Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Staff Cuts Announced As Real Cost of Freight Forwarding Acquisition Takes Hold

Combining Two Logistics Giants Always Meant Reductions in Personnel
Shipping News Feature

SWITZERLAND – DENMARK – After the prolonged negotiations which led Danish logistics group DSV to acquire the assets of freight forwarder Panalpina, the real cost to the Swiss company is revealed as staff cuts are announced.

Personnel at the former Panalpina headquarters in Basle have been advised that, unsurprisingly, overlapping corporate functions and positions will either be cut or relocated to the headquarters in Denmark, meaning up to 165 job losses according to DSV management. Jens Bjørn Andersen, CEO, DSV Panalpina, explained:

“As we integrate Panalpina into the DSV Panalpina Group, we recognise that there are substantial duplications of corporate functions. We are also seeing considerable overlaps in the IT department, as IT systems that will no longer be used in the combined group are phased out.

”As a result, we are considering several restructuring measures. According to our analysis, we will not be able to avoid job cuts and the relocation of positions to DSV Panalpina’s headquarters in Denmark.”

Some departments have suffered less from the axe apparently including among others, critical positions in Sales, Operations, IT and Innovation. DSV says it expects to retain approximately 50% of Panalpina’s current head office workforce following completion of the restructuring by the end of Q2 2020.

DSV Panalpina has, as one would expect, initiated the necessary consultation process in line with Swiss labour law, and has indicated that it will present a first draft of a social plan at the end of the consultation period. The social plan aims to define measures to reduce job losses and to mitigate their effects.

In addition, DSV Panalpina has invited employees to vote on the election of an employee representation body in order to facilitate the negotiation process for the social plan. Speaking to employees at the former Panalpina headquarters last week, Group CFO Jens H. Lund reinforced the company’s commitment to do all within its reasonable control to find appropriate solutions for everybody affected.

At the same time, Lund underlined DSV Panalpina’s strong interest in retaining a commercial and operational presence at its Basel office and in expanding its logistical footprint in the Basel area in the mid-term by consolidating suitable operational activities in Switzerland. To that effect, DSV Panalpina says it has established contacts with key representatives of the Department of Economic, Social and Environmental Affairs of the Canton Basel-Stadt to explore opportunities for investment in the Basel area.