This week we spoke to Globalia member in Mumbai, Mahesh Mehta, Director of Magnum Cargo, who tells us a little bit about their company and projects and how they established themselves as a pioneer in the freight forwarding industry.
Q. How did you get into the freight forwarding industry?
A.It was in 1987 that we started to work with one of the local freight forwarding companies and then subsequently after two years we started our own company in 1989.
Q. What distinguishes MAGNUM CARGO from other freight forwarders in your city?
A. One of our major distinguishing features is our operational excellence and our strong foothold in pharmaceutical products of all kinds. We understand that customer’s products are much more valuable than just a cargo for their buyers. A specialist in medical logistics, Magnum Cargo has a trained staff for handling cool chain pharmaceutical products with expertise in re-packing, re-icing, and data logger reading.
Q. What are the main challenges facing freight forwarders in your country at the moment? A. Infrastructure is one of the biggest challenges faced by the Indian freight forwarder and logistics sector and has been a major deterrent to its growth. Due to the infrastructural bottlenecks, costs per transaction in Indian logistics sector are very much high compared to those in the developed markets.
Q. How is Magnum Cargo dealing with these challenges on a daily basis?
A. We aim to combat these regular challenges by means of advance planning, partnering with the right vendors, and regular communications with all the stakeholders for further improvement and development.
Q. How did you know Globalia Logistics Network? What attracted most about Globalia?
A. What drew us to Globalia is the fact that it is a network of high caliber freight forwarders with reliability and financially secured partners.
Q. What would be the most significant shipment your team has handled?
A. We were contacted by our client (representative of a religious community) when most of the big multinational global brands failed to meet their requirements and pulled backed one after the other. At first, the task seemed a simple case of handling 4.5 tons of airfreight shipment from AMD to ANR airport. It was an idol of God made up of marble and studded with gold and semi-precious stones. The idol was to be sent to Antwerp for the inauguration of a community temple in Antwerp.
Q. What would be the most difficult shipment your team has handled to date? How did you handle it?
A. The set of requirements of the customer (which are listed below) had been a major challenge and handling the shipment was a daunting task which put the confidence of many big players in the doldrums.
– Aircraft should not have any female on board ( passenger, crew, pilot & copilot)
– Non- Veg should not be served in aircraft
– Alcohol should not be served in aircraft
– Aircraft should not carry any animal live or frozen
– Idol should not get touched by hands to avoid negativity and impurity
– Cargo should reach the destination within a week’s time
Considering the requirements, we suggested a charter aircraft but it was nearly impossible to arrange for a charter aircraft within such a short notice and we had to think of other alternatives. We finally zeroed in on EY. They agreed to operate a charter aircraft but a small aircraft couldn’t be arranged. They could only arrange B-747F having a payload of 100 tons. Wow! 100 tons aircraft for 4.5 Tons normal cargo!
Q. Could you tell us any anecdote which happened while managing this shipment?
A. Even though the cargo was not odd sized after the final packing, it could not go through the screening machine and required a mandatory hand check. As already mentioned before one of the pre-requisites of the client was that the idol shouldn’t get touched by hands. Last minute praying and brainstorming by our team standing at the airport was really an experience in itself. Within 30-45 minutes our team arranged for 5 priests to enter the screening area after getting permission from the airport authority. The priests are the only ones who are allowed to touch the idol. So we made them remove the idol from the package and ensured that the security staff checks the complete package and idol without touching it. Once the security check was completed the priests started chanting and sprinkled holy water on the idol to remove all the negativity and impurities and the package was re-packed. The job was completed in a weeks’ time as per the deadline set by the customer!
Q. How do you see Magnum Cargo in 10 years?
A. We aspire to position our self with Global players in terms of volume, global presence and technology. We have already invested in USA and Mauritius by starting our own office and facilities and expansion plans are to start in other regions too.