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National Protectionism: Logistics Is Adapting

October 18, 2018

Survey by BVL and transport logistic

  • Survey: Customs duties threaten international trade flows
  • More than 550 German and international logistics experts surveyed
  • Interactive website on trade flows and customs duties


Logistics experts consider protectionism and punitive tariffs as a clear threat to international trade. This is the result of a recent survey by BVL and transport logistic. Industry sees itself more affected than trade in this respect. Logistics is already adapting or will soon be doing so. BVL's new website “Flows and Tolls” provides a wide range of information on this topic.

More than 550 logistics experts from the contact groups of transport logistic and BVL took part in the survey entitled “Current Challenges in International Supply Chains”. “The responses confirm the public perception that protectionism and general punitive tariffs pose a threat to international trade and that sanctions must be carefully decided on a case-by-case basis,” Dr. Christian Grotemeier, Managing Director of, a subsidiary of the Bundesvereinigung Logistik (BVL), explained. “It is also surprising that of the respondents from trade only 21 percent believe that they are strongly or very severely affected by the hurdles in foreign trade, whereas it is 31 percent in industry.”

Great importance of transatlantic relations
All respondents agreed on the importance of the trade partnership between the USA and the EU. 58 percent of German respondents and 60 percent of foreign respondents stated that the quality of trade relations is very important or important for their business. No other trade partnership was attributed such importance. The respondents see the solution to the resulting problems in logistics and supply chain management. Eleven percent said they had already optimized supply chains comprehensively, and 62 percent plan to do so in the near future.

“National protectionism was already a key topic at transport logistic 2017 and it will be one again in 2019,” Stefan Rummel, Managing Director of Messe München, explained. “The topic is also extremely relevant for us as a trade fair. After all, we are in the midst of global trade flows with our transport logistic network with eight international spin-offs, among others in China.”

Interactive website, practical examples and interviews with experts
Participants from industry and commerce, logistics and IT service providers, science and consulting took part in the survey. Detailed results of the survey, practical examples, interviews with expert and an interactive infographic are elements of a new information offer from the English-language, subject-specific website Goods flows and customs duties can be determined on the basis of an interactive world map there. Users can filter by countries, product groups, exports and imports. With it, BVL and transport logistic provide a valuable research tool.