It’s an impressive list of clients displayed in a Trinity presentation, showing that the fashion logistics specialist is serving all major retailers doing business in the U.S. The brands mentioned there belong to three clusters: fashion, footwear and retail. Soon however, the agent intends to introduce new products, enlarging its service portfolio, as Trinity executives exclusively informed CargoForwarder Global.
With the aforementioned three business segments, Trinity has built its intercontinental network with Southeast Asia and the U.S. being the agent’s centre of gravity. “As a specialist, offering
our customers value added services, warehousing, brokerage or reverse logistics, we have become a global leader in fashion logistics on trade lanes from Southeast Asia and - to a lesser degree -
Hong Kong to North America,” states Klaus Jaeger, Managing Director Europe, Middle East & North America.
Second charter flight runs well
Due to continuous volume increases, Trinity decided last year to launch weekly charter flights taking off from Colombo in Sri Lanka to Rickenbacker Airport in Columbus, Ohio. Capacity provider is Etihad Airways that operates a Boeing 777 freighter on this route that returns back via East Midlands in the UK to the carrier’s home base Abu Dhabi. Chartering the main deck capacity is a 40 million dollar investment, Jaeger reveals.
A lot of money, hence a very risky venture for a mid-sized company with no more than 600 staff, should something go wrong and markets contract.
However, the intermediate result looks very promising: adding a second weekly charter for transporting the rising volumes of textiles fast and efficiently from Sri Lanka to the U.S. – the operation started in mid-May – proved to be the right solution valued by customers, the manager states. Its routing reads: Colombo–Milan Malpensa–Columbus–Abu Dhabi, thus differing slightly from the charter flight launched last year.
Ingenious hubbing concept
At Colombo Bandaranaike International, Trinity consolidates shipments flown in from sub-hubs such as Chennai, Dacca or Karachi. The same accounts for the company’s Hong Kong operation, supported by feeder services from Hanoi, Shanghai, Jakarta and some other locations in the surrounding region.
Once the goods have arrived at the two transshipment hubs, it takes 17 hours (Hong Kong) and 21 hours respectively (Colombo) until their arrival at Columbus, Los Angeles or Atlanta, Trinity’s three hubs in the USA. Main difference is that most of the Sri Lanka consolidations are flown out by the Etihad freighters while in Hong Kong it is predominantly lower deck capacity of line-haul passenger aircraft which is booked by Trinity.
As to Sri Lanka, the increased capacity was introduced to facilitate the movement of the latest high fashion from Sri Lanka for retailers in the U.S. David Kerr, Senior VP Etihad Cargo comments: “The shippers taking advantage of this route have come to expect a high level of service, speed and predictability in their supply chains.” David went on to say: “We understand the unique needs of our clients and we are committed to being responsive and flexible as we continue to work together to exceed expectations. We place great value in our strong partnership with Trinity as we continue to build out for the future.”
“Both weekly flights are highly utilized,” says Klaus Jaeger in describing the outcome of Trinity’s decision to double the main deck capacity. “Running two charters successfully each week by utilizing Etihad operated Boeing 777 freighters is a huge step for us as we are only a mid-sized company.”
In total, 35,000 tons were flown from East and Southeast Asia to North America on behalf of the agent during the first six months of this year, a y-o-y increase of more than 15 percent.
Expanding its network
In fact, the swift growth of fashion logistics specialist Trinity is remarkable. Incorporated only 10 years ago the company has made its way up since day one. Last year, the New York-based forwarder generated revenues totaling US$380 million, thus capturing a big slice of the fashion logistics cake the market offers on trade lanes between Asia and the U.S.
Although the company runs offices in 21 countries there are still many blank spots on their geographical map. For instance, in Europe Trinity is only active in Germany. But that shall change. Announces Herr Jaeger: “There are plans in our drawer to expand the European network.”
Change of routing
He also indicates that the intermediate stop of one of Etihad’s freighters at Milan Malpensa will be given up in favour of an airport in Germany. Which one this will be is still in evaluation, Klaus states.
The manager adds to this that Trinity is on its way to spread its product portfolio. While aerospace is already part of the service offered (AOG – 24/7 services), electronics and pharmaceuticals are to follow, Jaeger announces. He also points out that besides air carriage, his company also utilizes ocean freight capacity to ship large volumes from Asia to North America.