This month we catch up with Edward Lee, the Managing Director of EU DRAGON EXPRESS LTD a COOP member in Guangzhou.
Q. When and how did you get into the freight forwarding industry?
A.It was like fate, I graduated from university and worked in a US company in R&D department however I didn’t feel good doing that sort of work, I finally got an offer to work for a large freight forwarding company. After that, I created my own company and it’s still going 20 years later.
Q. Can you tell us a little of the history of EU DRAGON EXPRESS LTD?
A. I set up EU DRAGON EXPRESS in 2005 in Shanghai and expanded to 7 offices across China including Guangzhou and HKG. In the beginning, we were much more air freight export oriented, but overtime, we have built up also strong sea freight. We foresaw that China would become a consuming market, so we invested heavily on selling eastbound business. Since that time, we have been one step ahead of 95% of our competitors in terms of building a significant eastbound business volume/customer base.
Q. What distinguishes EU DRAGON EXPRESS LTD from other freight forwarders in your city?
• Full service oriented mentality to provide our customer whatever service they require
• Specialize in certain niche markets building up our unique ability in certain routes/markets which making it hard for our competitors to reach us.
• A sales oriented mentality, even in operations and customer service; ‘everyone sells ‘. It is one of our key philosophies.
Q. What are the main challenges facing freight forwarders in the China at the moment?
A. Wow! That’s a big question which can be answered many ways. In my opinion, the main challenges are;
• Negative global economic climate and the Chinese economy is no exception. There has been a huge impact on the export industry, which has caused the business volume to shrink.
• Everchanging market rates (weekly) cause unnecessary amounts of work. Carriers react to the changes by raising rates (almost daily) making the process much harder.
• Majority of agents in China provide similar service ranges for export creating a competition based purely on rates.
• A declining interest from the younger generation. They are not encouraged to join the forwarding industry any more, which combined with a loss of experience to other industries means that we are potentially facing a skills gap.
Q. How is EU DRAGON EXPRESS LTD dealing with these challenges daily?
A. We have taken more measures to deal with these current challenges, a few examples are as follows;
• Investing heavily in a professional team of people to further forge our ‘service oriented’ philosophy
• Focus on certain niche markets such as savings/capacity control /fixed scheduled regular services, which would make a great cost saving to our clients.
• Developing unique products like GOH & Automotive business
• Expanding any new demand of services for the future like the railway express service between China and Europe for both eastbound and westbound cargo.
• Implementing all kinds of new technology to improve our logistics systems, from a more efficient tracking system to the booming e-commerce daily operation
Q. What plans does EU DRAGON EXPRESS LTD have for the future?
A. We will be expanding our footprint in 5 more locations within next 3 years, strength our inland warehousing/distribution products, further develop our 4PL business soon, to provide all our clients/partners a full range of logistics service
Q. What attracted you to apply for membership of the COOP?
A. The COOP is a professional network including many professional freight forwarders worldwide which give us an opportunity to compete with those multinational players.
Q. If you have been a member of other networks in the past, how does being a member of the COOP differ?
A. Yes, we have been in other networks, and being member of COOP, we feel a friendly approach with all members. The COOP service team is very professional, when dealing with some problems/issues such as when a member was credit checking and we have been given the advice and assistance immediately.
Q. What benefits are you seeing as a member of The COOP?
A. The biggest benefit is we have a platform to know many likeminded partners world-wide to strive together developing mutual business opportunities.
We invite members with shipments in Guangzhou to get in touch with the team.