Euro Supply Chain

by Christiane PERRUCHOT - Traces Ecrites Interview with Jean-Marc Rohlmann, President of ACUTA (Association des Chargeurs et Utilisateurs de Transport en Alsace)

Can you present your structure?
For 42 years, ACUTA has been bringing together shippers (industrialists, large businesses) who are involved in downstream freight - from the factory to the customer - and upstream of the production process. 70% of the members are shippers, 30% are logistics service providers (logisticians, maritime associations, specialized lawyers, etc.) All modes of transport are concerned: road, rail, sea, river. Its role is to defend the interests of its members, of which there are about a hundred, and to represent them before regional and national authorities. ACUTA has a recognized legitimacy in this field. It is a member of the Observatoire Régional Transports et Logistique (ORT) Grand Est, a forum for exchange with State administrations and local authorities, and a member of the prefect's economic unit. Our organization is also the regional "correspondent" of the AUTF (Association des Utilisateurs de Transport de Fret) of which it is one of the members of the board of directors. Thus, it brings to Paris the specific problems of the region. In addition to its representative function, ACUTA is also a place for information and reflection. Monthly round tables, which are currently transformed into fortnightly video meetings due to the health crisis, allow members to learn from each other's experience on current issues and longer-term reflections on the evolution of their professions.

Why do you support the Euro Supply Chain exhibition?
There was no professional event of transport and logistics in the Grand Est. It will be a great showcase for our trades. The exhibition stands of the companies and the conferences organized at our initiative, will bring to the regional actors solutions facing the evolution of the logistics which accelerated with the pandemic. This local exhibition should also be an opening towards national, cross-border and international issues.

What changes are taking place in logistics?
Our businesses are changing enormously, and the pandemic has accelerated this trend. We had to adapt to the explosion of B-to-C online orders and to the difficulties of supplying raw materials. Rebounding today means re-greening our businesses. The decarbonization of logistics is one of the central concerns of ACUTA, which supports companies in reducing their energy impact through two Ademe programs, EVE (Engagements Volontaires pour l'Environnement) and Fret 21, which will be presented at the Euro Supply Chain exhibition. CSR is a daily challenge for companies, which is reflected in their purchasing policy, the environmental quality of buildings, the organization of last mile logistics, etc. The supply chain is also faced with a need for increasingly efficient digitalization to gain in agility: reduce delivery times, increase customer satisfaction, optimize routes. The solutions? Prepare the robotization of warehouses to, for example, reduce certain duplicated tasks at the shipper and carrier, pool volumes, combine all modes of transport. To follow this evolution, companies have important aids and they must be aware that the return on investment in the medium term is favorable. 

What is your position on a local but strategic issue, the ecotax on heavy goods vehicles?
We are opposed to any regional tax that puts Alsatian entrepreneurs at a disadvantage compared to those in other regions of France, and we are in a position of dialogue with the European Collectivity of Alsace, knowing that the ecotax is not yet applicable even if the law is passed. We can also ask ourselves the question of the long-term effectiveness of this tax, which is intended in part to finance infrastructures when the conversion of propulsion energies will have become more widespread.