Interview with CQR Valletta, Malta

 “We consider ourselves a one stop shop. We can cover all logistical needs our clients might have.”

This week we had a chat with Dwayne Caruana, Senior Logistics Manager of Carmelo Caruana- our Conqueror member in Valletta, Malta, who tells us about his experiences in the logistics sector, the achievements of his company and more.

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

A. My career started 22 years ago as a junior runner with a customs brokerage agency. After a couple of years, I engaged with Carmelo Caruana Co Ltd as third-party agents to CMA-CGM and other major shipping lines. I had a short spell with a marine intelligence anti-piracy firm before joining a major Spanish ferry company representing a ship chartering subsidiary in Malta. Today I find myself back at Carmelo Caruana Co Ltd, Malta, managing their freight forwarding division.

Q. Give us a few examples of cargoes that you have handled either with your base being in Malta or via Malta to other destinations.

A. We have handled a pipe laying logistical project between Libya and Italy, and we have handled perishables such as fruit and vegetables, valuable cargo and hazardous cargo such as chemicals. Moreover, our teams have been entrusted with the transportation of turbines, large storage tanks, yachts, industrial steel wire reels, industrial reactors for the Valletta breakwater bridge, the new LNG power station at Marsaxlokk port and for international yachting events organized locally, among others.

Q. What distinguishes Carmelo Caruana from other freight forwarders in your city?

A. We consider ourselves a one-stop shop. We can cover all logistical needs our clients might have, being it sea freight ( FCL/LCL/FTL/LTL/OOG cargo ) with weekly dedicated services, airfreight and customs clearance, storage and warehousing fulfilment services, ship agency, port operations, ship to ship rendering operations, commodity transfer, passenger services and more. We can engage in air charter and project cargo at clients’ request since we have personnel with extensive experience in these areas.

Q. How did you hear about Conqueror? What most attracted you to us?

A. Conqueror was first found online by CCCL. Apart from the wide network and agent coverage, the professionalism experienced through dialogue is what attracted us most.

Q. Where do you see Carmelo Caruana Co LTD in 10 years?

A. CCCL strives for reputation and growth. Since we already consider ourselves key players in logistics both locally and abroad we believe our professionalism and integrity could possibly take us into the maritime sector locally and/or overseas.

Interview with CQR Tehran

“Freight Forwarders can create markets and demand, facilitating the trade cycle all over the world.’’

This week we have interviewed Mr. Farzad Saffarzadeh, CEO of Farasoobar Int’l Forwarder & Transportation Co, CQR Tehran, who talks about the journey of his company and about the advantages of operating from Iran.

1. What prompted you to venture into the freight forwarding industry?

A. Actually, I started freight forwarding with my elder brother who acquainted me with the alphabets of this business. From 2005 I organized my own setup under the Farasoobar Int’l Forwarder and Shipping Agency flag and have now been in this field for over 28 years. I have been able to explore and show my counter parts how freight forwarders have a very important role in the industry in each country and that it’s not a simple job of just selling freight. Freight Forwarders can create markets and demand, facilitating the trade cycle all over the world.

Q. Can you shed some light on the geographical importance of Iran?

A. We have an inherent advantage due to the Persian Gulf’s connection to CIS, Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as to the South Quafqas area and Russia. We have about 670 Km of the coastal border with the Caspian Sea in the North connecting the Bandar Anzali and Amirabad ports to Aktau, Turkmenbashi, and Astrakhan. On the south of Iran we have 1,770 km coastal border connecting the Oman Sea and the Persian Gulf. The unique location of the country makes all modes of transportation (air, sea, road or rail) possible.

Q. Tell us something about the rail network in your country.

A. Several rail projects are in the pipeline to upgrade and complete the current railway network infrastructure. Currently we can send shipments by rail from Bandar Abbas to Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan. There are also rail links up to Astara Iran and the Russia rail network is connected up to Astara Azerbaijan and hopefully in the near future the rail connection will be finished between Astara Iran and Azerbaijan. The South Quafqkas rail connection is now possible up to Yerevan and liner containers can be sent from European ports up to Yerevan and then by truck to Iran. We also have rail links to Europe through Turkey’s rail network via our western borders, this also can be connected to the CIS by changing wagons.

Q. Can you give us a concrete example of Iran’s route advantage?

A. Well.. When we ship containers from Bandar Abbas to Baku the trucker should drive about 2270 km, out of which 1944 km are in Iran. The same advantage exists for other destinations. The other advantage is that we move containers by the same trailers all the way to their final destination and return empty containers back to Bandar Abbas. This safeguards the goods against multiple loading/unloading in transhipment.

Q. Can you give me some examples of project cargo you have handled in the recent past?

A. Please see the following photos of some projects we have handled via Iran to CIS. The latest one consisted of two girders from Bandar Abbas to Baku.

Q. Is customs clearance in Iran normally done in the port for inland bound cargo or can it be done at the final destination, say Tehran?

A. Final customs clearing can be done either at the port of arrival or at any domestic inland destination as a bonded shipment, subject to the destination’s customs having the authority to accept the relevant goods.

Interview with CQR Hangzhou

“We love what we do and we bring enthusiasm and commitment to every project we work on”.

This week, we speak to CQR Hangzhou CEO, Bruce Lee, who tells us more about how the company started and his experience in the freight forwarding business.

DOMAX LOGISTICS, CQR Hangzhou, is a young and energetic company made up of professional and passionate logistics veterans devoted to meeting the needs of their customers and making the impossible possible. Their comprehensive network provides customers convenient services and tailor-made solutions.

Q. What distinguishes DOMAX LOGISTICS from other freight forwarders? 

A.Choosing a freight forwarder is tough, but DOMAX offers a complete service from the planning to the implementing, tracking and delivery of your cargo. We strive to offer the best solution for our clients and impartial advice at an honest price and we are constantly investigating and developing new routes of service. We love what we do and it shows with every project we work on, as we understand our clients and appreciate that every situation is different. Many things distinguish us, but, the success of our relationships comes down to one word: trust.

Q. Which is your specialization in the freight forwarders industry?

A. DOMAX’s main specialization is airfreight. In past decades, product structure in China has varied in different regions and shipment seasons have also varied significantly. However, we customize our service to the most convenient, cost-effective/affordable standard, including charter, consolidation, sensitive cargo and FBA. We specialize in import trade, and fully oversee cargo freight from Europe and the US to China.

Q.Which is the most difficult freight DOMAX LOGISTICS has had to deal with?

A. 2009 was a tough year due to the economic crisis and some of our regular customers eventually reduced the percentage of goods sent by air in favor of ocean to save on freight costs. After that, we considered seafreight as a key development area, although DOMAX’s revenue from air freight is still greater by far. By diversifying this way and developing new geographical markets, we have become less vulnerable to sudden charges in the market.

Q. How is DOMAX LOGISTICS dealing with the main challenges facing freight forwarders in your country at present?

A. As mentioned before, I strongly believe that our main strength is the trust our clients place in us, which is key to tackling the main challenges in our sector.

Trust our experience. Trust our experience. Simply put, we understand the business of our customers. This claim is based on decades of field work in support of logistics practices. Close collaboration with our customers has given us valuable expertise that translate into another key area of trust

Trust our solutions. By leveraging our knowledge of our clients, we are able to create world-class solutions that incorporate more than just the basics. We place tremendous value on planning innovative solutions that match your needs, the way you operate, and incorporating the stock-levels you prefer.

Trust our results. Over time, with the right mix of products and people, we’ve built a strong reputation for delivering the goods.

Browse our portfolio. Those relationships are founded on a genuine interest in creating mutually beneficial relationships that make everyone’s business grow.

Q. How you see DOMAX LOGISTICS in the future?

A. To face the difficult challenges of our sector, I believe we need to expand our overseas network. We believe we will overcome any obstacles, as we have done in the past, through our passion and dedication along with close communication and collaboration with our CQR partners.

 

Interview with CQR Livorno

This week, we speak with the CQR Livorno member Tieffe Group Srl CEO, Tiberio Faoro, who tells us more about how the company started and his experience in the freight forwarding business.

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

A. I began my freight forwarding career in 2007 as a 19-year-old apprentice at a small local freight forwarding agency in Leghorn. I worked in their traffic department for 2 years before moving to another company in 2009 as Sales Manager. One year later I changed companies and became an independent external vendor working in Milano, Bologna and Torino. During that time I developed and strengthened my sales and accounting skills.

Q. Can you tell us a little of the history of Tieffe Group SRL?

A. Tieffe Group Srl was founded on 23rd January 2012, when I was 24 years old. The idea of this new company was based on my personal experience into the freight forwarding industry, and it started thanks to the support of clients I had met during my sales experience as an independent vendor. It makes me feel very proud to say that those old clients continue to be part of TFG portfolio and they actively contribute to our growth.

Q.What distinguishes Tieffe Group SRL from other freight forwarders in your city?

A. I think that our main strength is our flexibility. All our staff are multiskilled and therefore they can all handle any kind of shipment. I think this is an extremely important thing in a small company in order to be able to face any emergency or change based on market trends. It is also worth mentioning that Tieffe Group Srl team is very young (we have 6 employees under 30 years old, 2 employees under 40 years old and only one over 40 years old) and highly motivated.

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

A. From the point of view of a small/medium freight forwarding company, reduced space in vessels and increasing prices are the main difficulties we encounter. This is due to the incorporation of many small shipping companies (like Yang Ming, Hamburg Sud, UASC and so many others). Given this situation, small or medium freight forwarding agency have less options to handle their cargo and they risk facing higher prices or less space on vessel compared to a multinational company with offices all over the world and able to buy space on vessel as empty x full at lower prices.

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

A. In my opinion they can’t do enough. From 2007 till now we had a long and deep international crisis and all the shipping companies worked in remittance with lower prices, as always. At the moment, many small/medium shipping companies are facing difficulties and they need to be bought by big carriers like MSC, Maersk, HAPAG and CMA-CGM. The bigh fish are conquering the shipping market, and after they complete their acquisitions they will raise their prices to recover the losses. Moreover the spaces will decrease due to less carriers available and service available. I think that it closes a cycle.

Q. How is your team handling these challenges?

A. During last year Carga Global took the initiative to fully investigate the strengths and weaknesses of our company. This was undertaken in order to tackle our obstacles and generate new strategies for the future. We have communicated this new stratagem to the whole organisation, as a sign of our commitment to the future of the company.

Q. How is Tieffe Group SRL dealing with these challenges on a daily basis?

A. To face up to that situation it’s extremely important to increase our business relationships with all our partner agents over the world. I think that co-operation is the solution. If we work all together we can obtain more business and we have more negotiation power with shipping companies. CQR Network can help all its member to contend with the multinational companies. TFG is also trying to increase our number of shipments through high quality services and new tools like on-line tracking for each shipments booked with us.

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

A. I have so many beautiful memories of interesting shipments. We shipped a project cargo on a vessel rented for a big project in Brazil back in 2012. We shipped so many flat rack containers with high value machinery for plastic industries. We shipped big cranes in Africa and India… etc. But the most beautiful for me was the shipment of a big military truck imported from Baltimore, US. I remember very well that day: when the truck arrived at Leghorn Port I went directly to the terminal, drove the truck out of terminal myself and put it on exceptional convoy. Amazing experience!

Q. Where do you see Tieffe Group SRL in 10 years?

A. We have so many projects to develop that I still don’t know where TFG will be in 10 years. But I would like it to remain always like a big family. We started like a family company and we made happy all the people involved. I believe if we are happy doing our job and we cooperate together we can achieve the best results. I would love to close this interview with a beautiful phrase from Mr. Walt Disney “If you can dream it, you can do it. Always remember that this whole thing was started with a dream and a mouse.” Thanks to everyone for your time.

Although only 5 years old, Tieffe Group SRL has certainly grown to become a strong company and we can’t wait to see where they will be in another 5 years.

Interview with CQR Guatemala and San Salvador

This week, we have an interview with the CQR Guatemala City and San Salvador member, General Manager, Leticia Salazar, discusses the growth of the company, what makes them stand out from their competitors and their vision for the future.

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

A. Carga Global, S.A. was founded in 1996 with the vision of making a real difference in a very changeable and demanding global market. We consider ourselves more than a freight forwarding company, agent or representing agent, “We are a company that offers integral solutions to our customers”.

Q. Can you tell me a little about the history of CARGA GLOBAL?

A. In 1996, Compañia Holandesa de Comercio was the agent for P&O Nedlloyd, a company which was making some drastic changes in their service network at that time. Carga Global was created in response to the need to go a step further than a liner service. By 1998, Carga Global had expanded services and opened an office in El Salvador. This growth was due to the positive client response to the full logistics offering that the company continues to offer.

Q. What would be your company’s most significant shipment to date? 

A. Over the years, there have been several significant shipments successfully handled by Carga Global team:

2015: Aiming to once again innovate in the services provided to our customers and in search of market expansion, Carga Global began operations with a Heavy Lift and Projects Department, where we partnered up with a Hydro electrical project, opening up a new line of service where we have been able to transport all types of heavy machinery from around to world. Carga Global remains very active in all service lanes and in both countries.

Q. What differentiates CARGA GLOBAL from other freight forwarders in your city?

A. Carga Global is recognized in Guatemala and in El Salvador for our passion for customer service, standing to our word creating a bond with our customers. Here in Carga Global, we pride of selves for the level of customer intimacy created and maintained, we work together as a team not only within our walls but with our customers.

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

 A. There are many factors and challenges around the freight forwarding business including:

a.    Shifting & unstable rates from carriers

b.    Increased number of forwarders that allow shippers/consignees to fluctuate their business between them.

Q. How is your team handling these challenges?

A. During last year Carga Global took the initiative to fully investigate the strengths and weaknesses of our company. This was undertaken in order to tackle our obstacles and generate new strategies for the future. We have communicated this new stratagem to the whole organisation, as a sign of our commitment to the future of the company.

Q. Where do you see CARGA GLOBAL in 10 years’ time?

A. Though the previously described actions, Carga Global launched the 5-year strategy along with targets for every year. It is our vision to keep growing along with the ever-changing market being able to deliver to our customers with the service that they have now been receiving since our beginning.

Q. Will you be attending the annual meeting in May this year in Bangkok?

A. Possibly yes

Q. How important do you think it is to meet agents face to face?

A. We feel that personal relations with our partners is a must, it gives the collaboration a more personal feeling obtaining compromise from both parties

Interview with CQR Surabaya

In its Silver Anniversary year, Ridwan Sumargo, the second generation of forwarder at CQR Surabaya spoke with us about the company’s humble beginnings and how it has changed in the last 25 years.  

 

Q. Can you tell us a little about the history of PT ARAYA BANGUN SARANA? 

A. PT ARAYA BANGUN SARANA is a family owned business started by my father, which began life as a trucking company and then in the early 90’s, due to the demands of more complex procedures and bureaucracies, became a forwarder. I am the second generation in the business.

Q. What would be the most significant shipment/project your company has handled? What challenges did it pose and how did your team overcome them and successfully complete the shipment? 

A.The expansion project of Camco Omya factory. At that time, there wasn’t enough qualified heavy cargo transporters and road conditions weren’t good either. The location of the future factory site with its rugged terrain made transportation a big headache; the trucks had a lot of blown tires. To ensure minimal problems and delays, we carefully planned each journey ensuring each cargo was delivered safely (80MT per load) although slowly.

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

A. There are many but if we are talking the biggest challenges, then it’s the Port authorities and Shipping Lines adding Forwarding divisions and trying to steal our market share. Then there are the government regulations that are slowing down export/ import activities and also making us forwarders less useful.

Q. How are you and your team meeting these challenges on a daily basis? 

A. We strive to provide a better service and extra services each and every time. The challenges we face get harder every day and we require more than just hard work to produce smarter employees; we endeavour to seek out their hidden potential. Unfortunately, Indonesia is not known for the quality of its human resource which is difficult considering a forwarding companies’ most valuable assets are their employees who must often communicate, coordinate and make important decisions at crucial times.

Q. PT ARAYA BANGUN SARANA has been around now for 25 years, how different is the company now to when it was founded? 

A. Back then we WERE just a simple trucking company born out of the necessity for transporters, business flourished and we were much needed. Now the market is overcrowded, everybody is doing and developing the same things, it requires extra work to exist and improve. We have also shifted from semi-old fashioned methods to more modern methods.

Q. Do you have any current plans for PT ARAYA BANGUN SARANA? 

A. We are developing a courier cargo service for smaller packages to meet E-commerce demand. We also plan to work more on domestic forwarding sectors as there are many islands and ports which are yet to be explored.

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

A. We see the company being more sophisticated in some areas as specialisation is more and more demanded, Forwarding and Logistics distribution will be more closely related.

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

Interview with CQR Athens

CQR Athens, C.V.M. INTERNATIONAL FORWARDING LTD, joined the network almost three years ago and has established itself as one of our most committed and enthusiastic of members. Manager, Vlasis Maragos, spoke with us recently about the company and how the network is working for them.

Q. Can you tell us a little about the history of C.V.M. INTERNATIONAL FORWARDING LTD. and when you joined the company? 

A. C.V.M. International Forwarding Company was established in 1980 by Chris V. Maragos; a Captain, a Professor at the Training Center of Merchant Marines in Greece, my father and my mentor. The family’s tradition (my grandfather also worked in the field) and their professionalism was mainly what attracted me to the freight forwarding industry.

In the beginning of our company’s operation, we handled 80% of Greece’s world-wide marble exports (about 800 teu / month). Since then, more and more clients of varying industries have entrusted their goods to us. I personally joined the company in 2007, immediately after my service as a 2nd Officer and the completion of my Masters in International Transportation Management.

Q. Does your company specialize in any particular kind of shipment? 

A. We are strong in all areas of shipping (sea transports, ship spares & chartering to name just a few). Although, we don’t limit ourselves to one area; our office provides complete logistics solutions (from multi-mode transports to project cargos and more).

Q. What would be the most significant shipment/project your company has handled? 

A. We are proud to say that for more than 30 years, we have been frequently challenged with the shipments that we handle. We have handled the stuffing, custom clearance & road transport to Piraeus port of 80 containers – as one lot – in 7 days. Last year, we chartered a vessel within a floatable vessel and currently, we move large steel structures (14m long) on a monthly basis, from Greece to Germany and Baku.

 

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

A. Unfortunately, the implementation of capital controls in Greece isn’t helping the industry overall, as a continuation of the Greek trade. We – as a company – found a solution, so we will keep our shipments moving and our clients and suppliers satisfied.

Q. How are you and your team meeting these challenges on a daily basis? 

A. Wise management and effective partnerships – such as Conqueror freight network – are part of the solution to these daily challenges.

Q. What attracted you to apply for membership of Conqueror? 

A. The exclusiveness of the membership and the broad coverage of the network.

Q. Would you say that overall your Conqueror Membership is working for your business? 

A. We are so pleased to be a member of such a “family”! While difficult circumstances approach us all (the economic and trade crisis are a global phenomena – nobody can deny that) we have to figure out joint solutions to strengthen our COMMON future…

We are so looking forward to meeting you all in Abu Dhabi to discuss our ideas!

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

Interview with CQR Nairobi

CQR Nairobi’s representative Manager Fred recently explained to us how his membership is benefiting their company and why he will be at our annual meeting next year.

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

A. Excellent Logistics Limited was founded in 2007 in response to the continued increase in the number of local, regional and international consumers and the demand in the movement of freight locally to across the world and vice versa.

Supported by our very able, well trained and experienced staff and port clerks, we are able to carry out the various forms of service delivery (clearing & forwarding, import & exports, air freight, transport and warehousing) with speed and accuracy for our customers, hence winning more clients for our portfolio. We handle each and every client’s business with a lot of attention and integrity.

As a result of steady growth, we boast a staff of more than 100 & 200 directly and indirectly respectively as our assistants in major towns across E. Africa region and Africa in general. We have acquired a fleet of more than 30 trucks (Prime movers) plying the Mombasa, Kampala and Kigali routes in compliance with the relevant local authorities.

Q. What would be the most significant shipment your company has handled? What challenges did it pose and how did your team overcome them and successfully complete the shipment? 

A. We can quote a case study sometime in the year 2012 where we had to transport 50 containers to our client (The UN) based in South Sudan.

It was quite a challenge because the road network was so poor and our trucks faced a major challenge negotiating the poor roads resulting in a long detour through Uganda to access the newly created Republic of South Sudan which at that time was so volatile in terms of security.

In order for our goods to reach the destination safely, we had to hire armed police officers to guard our trucks to and from the border of South Sudan to Juba the Capital City. This remains the most challenging business we have encountered to date. Whilst it was both time consuming and financially consuming, in the end all goods were received in good order and our client was happy.

Q. What attracted you to apply for membership of Conqueror? 

A. Being a world renowned group of freight forwarders, we found it easier to delegate and liaise with members in handling complex logistics assignments that are awarded to us. By partnering with Conqueror, we found it easier to formulate a winning working procedure not only for us but also for our clientele.

Q. If you’ve been a member of other networks in the past, why did they not work for you? 

A. We were a member of the largest network in the industry and we just found it to be too crowded and in all honesty our company’s needs were not appropriately met.

Q. Would you say that overall your Conqueror Membership is working for your business? 

A. I would say that our Conqueror membership has helped us a lot and is working tremendously for our business. It has made our operations easier and we are able to deliver services much faster. Our cargo handling capacity has grown exponentially since we became members of Conqueror and our customer’s confidence in us has also grown over time.

Q. What did you think of the annual meeting? Have you seen any benefits from attending? 

A. The AGM was a plus I must say with a lot of confidence. It was a time of great opportunity to meet my partners in the international sector. It was a learning experience and even more so, was a great platform to meet and mingle with the leading companies doing business with us and sharing the major challenges we face in the field of operation globally. We also exchanged a lot of contacts and in case of any challenges we face, we always consult further on the nature of the challenges faced and find a suitable solution.

Q. Will you be attending the 5th Annual CONQUEROR Meeting in Abu Dhabi next year? 

A. We will definitely be in attendance and are looking forward to it; it’s a great learning opportunity. The event was professionally organized last time with everything running smoothly – a big success!

Interview with CQR Monterrey

Founded in 2008, CQR Monterrey has become one of the most renowned forwarders in Monterrey. We recently spoke with Rosario Segovia, Business Development Manager, about the company, its future plans and the freight forwarder situation in Mexico.

Q. Can you tell us a little about the history of Lozen Management Logistics and when you joined? 

A. Well with more of 15 years of experience, Cynthia Lozano and Jose Luis Encina decided it was time to start their own company. In the beginning, there was just a small team of three who worked hard to get the company a market position. After growing the business for six years, the company moved to larger offices and currently we are a team of 20 across 3 offices, our main one being in Monterrey and the others in Queretaro, Qto. and Laredo, Texas.

Q. Does your company specialise in any particular kind of shipment? 

A. We are a global 3PL, specializes in managing unique reliable and complete services on land, ocean and air.

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

A. At the beginning of this year, we moved over 20,700.00MT of steel coils, handling ocean and delivery in Mexico. It was a challenge to get the break bulk space and negotiate storage at the terminal as the consignee didn’t have the space to receive and unload them all at once. It was definitely a challenging and all-consuming consignment, but our team managed it successfully.

Q. What are the main challenges facing freight forwarders in Mexico at the moment and how is the industry tackling these challenges? 

A. Trying to keep our customers satisfied. There are so many freight forwarders right now that the market is overcrowded, competition is fierce with price wars rife as everyone is looking for a better rate. We are all negotiating with our carriers to get the best deal to keep our partners and clients.

Q. How is Lozen Management specifically dealing with these challenges on a daily basis? 

A. We try to go the extra mile on each shipment; we keep them not just with a good rate, but also with an excellent custom-made. This is what makes us different and why our customers return.

Q. Does Lozen Management LOGISTICS have any significant plans in the immediate future? 

A. Our plans on short terms are to open another office in Merida and to be an IATA Agent.

Q. What are Lozen Management Logistics’ longer term plans? 

A. We are getting ready to become a NEEC Company (New scheme of Certified Companies), which is a program that looks at strengthening security in the supply chain abroad. We are also looking to join the Transport and Logistics Cluster in Monterrey as an advisor.

Interview with CQR Amsterdam and Rotterdam

Interview with CQR Amsterdam/Rotterdam

Our CQR member in Amsterdam / Rotterdam is one of our newer members, representing the network in both Rotterdam and Amsterdam. Last week, we sat down with Inver Gase, Managing Director/Co-Owner at the NBK Amsterdam office, to find out more about this century old company and its 21st century operations. 

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

A. I started my career in the airfreight forwarding industry, about 30 years ago. After graduating in Construction Engineering, (BEng) I became fed up with this industry and took an opportunity to launch a new career in the logistics industry, as a freight forwarder entrepreneur running my own show. After 20 years of operation, I sold this company.

Q. Can you tell us a little about the history of NBK AIR AND OCEAN and when you joined? 

A. After selling my company I worked on the pay-roll for various companies at management level, but it didn’t give me the same satisfaction as when I was running my own business.

In 2012, I teamed-up with the NBK Group and shortly after that I decided to start-up NBK Air & Ocean BV at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol as a part-owner of this company. The brand NBK was established almost 100 years ago (1919) near the biggest port in Europe with a specialization in transportation of wood products. Through the Years, we have gained a lot of knowledge and experience which have enabled us to become a reliable 4PL service provider. This regards transport by road, sea, air, rail or a combination of these. We coordinate the logistics from the origin to the place of destination.

Q. Does your company specialise in any particular kind of shipment or service? 

A. We are specialized in several fields of logistics, the Group NBK consists of several divisions, with 30000m2 warehousing, our own fleet of container trucks, hazardous cargo specialist, IATA and AEO licensed. Our no nonsense attitude combined with perseverance and clear, open communication makes the difference. We will always give our best service to each agent or client, no matter the size of the shipment.

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

A. The one that sticks most in my mind occurred on Christmas Day, 2012. A vessel belonging to one of our customers (a ship-owner) became stuck in Cartagena port, Colombia needing spare parts from The Netherlands. It was absolutely mandatory that these spares arrived within 24 hours at Cartagena airport, with no transhipping in Bogota. With much of the world shutdown for the holiday season, we knew it was going to be a challenge.

Thanks to trust we have built with our agent partners over the years, we were able to provide a seamless service. Our team managed to book all cargo on a KLM flight into Curacao on Christmas day and there our agent chartered a small aircraft for the short journey onto Cartagena. Despite the odds being stacked against us, we managed to make the delivery on time with the spare parts arriving on board the vessel on Christmas day evening.

Q. What are the challenges facing the freight forwarding industry in The Netherlands and/or the world at the moment? 

A. Big challenges; well the industry is changing fast and competition is tough. In the Airfreight industry, we are seeing a large decrease in freighter/maindeck capacity. With new aircrafts, we are gaining tremendous belly capacity which is sold into the market at low cost. Our challenge is to find a match in cargo for a pure freighter service at high yield and substantial turnover on the larger belly capacity with lower yield.

In the end, we just keep doing what we do, providing the best service possible. With the capacity of the group and several different kinds of products, our continuity is secured.

Q. You are registered to attend our annual meeting in May this year. Why in your opinion is attending a network’s annual meeting so important? 

A. Logistics remains a people’s business, making new friends and getting to know each other is the basis of long lasting relationships. Two members of the NBK team, Rini Verhoef and Bud Klein, are attending the annual meeting. It is always great to meet so many agents, partners, friends in one place without travelling across the globe constantly.

Q. What are your goals for the meeting? 

A. Work hard, party hard! Our aims are to meet our partners and introduce them to NBK and vice-versa. The knowledge we will gain from the meeting, will ensure we can provide our clients with a higher level of service and cooperation of our agencies around the globe.

NBK Air & Ocean BV is a perfect example of the type of members we want in our network. A team committed to growing their business through mutual cooperation.