As students at a boarding school in northern Germany, Karim El-Sayegh and Martin Araman had a keen vision: to build a company that would offer the market road express services for the overnight transport of air freight across Europe. The once daring idea has long since become reality. Encouraged by its own business success, Sovereign now ignites the next stage by offering integrated air services.
Road transport remains the company's core business and therefore also its cash cow. However, parallel to this, customers have recently been offered additional services: the ground handling of
goods, customs clearance, and air transports thanks to the 4 strong fleet of own cargo aircraft: 2 Cessna Caravan freighters and 2 Dornier 228. “This enables us to offer the market integrated
transport solutions, i.e. the processing of orders from a single source,” explains Hendrik Bender, Head of Group Business Development & Marketing.
Focusing on B2B
Does the Hamburg-based company thus follow big role models like UPS, DHL Express, or FedEx? The answer is no, exclaim Sovereign’s executives. “Because in comparison we are still a small player, despite our steady growth,” says Mr. Bender. He goes on to say: “A second and more important differentiator is our strict focus on B2B, based on close cooperation with freight forwarders, courier firms, and express companies.” Therefore, Sovereign does not compete against the integrators, but benefits from their business by transporting automotive parts, pharma products, or shipments coming from mechanical engineering companies on their behalf. “Thanks to our broad network and product versatility, we offer integrators and other customers tailored transport solutions fitting their specific needs,” states Hendrik Bender. Most of these items, be they spare parts, components of the automotive industry, or express shipments, travel via Sovereign’s overnight service to London Heathrow, Brussels Zaventem, Milan Malpensa, Frankfurt's Rhine-Main Airport, or Paris CDG, from where they are flown to their final destinations.
The company has now widened its product portfolio by offering customers ground handling services. “At Frankfurt’s CargoCity South, we were able to rent more than 20,000 square meters of warehouse space to consolidate shipments or break down pallets, a service equally offered in Cologne and Hamburg,” states manager Bender. Further to this, Sovereign runs an automated ULD storage facility for clients in sudden need of empty containers or pallets.
…and air freight solutions round off the services rendered
Sovereign's flight activities are managed by its subsidiary, Businesswings, that operates four freighter aircraft.
“We provide aircraft capacity for close business partners such as time:matters, to fly their goods overnight on fixed routes. On the other hand, we have increasing requests from our own customers who depend on fast and reliable transport of their shipments if spare parts or components are urgently needed at one of their manufacturing sites,” states Lars Best, Managing Director of Businesswings.
Due to the success of its flight services, the manager hints a fleet increase. “We are currently looking at leasing a Saab 340, which we will probably use for flights to the UK and Ireland.” A project, standing on Sovereign subsidiary Business Wings' agenda for next summer.
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