The year 2024 looks like it may just be the year of acquisitions for the logistics industry. Several media are reporting that shipping giant Maersk may consider acquiring DB Schenker. 

Maersk CEO Vincent Clerc told Nasdaq: “It will have consequences whether we do the deal or don’t do the deal because it changes the landscape in logistics… It would not be responsible of us not to look into it.” 

A global leader in logistics, Maersk operates in over 130 countries. 

Strong financials in 2023 for logistics 

The logistics and shipping industry were turned upside down with the recent Red Sea crisis. Several companies had to brace themselves for cargo delays and supply shortages – and shipping lines had to contend with re-routing vessels. Some opted to take the Cape of Good Hope route. 

Clerc, however, says 2023 was a transitional year following a market boom caused by the pandemic. “We secured solid financial results despite significantly changed circumstances, and we are well positioned to manage the expected headwinds in 2024,” Clerc says. The company expects an underlying EBITDA between $1 billion and $6 billion for the full year of 2024. 

Resilient supply chain is needed 

“The current market remains one of robust volumes, but while the Red Sea crisis has caused immediate capacity constraints and a temporary increase in rates, eventually the oversupply in shipping capacity will lead to price pressure and impact our results,” Clerc says. He adds that the ongoing disruptions and market volatility emphasize the need for supply chain resilience. 

This week, leading supply chain solutions company Blue Yonder announced its acquisition of flexis AG, a flexible, innovative software technology provider. Blue Yonder is on a mission to transform the supply chain industry. 

In October 2023, Blue Yonder acquired Doddle. The business move sees the London-based company expand its offering with full-circle expertise encompassing final mile, returns management, and reverse logistics solutions.

In November, the most noticeable acquisition in the logistics space was Flexport’s acquisition of Convoy’s technology stack. 

Acquisitions in logistics market 

There are other acquisitions in the logistics market that will assist in reshaping the industry. This month, Logistics specialists DHL Global Forwarding, part of the DHL Group, completed its acquisition of shares in Danzas AEI Emirates. 

The M&A market is on an upward swing in 2024, according to PwC’s Brian Levy:  “We expect the M&A markets to embark on a new upward trajectory, with a steady increase in activity as the year progresses. Indeed, a flurry of deals in the past few months suggests that this rise in dealmaking may already have started in some sectors.” 

He adds that key elements to drive value creation in 2024 will be a need for speed, a focus on talent, and the willingness to be bold.

About the author

Sharl is a qualified journalist. He has over 10 years’ experience in the media industry, including positions as an editor of a magazine and Business Editor of a daily newspaper. Sharl also has experience in logistics specifically operations, where he worked with global food aid organisations distributing food into Africa. Sharl enjoys writing business stories and human interest pieces.