1. Is 2014 the year when we ‘forget’ about the economic crisis and start a new growth cycle? Give us your personal opinion about the evolution of the Romanian economy in 2014 and beyond.
I am optimistic about the Romanian economy’s evolution. As the leading international express company in the market, we consider ourselves – through our partnership with over 5,000 customers and organizations – to be a good barometer of
economic tendencies within the country. The fact that our current growth is in excess of 10% is indeed a good sign. From our perspective, it is clear that the vast majority of Romania’s significant foreign investors are satisfied with the performance of their Romanian operations; something that the considerable number of expansion projects currently underway across the country attests to.
We also observe with increasing frequency Romanian small and medium sized enterprises looking to penetrate new international markets. The success of these smaller enterprises is also likely to be crucial to Romania’s ability to drive
growth in the coming years.
2. What will the next cycle of growth look like compared to the previous one? What has changed? What are the lessons we should not forget, in order not to repeat the mistakes of the past? How will the ‘new normal’ look for the Romanian economy?
The next cycle of growth is likely to be far more measured than the immediate pre-crisis years. Romania, like its neighboring countries, is highly dependent on the economies of primarily Western Europe, which accounts for over 80% of all DHL Romania’s export shipments. Nevertheless, 2014 estimates show that Romanian GDP growth is likely to be one of the healthiest in Europe. It would be hoped that new avenues for growth are forged by small and medium sized enterprises in particular; we see huge strength and competitive advantage in areas such as technology and IT, as well as textiles, to name but two industries that are highly developed in Romania. In terms of lessons learned, the more permissive financial environment that existed precrisis is clearly now more highly regulated, and it seems likely that the “new normal” in Romania, as in other EU countries, will be characterized by an altogether more cautious approach to investment, with a clear focus on optimization of resource.
3. Does Romania still have a future potential to attract FDI or do we have to ‘manage’ with internal resources?
Romania remains, we believe, a highly attractive market for foreign investors. As previously mentioned, those investors who have set up in Romania, weathered the crisis, made local partners and demonstrated their long-term commitment to the market, have largely enjoyed great success. The country’s outstanding human capital remains one of its greatest resources. Investments in transport infrastructure will also be likely to add to this attractiveness, as well as advances in many technological areas.
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4. Which are the most important changes you have made in your business over the past years to help you grow in the future?
The key to DHL Romania’s success in recent years has been that we have continued to make investments into our network and operation in order to continue to provide our customers with outstanding service levels. Last year 98% of all export express shipments from Romania reached their destination within the target transit time. Whether it is doubling the plane capacity of our Arad and Cluj flights, investing in 100 new VW Crafter vehicles, or opening new improved facilities across the country – most notably in Cluj airport last month – we continue to grow with our customers. Currently, we are particularly focused on the support we offer small and medium sized enterprises, which are our fastest growing customer segment at the moment, and have implemented a range of services and products aimed at facilitating trade and the international market for local businesses in Romania.
5. How do you see the priorities and opportunities for your business in 2014 and beyond?
Investment will remain a key – both in our network and our people. Of crucial importance is our global training program, Certified International Specialist, which is a specialized express logistics training given to all staff, and facilitated by the company’s managements. This has ensured that our people remain knowledgeable and passionate about what we do. Support of local Romanian customers is another key priority, which is also an opportunity.
Overall I would say that we need to continue to make incremental improvements every day to keep supporting our customers, as only in this way will we continue to ensure that we provide the same level of quality and service that they expect from a market leader such as DHL.