As a member of the European Union (EU), with an advantageous location in Europe, a relatively low-cost structure and a well-qualified labour force, Czech Republic is an economic rock in the continent’s centre. Real GDP growth peaked in 2017, but will remain solid over the coming years and outperform the wider EU.
As a member of the European Union (EU), with an advantageous location in Europe, a relatively low-cost structure and a well-qualified labour force, Czech Republic is an economic rock in the continent’s centre. Real GDP growth peaked in 2017, experts say, but will remain solid over the coming years and outperform the wider EU, making it a promising destination for business and foreign trade.
The country of 11 million, which has Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Poland as its neighbours, is a highly developed and industrialized economy in Central Europe. Its strong industrial tradition dates to the 19th century, when Bohemia and Moravia were the industrial heartland of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
The Czech Republic has a well-educated population and a well-developed infrastructure. The principal industries are motor vehicles, machine-building, iron and steel production. Due to its ideal location from a logistics point of view, Czech Republic is well-placed for the distribution of goods to Western, Central and Eastern European countries.
According to a report from financial services firm Santander, the automobile industry is the backbone of trade, both for imports and exports, and car and spare part manufacturing accounting for nearly 20% of Czech exports. Machinery is another major source of Czech exports. Vehicles and spare parts are also among major imports, followed by data processing machines, telecommunication devices and medicine.
Germany is Czech Republic’s major trading partner, receiving nearly a third of its exports and supplying a quarter of its imports. Slovakia is in second place, followed by Poland, France and United Kingdom. Becoming a member of the EU has allowed the Czech Republic to enter the Common Market and solidify its position as a low-cost production base.
The country now accounts for 80% of its trade with OECD countries (80% of which with the EU). Several agreements facilitate trade with neighbouring countries. Exports grew to a five-year high of USD 202.3 billion in 2018, against USD 184.7 billion for imports—and the country has sustained this strong foreign trade position.
To cement its strong position as an industrialised economy with strong foreign trade credentials, Czech Republic also makes it simple to transfer goods around the country and indeed the region. The country may be landlocked, but it has among the densest railway network in the world (over 122 metres of track per kilometre), has 56,000 km of roadways and its capital Prague has an airport that handled 17 million passengers and 82,000 tons of cargo.
“For the last few decades, the Czech Republic has built a strong and diversified economy with a foreign trade surplus,” says Jirí Ptácek, Country Manager, ECU Worldwide Czech Republic. “Recognizing the inherent strengths of this country’s economic fundamentals, we plan to further leverage our presence through ECU Worldwide Czech Republic and build a strong case for our NVOCC services in the country and region,” he continues. ECU Worldwide hasn’t had an easy ride in the region—it has bested strong competition in the market and surmounted both pricing pressure and high-quality offerings from rivals.
“Recognising the potential in the region, we have been an early and aggressive investor in setting up and expanding its logistics capabilities. Backed by efficient, hassle-free cargo transportation, a global network operating via more than 300 offices in over 160 countries, along with local expertise and expert professionals to help with documentation and customs formalities, we are ideally placed to tap this opportunity,” says Thomas Heydorn, Regional CEO – Germany, CNE and Scandinavia, ECU Worldwide.
ECU Worldwide’s Czech Republic unit is responsible for the Czech and neighbouring Slovakia market with 15 million inhabitants across both countries. The Port of Hamburg in Germany is a gateway to these landlocked countries with a developed rail/road connection from port to hinterland. There is, as yet, plenty of scope to increase ECU Worldwide’s market share across these two countries.
To maximise the potential from this market, ECU Worldwide Czech Republic offers short sea services and freight services. It has an experienced staff that is capable of handling IMO and veterinary shipments, offering the full scope of logistics services (door – door deliveries, customs clearance, packing, labelling, etc.), backed by a strong global network and e-services. ECU Worldwide Czech Republic’s worldwide Less than Container Load (LCL) and Full Container Load (FCL) export volumes are also growing thanks to its professional and experienced staff.
There are opportunities opening up in short sea FCL export business to United Kingdom after Brexit and ECU Worldwide Czech Republic is already geared up to offer this service to customers.
Always staying a step ahead of the competition and persevering to deliver the best services with excellence, ECU Worldwide Czech Republic has been and continues to help businesses in the region broaden their horizons and tap into newer markets around the globe.