Interview with Steinacher Logistics

“The main challenge facing the freight forwarders industry is the transparency” Eduard Van Put, the Managing Director of Steinacher Logistics, a COOP member in Antwerp. 

Steinacher Logistics is an AEO certified company which started its operations back in 1972. One of the most competent international forwarding agents of our time, Steinacher Logistics deals in all sorts of multimodal transport focussing on maritime transportation. Since 1992 they are acting as a financial representative in EU and September 2007 onwards they have been a member of the worldwide logistics network.

This month we catch up with Eduard Van Put, the Managing Director of Steinacher Logistics, a COOP member in Antwerp.

Q. When and how did you get into the freight forwarding industry?

A.I started as a young lad in the industry, 45 years ago in 1972. After a few years, I caught the logistics bug. The numerous worldwide contacts, destinations and origins I came to know taught me that the world is more than the street I lived on. Becoming immersed in the world of logistics, I came to understand the long and complex journey a product travels on, from mold to sold – from manufacture to being gift wrapped.

Q. Can you tell us a little of the history of STEINACHER LOGISTICS? 

A.The company was originally founded in 1884, however In 1979 it was taken over by an Antwerp family well known in the city’s port. In 2007 the company was relaunched as STEINACHER LOGISTICS to develop the logistics side of the company.

Q. What distinguishes STEINACHER LOGISTICS from other freight forwarders in your city?

A. We know all the cliché lines, but to quote our slogan, “a team that makes the difference”. Agents really do appreciate our special service. The team’s professionalism and efficiency is served with a friendly flavor, concern for customers needs and a positive attitude. It’s a team that I am very proud to be part of but, of course, I cannot reveal the secret formula of makes it all work!

Q. What are the main challenges facing freight forwarders in your country at the moment?

A. Transparency. An advantage on one hand, but also a disadvantage when misused. The ruthless competition of carriers and logistic providers, increasing traffic and related congestion, strikes and hijacking of not only the man on the street but also the economy, to obtain rights whilst forgetting duties. Rapidly changing laws and directives that urges us to keep pace with, and to inform, our customers before our competitors do. I realize these issues are not exclusive to our country.

Q. How is the freight forwarders industry dealing with these challenges?

A. Our professional association advises us in advance of any changes, new regulations, and challenges in near future.

Q. How is STEINACHER LOGISTICS dealing with these challenges daily?

A. Keeping our customers well-informed. Forging partnerships with carriers, and even competitors. Creating opportunities and offering intelligent solutions. Not merely acting as a supplier but as an accountable partner.

Q. How did you hear about The Cooperative Logistics Network?

A. At the end of 2014 I learnt from Thomas Manigk, CEO of Kopf & Lübben, that his company was joining The COOP. Knowing Thomas’ standards, I became curious. As the answers to my scrutinizing questions were answered satisfactorily, we then joined as a founding member, and here we are still, in 2017.

Q. What attracted you most about The Cooperative Logistics Network?

A. Clear cut information, no nonsense approach, user-friendly website, professionally organized Annual Meeting and follow up, crystal clear conditions, and an uncomplicated Payment Protection Programme

Q. What would be the most significant shipment your team has handled?

A.Over the last 38 years, we’ve handled O.O.G. and heavyweight machinery and projects, such as 60 M.T. of chocolate by air to Australia at short notice for Christmas, 124 T.E.U.’s to the United Arab Emirates just before New Year, as well as an airfreight shipment of an engine, a so-called A.O.G. However, one of the most challenging activities is the logistics we coordinate is for antiques and fine arts customers and exhibitions worldwide, which requires extra special care.

Q. What were the challenges with this shipment and how did your team overcome them?

A. The big challenge is usually meeting deadlines without delay. Complicated custom formalities, inspections, licenses on both sides of the ocean, delays of vessel or flights, and so on can be tricky. On one occasion, a big airfreight shipment booked ahead of time was held back by a carrier to give priority to a shipment of horses, as it generated a higher income. It goes without saying that our logistic partner needed to run faster than the horses to make it work! and in the end they did.

Q. Where do you see STEINACHER LOGISTICS N.V. in 10 years?

A. Branding and continuously upgrading our qualified service in a volatile and challenging world that is constantly evolving, and sharing a toast with all the stakeholders, of a cocktail made up of our core values.

We invite members with shipments from/to Antwerp to get in touch with the team.

Eduard Van Put