“The keys in this sector are the constant improvement of procedures, making sure that the information provided to the customers is always updated, and the proper management of internal resources by constantly training the employees while attracting new talents.”
We recently did an interview with Maria de Magalhães Albuquerque the Sea Freight Supervisor of ETE Logistica, S.A, the Globalia member in Porto and Lisbon, Portugal. In this interview, she touches upon the strong points of her company, the technological challenges faced by freight forwarders, and the advantages of becoming a Globalia member among several other things.
Q. Can you tell us a little about the history of ETE Logistica?
A. ETE Logistica was created back in 2008 and is a part of Grupo ETE which is the largest Portuguese player in the maritime sector offering services in 6 main areas – port operations, inland water transportation, shipping, shipping agents, logistics operations, naval engineering, and shipbuilding and repair.
Q. What distinguishes ETE Logistica from other freight forwarders in your city?
A. We have been offering specialized, competitive and customer-oriented services to our clients, thanks to our wide competencies in maritime, road and air operations.
Q. What has been the greatest success of your team so far? How did you handle it?
A. Our most successful shipment consisted of a cargo of breakwater pontoons, the value of which was estimated at 200 000€. This shipment was successfully handled and coordinated by our 2 offices in Portugal.
Q. What according to you are the main technological challenges facing freight forwarders at the moment? How important is technology for the industry?
A. The biggest technological challenge we are facing revolves around the implementation of a computer program which serves both the operations and the sales department so as to keep all the info online and up to date. Technology plays a major role in the dissemination of information between departments as well as with the customers. In today’s fast-paced times it is absolutely essential that our clients be informed about the exact location of their cargo at any given time. Although this is a rather ambitious plan, I am sure it will be possible in the near future.
Q. What are the main advantages of operating from Portugal? Are there any challenges facing your country at this moment?
A. Geographically our country is strategically located with privileged access to the Mediterranean and Northern Europe (by sea, land, and rail), North and South America, the entire African continent, as well as the Middle East and the Far East. The greatest challenge for our country is to upgrade its outdated railway network which connects Portugal to other European countries. Moreover, we also need to increase the capacity of the ports in various parts of Portugal.
‘The advantage of being a part of Globalia is the exchanging of shipments with other agents which allows us to win more businesses with better competitive values for our customers.’
Q. From your own experience, which are the keys to success in the freight forwarding industry?
A. The keys to the success of a freight forwarder are the constant improvement of procedures, making sure that the information provided to the customers are always updated, and the proper management of internal resources especially in the area of employees. Freight forwarders need to constantly train the employees while attracting new talents to this sector and allow the new recruits to interact and work with the seniors so as to foster a synergy that will contribute to the sustainable growth of the company.
Q. What is your impression about our Annual Meetings?
A. The Annual Meetings allow the agents to meet face to face, exchange experiences, share ideas and develop contacts. The informal and relaxed environment of the meetings fosters empathy, strengthens ties, and helps us grow our business.
|Q. How did you hear about Globalia? Which advantages do you see in the network?
A. We got to know about Globalia through a with collaborator. Globalia was presented to us as an asset for the development and growth of our client portfolio. The advantage of being a part of Globalia is the exchanging of shipments with other agents which allows us to win more businesses with more competitive values for our customers. Another benefit is that we can have representation in so many different locations of local agents which allows us to offer a dedicated door-to-door service. The exchange of shipments is beneficial for the entire network of agents a point that differentiates us from our competitors.
Q. Tell us a funny story about a curious shipment you’ve recently handled.
A. In the process of importing a bulk seed container, I had a funny situation with the Lisbon Customs. The container had been selected for a physical inspection I.e. opening doors for physical cargo verification. I had to go to customs to talk to the inspector because if he opened the doors, the seeds would surely fall on him! Of course, he cancelled the inspection and ordered the container out.
Q. Where do you see your company in 10 years?
A. With the entry of the new CEO and the implementation of her restructuring plan, the focus is now on the growth of air, sea, and road cargo with greater investment in sales and customer service. With the help of our partners in Globalia, we believe that in 10 years our team will undoubtedly be an internationally recognized forwarder.
Globalia invites its members with shipment to/from Porto and Lisbon to get in touch with their competent team.