Hellmann and Geodis are getting closer: following their cooperation in the UK, they are to extend their land transport partnership to Germany and France.

Hellmann said that from 1 September it would end its long-standing groupage agreement with Heppner, in favour of Geodis.

“France is the most important export market for Hellmann in the land transport sector, and with this partnership we will be able to consistently expand our strong market position,” said Matthias Magnor, chief operating officer road & rail.

“We have found a very powerful and well-positioned partner in Geodis, with which we will continue to optimise the services offered to our customers.”

Hellmann last year opened an air and seafreight branch near Paris and is expanding its product portfolio in France, which it said was “strategically important”, with new routes.

Geodis said the partnership offered it a “unique cross-border grid … with attractive delivery times between Germany and France”.

Stéphane Cassagne, executive vice president of Geodis Distribution & Express, added: “We have been working successfully with Hellmann in Great Britain for several weeks. With our relationship now firmly established, we look forward to expanding this collaboration.”

The move will no doubt trigger talk of even deeper cooperation. Geodis’ management has publicly stated – although not this year – that it was looking for a bit of M&A action, with particular focus on Germany. However, owner SNCF will have different ideas, and Ceva Logistics is said to make more sense.

Privately owned Hellmann also says publicly it is not for sale. However, it is widely rumoured that its volatile profitability and debt load are making its bankers uneasy.

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