Interview: Saqib Mehmood, The Vision Shipping

“Good customer service with prompt reply and the ability to quote rates quickly and accurately are some of the factors which can lead to a Freight Forwarder’s success”

This week we interviewed Saqib Mehmood, Director of The Vision Shipping LLC- a Coop member in Dubai UAE. Among other things, Saqib talks about the benefits of attending our Annual Meeting and sheds some light on how to be successful in the freight forwarding industry.

Q. Can you tell us a little about The Vision Shipping’s history? 

A. I founded TVSL group- a company providing various shipping and logistics services in 2009. With a proven background in the freight forwarding industry, we have served customers from all parts of the world. Over the years, we have become our client’s most reliable option and we carry the same image even today. TVSL is undoubtedly, one of the most renowned companies in the city and we’re making it big with each day passing.

Q. What distinguishes The Vision Shipping from other freight forwarders in your city?

A. Our services are more focused on the domestic and international transportation of both domestic and commercial goods. The service is mandatory for the companies, which are engaged in transporting a wide range of products to overseas market. We are committed to achieving high levels of customer satisfaction by ensuring quality, cost effective services and timely freight forwarding and logistical solutions. Apart from Air and Sea, we also use LTL, FTL, and Intermodal (rail) to move freight. What sets us apart is our ability to deliver the best service on time.

 Q. Which is the most difficult shipment your team has had to deliver?

A. Although we keep handling a lot of complex shipments on a regular basis, moving the Rig Moment from the Gulf of Mexico to India had indeed been a challenging task.

Q. How did you hear about The Cooperative Logistics Network? What attracted you most to The Coop?

A. We were curious about your network when we heard about it from an acquaintance in the industry. I immediately followed up and all the answers to my scrutinizing questions were answered satisfactorily. It was then that we joined as a founding member and here we are still. Full transparency, clear cut information, friendly members, professionally organized Annual Meeting and follow up, and an uncomplicated Payment Protection Programme are some of the factors which attracted us most to your network.

Q. What are the main technological challenges facing freight forwarders at the moment? How important is technology for the industry? 

A. With every passing year, the role of technology in the freight forwarding world is steadily increasing. Technology is now enabling things like predictive analytics, real-time visibility, and enhanced customer service. Freight forwarders of our times need to be updated with all the latest technologies in the industry otherwise they would run the risk of falling behind their competitors. Q. What are the main challenges facing freight forwarders in your country at the moment? A. The transparency and the ruthless competition of carriers and logistic providers, increasing traffic, and related congestion, strikes and hijacking are some of the most common issues faced by freight forwarders in UAE. Moreover, we need to keep pace with the rapidly changing laws and directives and inform our customers about them before our competitors do. I realize these issues are not exclusive to our country.

Q. From your own experience, what are the keys to success in the freight forwarding industry?

A. The first step has to be introspection. One needs to analyze where they currently stand in the market, their strengths and weakness. Once the problems are identified, the freight forwarding companies need to focus more on their strengths and work on their weakness and convert that into their strength. Moreover, one needs to identify their client’s exact needs, to make a tailor-made service. Freight forwarders should always keep in mind that low rates are not always the deciding factor to gain a business. If a freight forwarder can provide top-notch services while offering a decent rate, then there is no looking back for that company. Good customer service with prompt reply & the ability to quote rates quickly and accurately are some of the factors which can lead to a company’s success. Lastly, a freight forwarding company have to have a proper marketing team with a good marketing strategy in place to promote their organization at the global level.

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
evp@stlog.be
www.stlog.be

Interview with Shine Logistics

“We anticipate all of the small and large challenges that we could come up against in our industry and have a plan for each eventuality”
COOP Seoul – SHINE LOGISTICS has successfully evolved from humble beginnings to a now having a renowned local and worldwide reputation. Their key for success is Speed, Simplicity and the personal touch. This week, President Chan-Bin Im, told us a bit more about their story and their present challenges.

Q. When and how did you get into the freight forwarding industry?
A. I actually started out at a trading company in Korea before making the career change into freight forwarding in 1999.

Q. Can you tell us a little of the history of Shine Logistics?
A. My co-worker and I decided to establish SHINE in 2004, wanting to create something that was different from other competitors, by listening to customers to shape our business plan. We believe honestly is the best policy, and have an excellent relationship with our clients to this day.

Q. What distinguishes Shine Logistics from other freight forwarders in your city? 
A. We personalise every aspect of the service for our client. We understand that freight forwarding isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ business. This is a big difference from most freight forwarding companies who standardize their services. Our approach has proven popular so far, with many return customers.

Q. What are the main challenges facing freight forwarders in Korea now?
A. Last year, Hanjin’s Shipping collapsed suddenly. Things like that are a shock, but they happen. Many of the big shipping lines are starting to merge with each as a result, which can either be a good thing or a bad thing for us. So for now, if this means forming closer ties with similar companies, then that is something we will be prepared to do.

Q. How is the freight forwarding industry tackling these challenges?
A. Preparation! You have to expected the unexpected. An important part of this is having a close relationship with shipping partners.

Q. How is Shine Logistics dealing with these challenges daily?
A. We have a strong team. Even staff who are not on the front line of the logistics side of things learn all the in’s and out’s of the business so they can deal with all challenges, and provide quality customer service.

Q. What are the challenges of shipping steel and how do your team overcome them?

A. Most shipping lines don’t like taking steel because it weighs so much. As I said, this where a strong relationship with shipping lines make the difference, and we have built a solid group of partners over time.

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

A.Our main commodity is steel goods like a STS coils, round bar, plate, tube and all other forms of steel. We ship a lot both domestically and abroad.
Q. Where do you see Shine Logistics in 10 years?
A. My dream is for Shine to become one of the biggest freight forwarding companies in Korea and the world. We believe this possible as long as we continue to pursue excellent and confidential customer service, which has held us in great stead until now.

Interview with EU Dragon Express

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?

A. 

• 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.

Edward.Lee@eudragon.com 

 

Interview with Con Truck

Manfred Haenisch of CON-TRUCK LOGISTIC GMBH, a member of The COOP in Hamburg, recently spoke with us about his journey into freight forwarding and what makes CON-TRUCK stand out from the Hamburg forwarding crowd.

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

A. In 1970, when I left school, I started my apprenticeship of three years with Kühne & Nagel – Hamburg. After my graduation as freight forwarder at the Chamber of Commerce Hamburg and serving 15 month with the German forces, I started again in 1975, as a forwarding agent at Kühne & Nagel – project shipments to the Persian / Arabian Gulf and the Red Sea area.

As I originally wanted to train as a ships agent/broker, I had the chance to work from Oct 1976 to the end of 1977 as a trainee at a shipping agency in London. I had been assigned as a trainee to the Baltic Exchange in there, where I learned a lot about the chartering business which has been very helpful over the years. After returning to Hamburg in 1978, I started working in several forwarding companies in Hamburg, particularly from 1979 to 2012 in the export market to Brazil and as well worldwide both in ocean and airfreight. Since 2013, I have been with Con-Truck Logistic in Hamburg.

Q. Can you tell us a little of the history of CON-TRUCK LOGISTIC GMBH? 

A. Con-Truck was founded as a container trucking company in 1988 and in 1995 a shipping department was opened by Dieter Grabeljesk and Michael Skaritsch who took over the company at the time as equal partners.

Container trucking as an official part of the company was given up in 2010 and only the shipping department remained.

The shipping department started off with Michael and Dieter and one lady for documentation. Together they handled the business of Con-Truck’s major market, exporting to West Africa. This continues to be a major market for us. Con-Truck was/is offering a full service to our clients, commercial and private persons, for shipment to African countries. This includes trucks, cars, vans (new and used) as well as FCL and LCL cargo. We offer a large number of rent-container for short term and long term rent on our premises which are used by a number of clients to store their belongings when it’s worthwhile, they order an export container and Con-Truck arranges the shipment including the export customs handling.

Since 1995, the company has grown to a total of eleven staff working in operations, documentation, customs service, sales, bookkeeping as well as three forwarding apprentices. Con-Truck, as well as offering loading of container, warehousing and haulage of export vehicles from our clients too, we also have three drivers and three container loading/stuffing staff.

Q. What distinguishes CON-TRUCK LOGISTIC GMBH from other freight forwarders in your city? 

A. Con-Truck is one of the few forwarding companies specialized in the field of exporting to Africa with its own 10000m2 yard and 900m2 warehouse, forklift equipment of 2 x 2mt, 1 x 6mt, 1x 16mt, 1 x 36mt which enables us to arrange the movement of almost any kind of cargo for loading container. Also, we run 2 trucks (12m trailer) for the pick-up of cars with 12 to capacity which can load up to 3 cars/ vehicles. Which we use for pick up of vehicles at our clients within an area of 300 – 400 km around Hamburg, for vehicles instead delivered, direct to the RORO terminal, to our facilities. We run another pickup truck able to load 2 vehicles.

As well we are very flexible in moving Container to and from our yard with our own Truck, which give the advantage to us and our clients to work more flexible in respect of closing times for container deliveries for outbound ocean vessels.

This all give Con-Truck an advantage against our competitors who are working in the same field of business on ocean exports to west Africa. As well to our partners and clients for whom we load container with vehicles and general cargo

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

A. The main challenge, not only for German forwarders, right now is the compensation on business to the Fareast in particular China, as well as the Russian market. But there are many other problems to be taken care off as “the cake is getting smaller and everybody would like a slice”. The best example of this are the shipping lines who are offering lower rates in order to get better utilization of their vessel, forcing forwarders to do the same, which results in forwarders struggling to make money.

As well I personally think that the service of the forwarders needs to more respected by the customers and paid for instead of making changes because one is quoting 5 – 10 € less. Service has to be paid for, poor payments for service never means that a good service is provided.

Q. How is the freight forwarding industry tackling these challenges?

A. Every forwarding company is tackling them alone by analyzing the market(s) and reacting accordingly.

Q. How is CON-TRUCK LOGISTIC GMBH dealing with these challenges on a daily basis? 

A. Con-Truck is analyzing the changes on a daily basis for our particular business and trying to find solutions for us and our customer. Currently, there are the restrictions on money transfers and inflation in Nigeria, a big problem, and here we are trying to find solutions for our customers day to day, but unfortunately there is very little we can do.

Q. What attracted you to apply for membership of the COOP?

A. Con-Truck has never been a member of any network before and we are enjoying the Membership at the COOP, as it gives us the advantage of increasing our business and provide us with the chance to be able to give a better “full service” to our clients.

Q. What benefits are you seeing as a member of The COOP?

A. As mentioned before, we are seeing an increase in the number of worldwide partners as the network continues to grow. This consequently means that every member has a real chance of being a global player without needing to run their own offices all over the world.

We invite members with shipments in Hamburg are invited to get in touch with the team.

 

Manfred Haenisch 

Interview with Casco Logistica Solucoes LTDA

Kleber Fontes, Director of CASCO SOLUCOES LOGISTICAS LTDA, began his freight forwarding career 10 years ago. Since then he has taken the company from a small business entity to one of the leading freight forwarders in Brazil. Kleber recently spoke with us about the journey his company has been on over the past decade, its secret to success as well as how it deals on a daily basis with the challenges facing the freight forwarding industry.

Q. Can you tell us a little of the history of CASCO SOLUCOES LOGISTICAS LTDA? 

A. Founded in 2005 by Paulo Henrique Leite Ferreira, Grupo Casco began as a custom clearing company and started its activities proper the following year offering international agency service charges and customs clearance. In 2007, a new division was initiated with the formation of a specialized operating team. In a year of great challenges for the company, Grupo Casco achieved significant growth and a stronger customer base. In 2009, start up projects focused on Total Quality! The entire management of Grupo Casco has become strategically committed by utilizing the Quality and Standards program that best fits each of its customers’ needs.

By 2011, Grupo Casco had consolidated its place in the market, maintained growth rates and received recognition of all work done. We were granted the Aster Award for being an ‘Outstanding Company’ in the category ‘Entrepreneurship’ and ‘For the continued growth of Grupo Casco’, we were awarded by ESIC Marketing & Business School.

2012 began with the strengthening of the company’s equity elements: Customers and employees. Special programs of training and integration were developed for a direct and functional channel of communication that focuses on building relationships with our customers. In 2013, we started the project to develop the internal management system aimed at the complete management of the company anywhere in the world, and real-time information. This is the desire and the focus of the entire board and Grupo Casco team, transforming the credibility and strength of a large business.

Q. What distinguishes CASCO SOLUCOES LOGISTICAS LTDA from other freight forwarders in your city? 

A. Customer service is our main focus – our experienced team suggests solutions to customers that at times are not obvious giving us clear credibility and customers’ confidence.

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

A. There is a lot of competition in Brazil amongst small and medium sizes companies – maintaining the status quo is not enough, solutions need to be creative. Growing your business by leveraging your strengths, exclusively, is challenging so we need to operate with a sound business strategy in order to succeed.

Q. How is the freight forwarding industry tackling these challenges?

A. Innovation. There are other ways, but the process of innovation is evident and must be continuous and well aligned with the company’s objectives. Everything depends on the business model and ambition of the company.

Q. How is CASCO SOLUCOES LOGISTICAS LTDA dealing with these challenges on a daily basis? 

A. It’s challenging, but motivational, both mistakes and successes happen often. The important thing is to recognize and leverage the successes and learn from our mistakes. Currently, Group Casco has dealt with these challenges by optimizing the operational process development team, investment in industry events, staying on top of the latest news in the market, investing in marketing and always being creative, both in in-house solutions and the vision of the business.

Q. What attracted you to apply for membership of the COOP?

A. The credibility and the possibility to expand Grupo Casco in this sector with large companies and also expand our business based on member’s need by offering great service which in turn will build strong relationships with members.

Q. What benefits are you seeing as a member of The COOP? 

A. Trust is a big benefit for us. As a member of The Coop, we carry a credibility and reliability which is evident to all our fellow members and vice versa, which can then be passed on to customers. In addition, our membership is allowing us to provide a truly worldwide service to our customers and prospective clients. Grupo Casco has always worked within Brazil, but after our joining The COOP, we started working with the whole world.

We invite members with shipments in Curitiba to get in touch with the team. 

KLEBER FONTES 

Interview with Air Ship International, Toronto, Canada

 

Ryan Nicol, Co-Owner of AIR-SHIP INTERNATIONAL INC., COOP Toronto, recently spoke with us about the history of his company and his current and future plans for it.

 

Q. How different is Air-Ship International now compared to when it was founded? 

A. A lot of things have changed. The only thing that has stayed the same is the commitment to our customers. When Air-Ship was founded fax machines and typewriters were a large part of getting documentation completed; now almost everything is done online and we expect responses within hours instead of days. We have modernized the business to grow and bring Air Ship to be more efficient for all of our customers and agents. The other important aspect that has changed is our ability to move large, specialized cargo which was not considered with the previous ownership group. By having our own equipment within our group of companies, we are truly able to handle specialized cargo from the customer’s door. This allows us to be more competitive along with providing a much better service than traditional non asset based forwarders.

 

Q. What distinguishes Air-Ship International from other freight forwarders in your city?

A. Three main things come to mind. The first would be our location. We are located right at the Toronto International Airport which allows us to expedite air shipments typically one day faster than our competition (many of the airline warehouses are right below our office). The second thing would be our ability to handle the specialized cargo mentioned earlier. High value cargo such as agricultural equipment, glass, and armoured vehicles are commodities that we are handling routinely. The third thing would be our commitment to customer service. We have built a strong team that works well beyond the hours of 9-5 to ensure that our customers are looked after. This is especially important when operating in different time zones. If something can be fixed late at night instead of the following morning you have a chance to save your customer a day or two of transit. Attention to detail on every shipment gives all of our customers the peace of mind that their shipment is being looked after. This allows them to focus on their core business instead of freight.

 

Q. What are the main challenges facing the forwarders in Canada at the moment? 

A. The main challenge would be the shrinking manufacturing base of customers that are exporting from Canada. Since the economic slowdown in 2008, a lot of manufacturing companies have moved from Canada to other countries or shutdown completely. There has also been a lot of consolidation within industries.

 

Q. How is the freight forwarding industry tackling these challenges? 

A. The industry has had to be flexible. With a reduced number of customers it forces freight forwarding companies to innovate and focus more on the customers they do have. The news has been getting better though since the Canadian dollar has fallen due to the drop in oil prices.

 

Q. What are your immediate plans for Air-Ship International? 

A. Our immediate plans are to continue to focus on growth both with our existing customer base as well as through our membership in The Cooperative Logistics Network which we have found to be very beneficial.

 

Q. What are your longer term ambitions for Air-Ship International? 

A. Our longer term ambitions are to focus on technology to further streamline our processes which will make things more efficient. We are also interested in opening another Canadian location within the next five years (likely on the west coast) to better serve our existing and new customers.

 

We invite all members with shipments in Toronto to get in touch with the team.

RYAN NICOL 

Interview with Roar Logistics in Buffalo USA

Robert Rich III, President of ROAR Logistics, recently spoke with us regarding his companies’ success and told us the story behind that unusual yet memorable name, ROAR. Read on to find out more.

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

A. Although ROAR has been in business since the fall of 2003 as a domestic US transportation services provider, ROAR started its international freight forwarding division 7 years ago. This service offering expanded the product portfolio and was in direct response to customer requests that the company provide a more comprehensive global service offering.

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

A. ROAR was founded in the fall of 2003 by myself and our current VP of Operations, Tony Barnes. We started with two offices, one in Buffalo, NY and one in Atlanta, GA as Tony didn’t want to move to Buffalo and I didn’t want to move to Atlanta.

Q. How did you come up with the name ‘ROAR LOGISTICS’? 

A. The name ROAR Logistics was actually my wife’s idea. Initially, the company was going to be called “Queen City Logistics” as Buffalo, NY is often referred to as the Queen City. We felt that that name would be too regional as our vision was for global growth. She looked at the services we planned on providing (Rail, Ocean, Air, and Road) and came up with the acronym “ROAR.” I always tell people she is smarter than me, because she came up with the name.

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

A. First and foremost, our people; we have an amazing team of highly dedicated and motivated transportation professionals who contribute so much to our success. Unlike other forwarders in our city or elsewhere in North America, our core business is domestic freight brokerage, including full-truckload and intermodal services. This gives our company a competitive edge on creative solutions for pick-up and delivery of international freight. We find that port-to-port moves, while easiest for a forwarder, are not always the best solution for a customer. Our network of carefully selected carriers ensures secure and timely movement of freight, from the first mile to the last kilometre.

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

A. Equipment and driver availability. These two issues have been a challenge in the past, but the West Coast ports’ disruption has exacerbated the problem. This is especially a challenge for small to medium shippers as the steamship lines will provide for their largest customers first.

Q. How is the freight forwarding industry tackling these challenges? 

A. Many trade organizations, such as the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America, (NCBFAA) as well as regional forums, advocate for resolution through influence and legislation.

Q. How is ROAR LOGISTICS dealing with these challenges on a daily basis? 

A. Creative problem solving with alternate lanes, modes, and equipment management. Engaging our customers to discuss and develop strategies that will keep freight moving through lanes that are at less-than-capacity.

Q. What attracted you to apply for membership of The COOP? 

A. As a relatively new freight forwarder, we were concerned with the challenges of entering a network where partnerships had already been established. Since members of The COOP are all charter members within the last 12 to 16 months, we are confident that the agents in the network will engage with us based on our service and responsiveness. Attending the first annual conference was an amazing experience and opportunity to share information with other forwarders just like us.

Q. If you have been a member of other networks in the past, how does being a member of the COOP differ?

A. This is our first network membership. We are proud to be affiliated with such a great team.

Q. What benefits are you seeing as a member of The COOP?

A. We are approached every day by our COOP partners to provide service and related pricing. For our customers, we are able to offer prompt attention to their requests. Each COOP partner is responsive, detail oriented and eager to help secure business.

The eagerness and enthusiasm ROAR displays with regards to its membership, our annual meeting and its fellow members are just the characteristics we are looking for in our members. Robert and his team have fully grasped that being proactive and cooperative is the key to success in The COOP.

We invite all agents with shipments in Buffalo to get in touch with the team.

 

Interview with Kopf + Lubben Cargo Services (Bremen, Frankfurt and Hamburg)

From graphic designer to freight forwarder, Thomas Manigk has certainly had a less than conventional entry into the industry. That being said it has not been a hindrance with Thomas currently Managing Director of Kopf + Lübben Cargo Services a German freight forwarder going from strength to strength. We recently spoke with him about the companies’ success and future plans. 

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

A. By coincidence, as is so often the case in our industry. – It was my aspiration to work in the field of marketing, more specifically, as a graphic designer. To this end, I commenced studying Art and History of Art at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, my home country. Realising, that my creative streak is limited, I jumped at the opportunity of doing an internship at an international freight forwarding company, where a friend of the family was working. It was in 1983 that I then commenced my professional training at this company.

Q. Can you tell us a little of the history of Kopf + Lübben Cargo Services? 

A. Kopf + Lübben Cargo Services was founded by Walter Kopf and Johann Lübben in 1976 in their home town, Bremen. With four employees, the company initially focused its activities on import ocean freight. Spices from the Far East and Africa, basketry from Poland, gift ware from the Far East and computerised boring machines from the United States were amongst the first orders handled.

Q. What distinguishes Kopf + Lübben Cargo Services from other freight forwarders in your city? 

A. Our high level of service would be the obvious answer. However, we are well aware of the fact that our competitors also strive to offer the best possible service. We, therefore, lay emphasis on not only ensuring that our customer’s freight arrives at destination on time and intact, but also on improving the supply chain in consultation with the customer. We expect our employees to think a step ahead and to anticipate what might happen during the course of the carriage of the goods, which our customers entrust us with. We work on a “one face to the customer” principle, thereby ensuring a very personal service.

Q. How different is Kopf + Lübben Cargo Services now compared with when it was founded?

A.While the company was founded 10 years after the advent of containerisation, the initial years were still characterised by the physical handling of the freight, whereas data management and the flow of information have become far more prevalent today. Accordingly, we are constantly upgrading our IT systems and software in order to keep up to date with the latest developments.

Q. I saw on your website that you take young apprentices. Could you tell us a little about how this scheme works?

A. The apprenticeship system in Germany has proven extremely successful across all industry sectors and as a result, has gained recognition not only throughout Europe but in a growing number of countries worldwide. It enables companies to recruit and to train their future generations of employees according to their own needs and in line with the provisions of the German Vocational Training Act over a period of 30 or 36 months, depending on the school qualification. During this period, apprentices rotate through all major operational and administrative departments of the training company, gaining on the job experience while simultaneously attending classes, studying the theoretical knowledge and expertise it takes to become a well-qualified management assistant in the field of transport and logistics. The dual system theoretical training is conducted according to a curriculum which includes aspects of foreign trade, logistics and transport, business processes, finance and accounting and foreign languages. Upon graduation, the apprentices receive a diploma issued by the local Chamber of Commerce, which is recognised across Europe. In some instances, the graduates choose to supplement the apprenticeship through further studies at a University, in order to obtain a BA degree.

Q. Why does Kopf + Lübben Cargo Services feel it’s important to invest its time and money in apprenticeships?

A. With the demographics in Germany being as they are, companies are beginning to face a shortage of skilled employees. We have always lived by the principle of “important in a company are the people who work for it and the spirit in which they carry out their work”. In order to ensure that we find qualified employees with the desired skills, language skills and work habits to match our company’s principle and requirements, we actively promote our industry at high schools, offering internships and then training these highly motivated young men and women in line with our company’s requirements, to eventually benefit from the practically oriented qualification which they have obtained during the training period.

Q. What are your immediate plans for Kopf + Lübben Cargo Services?

A. It is imperative that we continue to follow our strategy of transforming ourselves from the traditional freight forwarder to a full service provider, offering a multitude of value added services. To this end, our prime focus is on further developing and strengthening our branches in China, where we have the infrastructure for offering integrated global logistics solutions, including eCommerce and eFulfilment solutions.

Q. What are your longer term ambitions for Kopf + Lübben Cargo Services?

A. Our longer term ambitions are a) to be recognised as a service provider offering technology enabled supply chain solutions from “concept to cash” with state of the art PO management visibility solutions, predominantly for brands and retailers and b) to become a significant player in China for eCommerce solutions with full front-end and back-end capabilities for European brands.

All members with shipments in Bremen, Frankfurt and Hamburg are invited to get in touch with the Kopf + Lübben Cargo Services team. 

 

Thomas Manigk 

t.manigk@kopf-luebben.com 

www.kopf-luebben.com 

Interview with Sibel Global Logistics

Founded in 2011, SIBEL GLOBAL LOGISTICS is a member of The COOP in Istanbul. Although a young company, the experience of their team is vast. We recently sat down with Kemal Kisbet to find out what makes the company a success and its plan for the future.

 

 

 

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

A. The Freight forwarding adventure of Sibel Global Logistics started when Miss. Sibel, one of the co-founders of the company, got involved in the sea freight forwarding sector in 1996. Later, her brother Mr. Erhan joined her with his private sector experience.

Q. What distinguishes SIBEL GLOBAL LOGISTICS from other freight forwarders in Turkey?

A. We are specialized in Middle-East land freight forwarding. Regular and fast full and partial shipments are handled by us for this area. We also offer excellent medical carriage service by air. Operations and documentation procedures are very smooth and communication is very healthy. Safety is among our leading priorities. The damage rate for our shipments was a mere 1/5000 in 2014. Labeling and inspection are also within our service scope.

Q. How different is SIBEL GLOBAL LOGISTICS now compared to when it was founded?

A. We only shipped over land when the company was founded. But, within just a few years, IATA certification, network relations, getting legal authorization for forwarding organizations to name a few have opened new horizons for our company. Our employee number has also gone up. Now, we can handle air, land and sea leads with great efficiency.

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

A.Turkey, with its location serving as a bridge between East and West, has become a logistics hub. A lot of people have swarmed into the freight forwarding market. One man companies without accreditations, knowledge and experience are causing delivery problems and fraud is rife. Getting qualified staff is another issue. Technical infrastructure, bureaucracy and cost increasing moves are still large scale problems.

 Q. What are your immediate plans for SIBEL GLOBAL LOGISTICS?

A. In parallel with our constant growth, we plan to increase our number of employees, and turn some of our outsourcing to in-house.

Q. What are your longer term ambitions for SIBEL GLOBAL LOGISTICS?

A. Our ambition in the long run is a global marriage with one of the growing international forwarding companies that goes along well with our values such as hard work, training, respect and reliance. Getting a more strategic and effective position at the COOP as a member is one of the most important steps for actualizing our future plans. Helping the members with information, support, communication to have win-win situations is a must as well as a pleasure.

We invite all agents with shipments in Istanbul to get in touch with the team.