Portrait: Mato, the Man in Charge on the Floor

In today’s issue of CargoForwarder Global we continue our portraits of some of those men and women who are essential for the seamless handling of air freight shipments.
Here we portrait  Mato Filipovic, Duty Supervisor at Frankfurt-based LUG aircargo handling. Why Mato? - simply because we found out that he is our 18.888th subscriber to CFG and discovered that he regularly follows air freight developments  there.

Patrik Tschirch, CEO LUG (standing left) and Duty Officer Mato Filipovic  -  photo LUG
Patrik Tschirch, CEO LUG (standing left) and Duty Officer Mato Filipovic - photo LUG

The man in charge on the floor
That’s basically how Mato sees himself in his position at LUG.
A Croatian national, born 39 years ago in the Balkan state, moved to Germany at the age of 14 and is married with two sons, Mato Filipovic has been an LUG employee for the past 15 years.
A move he claims that he has never regretted. It has not been an easy ride he tells us. Air freight rules and regulations and processes have been changing constantly since he started out. He says that those employees working “on the floor” are an essential part of an air freight handler’s organisation and need constant attention and training updates. He told us that despite the introduction of digitalised systems, such as Hermes, which LUG uses, the workers in the warehouse attune themselves fast to changes. Many of them have grown up in the new digitalised world.

Start off small and work your way up the ladder
Mato Fiipovic joined LUG at the age of 24 as a pallet build up agent, without any special training, but was lucky to join LUG he says because the company takes time to integrate staff into processes. That was the case 15 years ago - and is the same today he states.
When Mato started, it was more or less a case of “learning by doing” and having a positive “hands on” approach to the tasks ahead.
Today, things have changed somewhat thanks to automation and computers Mato says, but at the end of the day it’s the people that count.

Motivation, trust and sometimes a hard hand
Mato makes no secret of the fact that he’d like to continue up the career ladder at LUG. He became a Duty Supervisor 5 years ago and is proud of the fact that despite having various nationalities working under him, that communication is good and leads to having a better job done.
He tells us that there are between 50 - 70 staff on each shift, depending on the number of flights to be handled. “One needs some fine-tuning sometimes in order to ensure that the guys work closely and coordinated in order to avoid mishaps or bad build up and documentation” - he states. This, when considering that the company handles around 16 different airlines, many of which have different needs.
He tells us also that relations with customers are very good - despite varying needs. “No big deal” he says, but sometimes giving an extra workload.
Mato Filopovic is an affable character, enjoys working with others and likes the fact that every day is different at LUG.
Patrik Tschirch, LUG’s CEO, finds only positive words for his Duty Officer. He respects his loyalty to the company and the way he works with and alongside other staff members. “Mato has been with us for 15 years and we’d like to see him stay at least another 15” he says.
LUG handled 200,000 tons of air cargo in 2016 and expects to reach between 230,000 – 250,000 tons this year, plus whatever new client Emirates SkyCargo brings on top when joining LUG at the end of this month. A brand new cool-centre (Health Care Center) which will be integrated in the present warehouse set-up is in the building phase and will offer 600 sqm of space in the initial stage. A further 600 sqm can be added if needed.
Seems that Mato Filipovic and his team will have their hands full in the coming years.

John Mc Donagh

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