Sustainability and Digitalization department. This ensures that we remain competitive in the long term and positions us vis-à-vis our customers as drivers of the logistics of tomorrow. In evaluating the potential of new ideas, we follow the following approaches:

We test technologies, processes or potential solutions that are still without proof of suitability at selected locations or in individual departments within the scope of 100-day projects. In around three months, this produces a proof of concept which is used as basis for the person who placed the in-house order to decide whether the project is adopted directly in our operations, is further tested and optimized in a 6‑month sprint, is continued on the basis of an operational project, or is not pursued further.

We implement existing and proven solutions directly in the company context via operational innovation projects.

Not least, in research and development projects we collaborate with partners from science and industry on brand new, particularly complex concepts. We were involved in seven such projects in 2021.

In the reporting year, we implemented eight 100-day projects and six 6-month sprints. In addition, conceptual projects were carried out for the CONTRACT and AUTOMOBILE Divisions. These include those from the areas of Robotic Process Automation (RPA), data science, sensor technology and the Internet of Things (IoT). At the Bremen site, for example, we put two autonomously driving forklifts into operation, which now assure the end-to-end provision of materials to and removal from a coating line.

The innovation team also organized numerous workshops on strategic innovation and digitalization topics in the past year. These were supplemented by a training offering under the heading “Digital FIT”, which includes training on the topic of digitalization as well as on the basics of agile working methods. The package also includes the aspects “hybrid working” and “knowledge management”. The aim of the training concept is to make access to new technologies and forms of work easier for employees.

The “SecProPort”, “IRiS” and “SHARC” research projects were completed in the reporting year. As part of a consortium of eight cooperation partners, we worked in the former on the development of IT security architecture to defend port logistics against cyberattacks. In the “IRiS” project, we teamed up with one research partner and two industry partners in developing solutions to automate the unloading of boxes from containers. After enforced delays due to the coronavirus pandemic, the start-up and laboratory tests took place in 2021. The object of the “SHARC” project was a concept for intelligent integration of renewable energy sources into the port energy infrastructure. At the end of November 2021, “SHARC” received an award for its sustainable innovation approach in the Maritime Cluster Northern Germany MCN Cup.

Building on the results of the successful “Isabella” project, the “Isabella 2.0” project launched on July 1, 2020 was continued in 2021. The goal is to integrate processes for all means of transportation, i.e. the loading and unloading of trucks, railroad cars and ships, into the previously developed intelligent management approach and to make it even more efficient through the use of artificial intelligence (AI). Development of a virtual training environment for drivers also addresses the issue of changing work processes. The aim here is to create training programs that simulate transshipment processes in a virtual reality environment.

All four projects are or were funded by the German Federal Ministry of Digital Infrastructure and Transport (BMDV) as part of the IHATEC (Innovative Port Technologies) funding program.

The “KITE” and “INSERT” sponsorship projects launched in 2020 were also continued in the reporting year. In the former, we are working together with one research partner and two industry partners to develop an AI-based forecasting method for predicting transportation volumes. This will hopefully reduce the number of empty runs on the forwarder side by up to 15 percent and in doing so support the overriding goal to make transport logistics more sustainable by lowering CO2 emissions. The project is also sponsored by the BMDV.

In the “INSERT” project, which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), we are also working together with three collaboration partners. This involves the development of an assistance system for drafting initial concepts for production and logistics planning, for which corresponding expert knowledge is transferred into an AI-based system. This adaptive system is designed to support planners and consequently enhance the quality of the developed concepts. At the same time, we are working to significantly shorten planning processes.

The “PortSkill 4.0 education hub of the German port operators” was newly launched at the end of 2021. The aim of this project, which is also funded as part of the IHATEC program, is to analyze, research and train the skills and qualifications port employees of the future will need. This will culminate in the conception and testing of new learning concepts and methods with a focus on digital learning. The idea is to develop learning scenarios that employees can test iteratively in a digital testing and training center (DTTC).

In the reporting year, we submitted three additional applications for new research projects, one of which has already been confirmed. Consequently, in 2022 we will be looking at intelligent work ergonomics using sensory exoskeletons and autonomous transport systems for advanced human-technology interaction.

In 2021, BLG LOGISTICS thus participated in a total of seven cooperation projects with a total volume of EUR 14.6 million.

Relevant legal and economic factors

BLG LOGISTICS has to observe a wide range of national and international legislation. In addition to regulations under public law, capital market law, employment law including occupational health and safety legislation, transport and customs laws and competition law are particularly relevant to us. Collective pay agreements in Germany are one of the most important economic factors for BLG LOGISTICS, as a large proportion of the workforce is employed in Germany and personnel expenses for our own as well as external staff represent the main cost item. Because our business model is capital-intensive in all divisions, the cost of capital also plays a significant role.

Group control

Financial key performance indicators

As part of BLG LOGISTICS’ mission and vision and the sharpening of strategic guidelines, the management system was designed to be as clear and transparent as possible.

Management indicators Actual/Target/Forecast   2020
Target achievement
EBT EUR thousand -116,127 Significant improvement 52,226 Forecast achieved Significant decline
Revenue EUR thousand 1,065,235 Previous year’s level 1,050,438 Forecast almost achieved Previous year’s level
EBT margin Percent -10.9 Significant improvement 5.0 Forecast achieved Significant decline

The key management indicators of BLG LOGISTICS on which internal reporting and remuneration systems below the level of the Board of Management are based in the 2021 financial year were:

  • EBT
    Earnings before taxes (EBT – earnings before taxes) is the basis for determining profitability, independently of tax effects that cannot be influenced. This is also suitable for measuring profitability in an international comparison.

  • Revenue
    Group revenue is derived from the consolidated statement of profit or loss and other comprehensive income and does not include the revenue of the CONTAINER Division.

  • EBT margin
    Dividing EBT by revenue produces the EBT margin. This is an indicator of a company’s efficiency and profitability.

The table compares the expected management indicators with those achieved in the financial year and shows the forecast for the following financial year. For commentary relating to the 2021 financial year, please refer to the Report on economic position.

By resolution of the Annual General Meeting on June 2, 2021, a new remuneration system was introduced for the Board of Management with retroactive effect from January 1, 2021. Accordingly, the variable remuneration of the Board of Management is measured against the following indicators:

Short-term component:

  • EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes)


  • 70 percent RoCE (return on capital employed)

  • 15 percent CO2 emissions

  • 7.5 percent proportion of trainees in total workforce

  • 7.5 percent 1,000-employee rate based on work-related accidents.

It is planned to apply the above measurement variables for the Board of Management remuneration to other levels across the Group in the future.

EBIT and RoCE are calculated as shown in the following graphic. On account of the significant contribution of the CONTAINER Division to the earnings of the BLG Group, income from investments is also recognized in EBIT.

Calculation of EBIT and RoCE

These indicators were explicitly included for the first time in the planning for the 2022 financial year. As RoCE and EBIT are key indicators for the remuneration system, they will be included as management indicators in the future and are also included and explained in the Outlook.

Non-financial key performance indicators

In addition to the above-mentioned indicators for determining the variable compensation of the Board of Management, the other non-financial key performance indicators are individual management variables depending on the operating business unit. This includes measurement variables such as vehicle handling, processed quantities and container handling. In order to assess future developments, we rely on a continuous dialog with customers and closely monitor overall economic developments in order to be able to react to changes at an early stage.

Non-financial key performance indicators

Employees 2021

Employees by division

The number of persons employed in the divisions, excluding the Board of Management as well as apprentices and trainees, is shown in the table, broken down by division, pursuant to Section 267 (5) HGB (annual average).

Employees by division 2021 2020 Percentage
AUTOMOBILE Division 3,397 3,331 2.0
of which blue-collar workers 2,920 2,852  
of which white-collar workers 477 479  
CONTRACT Division 6,599 6,287 5.0
of which blue-collar workers 5,292 4,902  
of which white-collar workers 1,307 1,385  
CONTAINER Division 1,582 1,618 -2.2
of which blue-collar workers 1,122 1,146  
of which white-collar workers 460 472  
Segment employees 11,578 11,236 3.0
of which blue-collar workers 9,334 8,900  
of which white-collar workers 2,244 2,336  
Services 374 373 0.3
of which blue-collar workers 0 0  
of which white-collar workers 374 373  
Employees incl. CONTAINER Division 11,952 11,609 3.0
of which blue-collar workers 9,334 8,900  
of which white-collar workers 2,618 2,709  
Less employees of the CONTAINER Division -1,582 -1,618 -2.2
of which blue-collar workers -1,122 -1,146  
of which white-collar workers -460 -472  
Employees of BLG LOGISTICS 10,370 9,991 3.8
of which blue-collar workers 8,212 7,754  
of which white-collar workers 2,158 2,237  

As an international seaport-oriented logistics service provider, BLG LOGISTICS requires committed, motivated and skilled employees in order to be successful in the market over the long term and to meet the continuous challenges of globalization and demographic change. Since the 2019 financial year, this has been underscored by a wide range of measures and campaigns under the motto “#SuccessDependsOnEverybody” spanning all levels from temporary employees to the Board of Management and all areas and locations of BLG LOGISTICS.

In order to attract, develop and retain its employees, BLG LOGISTICS aims to consistently maintain its image as an attractive company on the labor market. That is why our personnel policies include options for maintaining a work-life balance and specific health management mechanisms, as well as performance-related pay and targeted training opportunities.

The successful implementation of a clear and forward-looking strategy largely depends on BLG LOGISTICS’ management. Our leadership principles and our corporate values support us in achieving a shared understanding of leadership at all levels.

In the reporting year, the average number of employees (excluding the CONTAINER Division) increased by 379 persons year on year, which is equivalent to 3.8 percent.

The increase in the CONTRACT Division is primarily due to new hires in connection with business expansion, especially at our new locations.

Employees by age group

Employees by age group

Employees by gender*

Employees by gender<sup>*</sup>

* In the past, we have only categorized our workforce into men and women, but we are aware that not everybody self-identifies with either of these genders. To date, only a few of our own workforce have identified as diverse. As we are currently talking about a proportion of less than 0.1 percent, we do not yet explicitly include this group in our statistics. However, in the interests of equal representation, we will continue to monitor this aspect.

Non-financial report

In accordance with the provisions of the Act to Strengthen Non-Financial Reporting by Companies in their Management Reports and Group Reports (CSR Directive Implementation Act), BLG LOGISTICS has prepared a non-financial Group statement in accordance with Section 315b HGB since the 2017 financial year. This statement is integrated into the sustainability report as a separate non-financial report, which can be downloaded from Our 2021 sustainability report also details other non-financial topics.