“Freight forwarding is a global business, which requires us to focus on strong partnership ties and collaborate as a solid team.” Interview with Globalia Madrid

This week we had an interview with Mr. Valeriano Garcia – CEO Globalia member in Madrid, who talks about his company and the challenges facing the freight forwarding industry.


Q. When and how did you get into the freight forwarding industry?
A. I started my career in the freight forwarding industry since June 1991.

Q. Can you tell us a little about ELS GROUP’ history?
A. ELS is a privately owned logistics company which was founded in Saudi Arabia in January 2012. Our company has very quickly evolved into a premier provider of freight forwarding, distribution and warehousing services. The core focus of our organization is to provide our clients with cost-effective and high-tech solutions for their complicated supply chain requirements.

Q. What distinguishes ELS GROUP from other freight forwarders in your city?
A. Our area of specialization is international transport and multi-modal transport and service. We have been offering complete traffic management services by identifying and evaluating the requirements of the shipper and designing customized shipping programs by making use of the most effective modes of transportation. We provide our clients with a range of logistical services, which include customs clearance, warehousing, distribution, technological services, specialized services for the automotive industry, tailor-made services and much more.
Our culture at ELS is marked by a robust “can do it” attitude- on which we count on for resolving challenging issues, carrying out our daily tasks and for coming up with creative solutions for our clients and partners.

Q. How is ELS GROUP dealing with their daily challenges?
A. Freight forwarding is a global business, which requires us to focus on strong partnership ties between independent freight forwarders and collaborate on more projects as a solid team. However, most freight forwarders fail to grasp the importance of cooperation and teamwork, which is precisely why they miss out on some of the most lucrative business opportunities.

Q. How could the freight forwarding industry improve?
A. Independent freight forwarders need to become part of a network and stay connected with each other, just like the multinational freight forwarders do.

Q. How is ELS GROUP dealing with their daily challenges?
A. Enhancing our IT system and working tirelessly to improve our work relations with the members helps us to get more projects and improve our company’s presence. We believe that teamwork with our partners in various parts of the world is something which can greatly boost our company’s profile.

Q. What attracted you most about Globalia Logistics Network?
A. Some of the factors that convinced us to join Globalia are the global coverage of the network, its reliability and of course the fact that only quality freight forwarders make it to this network.

Q. What would be the most significant shipment your team has handled?
A. Our most significant shipment so far has been the transportation of 4.5 metric tons of IMO mineral to China in a single shipment.

Q. What were the challenges with this shipment?
A. Liaising with the port authorities, road authorities, arranging for permits and licenses and negotiating with the carriers for obtaining equipment space within a very tight frame of time proved to be quite a challenge. Consolidated teamwork and our perfect relationship with the carriers, custom and port authorities are some of the factors which allowed us to execute this challenging project with considerable ease.

Q. Where do you see ELS GROUP in 10 years?
A. For the ELS team, the sky is the limit. In 10 years we will be as high as our efforts can drive us.

“The freight forwarding industry is expected to go through loads of major digitization changes in the coming years and we must be ready”. Interview with Globalia Shanghai

This week we interviewed Jason Yu, from Shanghai Multiplex Concept Intl Freight Forwarding Co. Ltd, Globalia member in Shanghai, who told us in detail about their company and how they are striving to keep ahead of the competition.

Q. Can you tell us a little about Shanghai Multiplex’ history?

A. Our company was established in 2006, and since then we have been providing all kinds of international logistics services including air, sea and road freight, custom clearance, import, export, warehousing, door to door deliveries and much more. No matter if the consignments are large project cargo requiring chartered/heavy lift transport or time-critical products where service failure can be critical, we are here to provide our clients with access to all the expertise they might need.

Q. Why did you decide to become a freight forwarder, and how did you get into the industry?

A. While in university, I did my majors in logistics management and after completing the course I worked at an airport terminal for 5 years. This was when I thought about starting my own logistics company which would offer prompt and creative logistics solutions for the clients and since then I have been working for Shanghai Multiplex.

Q. What do you enjoy most about being a freight forwarder?

A. Freight forwarding is one of those jobs which involve a lot of brainwork and coordination. The day to day challenges in the freight forwarding industry is something which always keeps me interested in my job. Some of the aspects about the job which I like to work on typically involve coordination and negotiation with shippers, shipping lines, truck companies and customs brokers for coming

Q. What distinguishes Shanghai Multiplex from other freight forwarders in your city?

A. A few things which distinguish us from our competitors are our long years of experience, flexible handling capability, prompt and effective solutions for the most complex shipping needs and the ability to always adapt our services according to our customer’s needs. 

Q. What are the main challenges facing freight forwarders in your country at the moment? How are you dealing with them?

A. One of the major challenges faced by freight forwarders in Shanghai is fierce market competition. We are coping with this challenge by providing the best and most cost-effective services, and by responding promptly to our customer’s requirement. We strive to provide all our customers – large and small, with world-class levels of support, care and commitment. Our ‘customer first’ policy surely helps us to stay ahead in the competition.

Q. What most attracted you to Globalia Logistics Network?

A. The territorial exclusivity of Globalia members, the prospect of collaboration and the yearly meetings are some of the things which attracted us most to your network

Q. How did Globalia’s 1st Annual Meeting benefit Shanghai Multiplex?

A. The 1’st yearly meeting of Globalia agents went way better than we expected. It provided us an opportunity to know our partners more closely and gave us the confidence to collaborate with professional and reliable agents from all around the world.

Q. Where do you see your company in 10 years?

A. The freight forwarding industry is expected to go through loads of major changes in the coming years, most of which would involve automation and digitization. Electronic transactions are sure to develop step by step and a time will come when the shipper might book space, arrange trucks and go for custom clearance services online. Therefore, we as traditional logistics service provider must also be ready with digitized and value-added services which would be suitable for all kind of customer requirements.

Interview with Globalia Mumbai

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.

“As long as there is trading, there will be a constant need for freight forwarders”. Interview with Globalia Tema/Accra

This week we spoke to Globalia member in Tema and Accra, Joseph Biney, CEO of BAJ Freight who tells us about the origins of the company and how they established themselves as a pioneer in the freight forwarding industry of Ghana.

Q. Can you tell us a little more of Baj Freight?
A. BAJ is the acronym for Bart, Ato and Joe. The name BAJ is simply a constant reminder of the hard work of our employees under the skillful management of Mr. Joseph K. Biney, Ato Quagrine and Fred Bart Simpson whose collaboration dates back to thirty-two years ago when they met as employees of Relebo Lines Limited.

Q. When did you decide to become a freight forwarder and how did you get into the industry?
A.I think as long as there is trading, there would be a constant need for freight forwarders. Hence, I thought of my profession as a calling to this need.

Q. What distinguishes BAJ FREIGHT from other freight forwarders in your city?
A. What distinguishes us from other forwarders is that BAJ is a pacesetter in the industry. We seek to get involved in a series of industry pilot programmes and developmental corporate social responsibilities such as the BAJ Freight junior Tennis League.

Q. What has been your greatest success so far?
A. BAJ is the first Local Company to be licensed by the Ghana Nuclear Regulatory Authority to safely transport radioactive cargo to and From Ghana and neighbouring countries for key clients such as Newmont, Schlumberger amongst others. Our company has won:
– 2014, 2015 and 2016.- Oil & Gas Logistics company of the year
– 2014.- First Western Regional Business and Financial Service Excellence Awards
– 2015 & 2016.- Best Freight Forwarding Company & Logistics Company of the year
– 2015.- Customs House Agents Awards(for the third highest revenue collected for Ghana Revenue Authority)
– 2017.- Haulage Company of the year

Q. How did you hear about Globalia? What most attracted you to us?
A. Globalia was recommended by some of my partners in the other freight network associations. BAJ rarely had partners in the areas your members were located hence I felt the need to be a part.

Q. What’s the biggest difficulty in dealing with suppliers/factories?
A. The problem had always been price undercutting, high rates, lack of proper industry information and time constraints.

Q. What are the main challenges facing freight forwarders in your country at the moment? How are you dealing with them?
A. Ghana has a high influx of freight forwarders who still practice the old ways of buying and selling freight. Added to this is the frequent price undercutting by other forwarders with less consideration on the cost implication. BAJ has invested in technologies which would allow our clients to track their cargo progress and status. We are currently emphasizing on having a personal interaction with clients to lay more emphasis on quality of service and not accept undercut prices

Q. What would be the most difficult shipment your team has handled to date? How did you handle it?
A.We handled an out of gauge 8.5m exhaust funnel for a thermal plant project where we had to pass under three high tension low hanging poles which connected Ghana, Togo and Cote d’Iovire within 15 minutes. Honestly, I thought this was going to be impossible but we requested the concerned authorities to disconnect the poles one after the other for the funnel to pass and then reconnect the power.

Q. Tell us a funny story about a curious shipment you have handled.
A. A client engaged BAJ for services relating to customs clearance of general goods. Having communicated the ETA of the Vessel to the client, there was an unfortunate incident which delayed the vessel arrival hence the ETA kept changing. After three communication of ETA change, I got to my office, to find our client with a pillow and mattress saying that he will not leave until we confirm that the vessel had arrived. Fortunately for me, that very day, I received an email from the shipping line saying that the vessel had berthed.

Q. How do you see BAJ Freight in 10 years?
A. Within 10 years we aim to be one of the top three logistics company in West Africa, using the most sophisticated technologies and implementing global standards in freight forwarding.

Interview with Globalia Geneva

Getting to know Multi-Douane Services

MULTI-DOUANE SERVICES is one the Globalia’s Founding Members and represents the network in Geneva. MULTI-DOUANE SERVICES was founded in 2001 by Gérard Doutaz, a specialist in customs and former forwarder since 1981. Specialised in customs clearances of living animals and vegetables subjected to the new rules of imports, Multi-Doune Services offers a fast service of deliveries for Geneva and all of Switzerland. Today we have sat down with Gérard Doutaz, Managing Director of MULTI-DOUNE SERVICES, to find out more about their successes and challenges

Q. When and how did you get into the freight forwarding industry?
A. I began working as a freight forwarder in 1981 in Vevey, Switzerland. In 1984 I then went to train and gain further experience by working in several companies in Geneva.
 
Q. Can you tell us a little of the history of Multi-Douane Services?
A. In 1988 I created my first company, which I ran until 2000. In 2001 Multi-Douane Services was launched, which has gone from strength to strength to this day.
 
Q. What distinguishes Multi-Douane from other freight forwarders in your city? 
A. From the outset, Multi-Douane Services has been a customs agency specialising in importing mainly for freight forwarders in Switzerland. However, over the years we have also developed export and international transport, which is why we joined GLOBALIA this year.
 
Q. What would be the most significant shipment your team has handled?
A. Well, one our specialisations is importing live animals, as we are approved by the Swiss Veterinary Office – we are one of the only ones at Geneva airport who are, in fact. We once imported a Komodo dragon for a zoo (photo) as well as group of dogs from Romania (photo).
 

Q. What challenges do you foresee in the near future?
A. Currently we are developing a customs service for luxury vehicles, so we are looking forward to all the challenges this area will bring.

 Q. Where do you see Multi-Douane in 10 years?
A. To answer your question, you know, in 10 years I will be retired! However, I have every confidence that my successors will be managing the company and building on our legacy.

 

Interview with GLB Istanbul

 As this is our first interview we thought we would introduce you to our first member. Meet Mr Cihan Ozkal, the Sales & Marketing Manager from Armada Logistics, our exclusive member in Istanbul. We recently spoke with him about his company, its future and the current industry climate in Turkey.

Q. When and how did you get into the freight forwarding industry?
A. I started commercial life in the chemical Sector in 1990 responsible for foreign trade and logistics.

Q. Can you tell us a little of the history of Armada Logistics?
A. Armada Logistics was founded in 2000 by Mr Cihan Ozkal and Mrs Emine Avci Ozkal (previous experience in the financial sector). The idea was to stay boutique freight forwarder to serve limited clients and focus on their all types of transportation needs especially chemicals and food sector.

Q. What distinguishes Armada Logistics from other freight forwarders in your city?
A. Armada Logistics is based in Istanbul city, which is the commercial centre of Turkey. Nearly 40% of the country’s import & export volume is done via Istanbul. Our expertise in sea freight both FCL/LCL and flexi-tank, iso-tank shipments, Speedy Road transportation between TR/EU, Road Transportation BENELUX/DE/FR/IT/CH, EU/TR, IRAN transit movements (we have our own SOC/NVOCC service for IRAN), CIS Countries like AZ, KZ. Air cargo service works 24/7. Port salvage services for any type of packing, IMDG/ADR/DG or NON IMDG/ADR/DG cargos.

Q. What are the main challenges facing freight forwarders in the Turkey now?
A. Even with the economic and political instability within Turkey, we are still one of the fastest growing markets in the world. The import and export regulations and customs regulation systems are changing and sometimes cause serious problems, since Turkey is not in the EU, applying EU regulations. There are serious issues in the South of Turkey, with many markets and routes lost in Syria/Iraq.

Q. How is the freight forwarding industry tackling these challenges?
A. The competition is very high but the freight forwarding industry is trying to find different lines and markets. The aim being to adapt to the new conditions and find new markets in CIS And North, West & East Africa.

Q. How is Armada Logistics dealing with these challenges daily?
A. We know foreign trade and when you combine this knowledge with logistics, you can understand your clients and agent’s needs, very well. This knowledge gives us a good advantage in understanding our client’s needs and thus solving their problems quicker than others.

Q. What attracted you to apply for membership of GLOBALIA?
A. First, it was the good and effective website combined with the information flow; that was very important for us. Being situated in only one area is also attractive to our company.

Q. You are attending our first annual meeting, what are your goals for the event?
A. Our goal is to meet with new friends first, to build good sincere relationships with a wider network.

Q. What would you say to an agent who is unsure about attending the annual meeting?
A. Annual meetings are very important and the key to success in networking. It is nice to see all friends & agents together. We believe that it is particularly useful to see them all together at least once a year. There is also the savings in terms of time and money, as you see many agents in a 2-3 day period!

Q. Where do you see Armada Logistics in 10 years?
A. Armada Logistics will remain as an effective and smart boutique freight forwarder and be always well known and trustable agent in TURKEY by all other agents. We would like to see our company act as an effective partner between east and west and make logistics easier for everyone.