Part 1 - EMO-TRANS Turns

The forwarding agent started from scratch in September of 1965. Meanwhile, the family-run company has become a global player and keeps on expanding every year. On the occasion of the anniversary the EMO-TRANS management invited customers, employees, companions and friends to celebrate its birthday.

It was a very dignified 50 year-celebration full of serious and hilarious incidents highlighted by speakers and some of the 180 guests at the EMO-TRANS anniversary held in Stuttgart, Germany last Wednesday.

Eckart Moltmann  -  pictures: hs
Eckart Moltmann - pictures: hs

´From small to big
Half a century of serving customers, adopting to sudden and unexpected economic changes, mastering challenges and weathering economic storms, recognizing new and innovative business opportunities ahead of the competitors and keeping most employees on deck over decades: That’s in a nutshell the history of EMO-TRANS which started as a single person company, flying its first cargo shipment of 10 kilograms from Germany to the UK on September 9, 1965, and has meanwhile grown into a global acting enterprise generating revenues in the region of US$400 million per year.
An almost magical ascent.
It was based on the vision of one determined man - Eckart Moltmann, the father of EMO-TRANS. “My English teacher in school used to call me EMO,” Eckart explained in his joyful keynote address as to how his firm got its name. “I was a lousy student during my schooldays in Hamburg very much to the annoyance of my father who – himself being a teacher – advised me to seek a secure job as customs officer or become some sort of state official,” Moltmann recalls.
Nothing he was really enthused about.

Cargo agents were a rare species
Instead, he founded a forwarding agency with a clear focus on air freight after having learned the basics at Kuehne + Nagel. “When I told my friends in Hamburg about my plans they laughed at me instead of offering some support. So I went to Stuttgart where I was very welcomed.”
During those days in the sixties forwarding agents engaged in air freight were a rare species.
EMO's first client was Trumpf Werkzeugmaschinen, a company producing textile and machinery. At that time such commodities were shipped by vessel from origin to destination. “My aim was to get sea freight into the air.” In the mid-sixties and early seventies almost a revolution in transporting goods.
So Herr Moltmann did. “I approached the consignees telling them that it would make much more sense to fly these machines instead of steaming them because that way the capital commitment costs would by a fraction in comparison to ocean freight. By operating them earlier they could make 100 extra bucks each day.”


First firm to charter Lufthansa’s brand new 747-100F
Obviously a convincing argument. It resulted in EMO having almost a monopoly in flying textile machines to the U.S. “In one year we transported 7,600 of them by air from Europe to North America weighing 20,000 tons,” he recalls.
Not to forget, it was the time where all-cargo aircraft were rare with the first Jumbo Boeing 747-100Fs just being produced in Seattle.

Launching customer of the 747F was Lufthansa and first customer to charter the plane only one day after it had arrived in Frankfurt was EMO-TRANS.
In the 80ies the firm grew constantly with new offices in the U.S. and elsewhere being opened despite cut throat competition by the big boys of the industry. Why? “Because at large logistics firms clients are nothing but a number. This is completely different at EMO where customers get tailored services,” Eckart emphasized.
A statement that was confirmed at the Stuttgart event by MD Reinhold Gross of Trumpf Werkzeugmaschinen. "We place high value on long term relations with our partners," said the manager, proven by his company's close ties with EMO-TRANS that spans from day one until now.
The era Moltmann at EMO-TRANS ended in 2001, when he handed over the company to a group of long-standing loyal managers. Ever since, Stefan Ritter, Randolph Reichel, Jo Frigger, Bernhard Stock and Thomas Klinkhammer are the executives determining the business of the firm in close coordination with the EMO family.  

Had a great time at EMO’s anniversary (from l > r): Bernhard Stock, Director Air Freight EMO-TRANS / Alexis von Hoensbroech, Exect. Board Member Sales & Services LH Cargo / Reinhold Gross, Director Sales & Services Trumpf Werkzeugmaschinen / Stefan Ritter, MD EMO-TRANS / Jo Frigger, Chairman EMO-Trans USA / Randolph Reichel, MD IT EMO-TRANS Germany / Thomas Klinkhammer, MD Sales & Marketing EMO-TRANS Germany

The employees are the pillar of EMO’s biz success
Lufthansa Cargo's executive board member sales & services Alexis von Hoensbroech noted in his speech that EMO combines traditional values like reliability, quality, honesty and continuity. “Core values that we share.” He went on to say EMO-TRANS is not their largest client but an important representative of Germany's strong going medium-sized companies, which are the backbone of the country's economy.
EMO-TRANS Germany's managing director Thomas Ritter pointed out the team spirit of the EMO staff and the unique corporate culture as basis for the continuous rise of the company and EMO'S ongoing market success.
Chairman Joachim Frigger of EMO-TRANS USA pointed out in his highly regarded speech that forwarding agents are the indispensable architects of efficient supply chain management. This includes even providing solutions in case that the unexpected happens, such as in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the U.S.
By addressing the EMO staff Jo praised their loyalty and their commitment. “Our people are the most valuable tools for us,” he exclaimed.
Regarding the future of EMO he said that the agent is still in its infancy when compared to an oak tree or a turtle. But who knows what’s coming next. “Never make predictions especially about the future,” Jo cited the great U.S. comedian and humorist Will Rogers.
Surely a simple and prudent advice.

Heiner Siegmund

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