From 2-6 May the members of the Global Freight Forwarder’s Group (GFFG) and Worldwide Cargo Marketing (WCM) alliance met in Hong Kong to conduct their annual meetings. More than 100
delegates of the 105 different companies comprising associations of middle-sized forwarding agents participated in the conferences. The common conviction was expressed by the group’s founder,
Stephan Haltmayer of Frankfurt-based QCS – Quick Cargo Service: “Privately run mid-sized companies grow faster than the multinationals. They develop new niche products and offer their clients
tailored instead of standardized solutions as the big players use to do.”
CFG asked some of the attendees to deliver their impressions of the events. Here are their statements:
Jason Fowler, Executive VP of Air & Sea International, Utah
"It's my first time attending the GFFG and WCM conferences although Air & Sea International is a member for a number of years. We have never participated at any of the alliance's conferences so far. Now my first impression is that we made a mistake not showing up in the past because I find these two shows being of great benefit for most members.
As a small forwarding agent based in the U.S. it gives us many options to widen our global network through personal contacts. It also gives us the flexibility to compete against the big boys of our industry which each single member of GFFG and WCM would be unable to do as a consequence of their limited finances and geographical reach. The connections established during the four Hong Kong days are worth their weight in gold."
Susan Liu, Overseas Markets Executive Director of Anda Shun Int'l Logistics, Shenzhen
"We run eleven offices throughout China and two stations in Australia. My enterprise is very strong in air freight that's why we were awarded Best Agent of Lufthansa Cargo in Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hong Kong. Also at CA, CK, CZ, HU we are the number one agent in the above mentioned region. Actually we are the key agent for more than 20 international airlines, like KE, OZ, CI, BR and also integrator UPS.
So you can imagine when it comes to capacity issues in air freight that we have very strong buying power in China, including Beijing and Shanghai. In addition we have become a member of IATA, FIATA, the World Cargo Alliance and some others which helps enlarging our global reach.
We decided to participate in the GFFG and WCM conference to elaborate on additional biz opportunities with the members of both alliances. It really paid off to attend since we were able to open up new doors for improving global business.
Since we have an increasing number of shipments going by air from China to Germany we are keen to tap into the German market. However, setting up an own branch in that country is not part of our extension plan.
In China there are more than 3,000 forwarders that are using our contract service with airlines. This because we have signed capacity agreements with carriers like LH Cargo, UPS and Air China on trade lanes from China to Germany. This buying power makes us quite attractive for the market.
Since our inception in 2006 our revenues have increased by more than 30 percent each year, reaching USD 76m in 2013. For fiscal 2014 we expect a similar growth rate.”
Currently 300 staff are working for Shenzhen Anda Shun International Logistics.
Michael Dean, MD of Geo Express International, Toronto
"We are a new member of both alliances GFFG and WCM, so it takes some time to develop business together with other group members. But it's a good opportunity to grow business by collaborating with other agents. Of special importance were the face-to-face gatherings because it's the best way of determining what you have in common and what you can possibly develop together.
At this stage, only hours after the conferences have ended here in Hong Kong it is too early to draw a final conclusion. But I'm very confident that my participation will turn out to be a success."
Ingmar Ingstad, CEO INGSTAD and Co AB, Malmoe, Sweden
"Besides Sweden we have offices in Lithuania and in China. At other places in the world we cooperate with local agents, mostly from the GFFG network. In this respect we honestly appreciate the establishment of the WCM network because it widens our reach and enables us to partner with other agents, especially since the WCM alliance is growing by attracting new candidates to join the group.
I like to add that we are convinced that we'll benefit from a stronger WCM Group since this alliance of medium-sized and privately run forwarding agents is the right tool to generate additional biz and an alternative for shippers to the standardized business models offered by the multinationals."
Opinions gathered by Heiner Siegmund