International air and ocean freight logistics provider Qualified Cargo Solutions (QCS) has opened an office in Chicago, Illinois. Next to Shanghai it is the second station of the Frankfurt-based specialist for time critical transports outside its European core market.
“North America was a blank spot in our network for many years, a situation we have long discussed to change,” reasons a QCS executive when approached by CargoForwarder Global. The opportunity
came when the Qualified management became aware that RAM International, a St. Louis-headquartered freight forwarding U.S. customs house broker, was facing a change of ownership with some of the
staff being discontent with the new leadership. So was Lisa Olson of RAM’s Chicago office, a proven expert in all cargo and transport related matters, who quit RAM at the end of last year and was
hired by Qualified right on the spot.
“We know Lisa for long, particularly because she did an outstanding job at her former employer,” lauds a QCS executive. “She belongs to the rare species of energetic doers who develop businesses practically from scratch.”
Based in Chicago in the direct vicinity of O’Hare International since 1 January, Mrs Olson and her two colleagues are responsible for all Qualified related matters in the U.S. Presently it is persistent development work, this all the more because the newcomer has applied to be admitted as a regulated agent but has not yet been granted the official license by the TSA.
Aiming at CASS admission and security status as regulated agent
Also, Lisa and her team are still waiting to obtain an IATA approval as an accredited member of the Cargo Account Settlement Systems (CASS), which greatly simplifies the billing and settling of accounts between airlines and their forwarding agents. CASS was implemented to reduce the risk of non-payment for airlines should a forwarding agent suddenly bite the dust. Not having this permission means that Chicago’s Qualified office has to negotiate every single transport contract with a carrier prior to having any shipment being accepted for air carriage. A time-consuming and awkward procedure.
“We hope, both TSA and IATA will soon approve our applications, enabling us to really step on the gas pedal,” states Lisa. But even without these licenses her office managed to reach a break-even result at half year, thus realizing a return on the initial investment in the Chicago office. “Until the end of this year, provided we obtain the licenses we applied for, we expect to double our staff from currently three to six,” she announces.
Specialized on urgent 24/7 air transports
The market within the States but particularly on a global scale for time definite and urgent door-door transports that need dedicated care along the entire supply chain is there, she states, including on-board courier services. “We are ready to grab a share of this fast growing market by focusing on the shipping of extremely time-sensitive aerospace components or by efficiently managing tailored transports demanded by the pharmaceutical and biotech industry, to name but a few.”
Expansion on the horizon
Although the Chicago office is still getting off the starting blocks, the decision makers in the company’s Frankfurt HQ are already targeting steps two and three: an expansion of Qualified Cargo Solutions in the U.S., by opening subsidiaries in Atlanta, New York, Houston, Los Angeles. Stephan Haltmayer, Managing Director of the Quick Cargo Service Group, whose member Qualified is, issues an important message to all local U.S. agents his enterprise does business with: “Despite the intended spread of Qualified Cargo in the U.S. we are keen to continue doing business with you for our mutual benefit as we have done up to now.”