Interview with CQR Livorno

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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.