In spring 2022, the Frankfurt-based, family-owned logistics company, Quick Cargo Service, expanded its business activities to Eastern Europe. New stations have been established in Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland, offering sea freight, overland transport, and customs clearance services in addition to air freight transport. Reason enough to ask David Kondor (DK), head of QCS’s Hungarian branch, how business has been going since spring. We met the Managing Director at Budapest Airport.
Focusing on SMEs
CFG: David, QCS Hungary is active since May. How has your business performed so far?
DK: Surprisingly well. Despite being operational only since May, we already need to up our staff and are looking for a larger office. This is necessary because we significantly exceeded our original business plans. We managed to contract numerous mid-sized companies that were not satisfied with services rendered by the big boys. Their feeling was that they sat in row three or even four, because the large players focus mainly on big accounts. So, they felt too little attention was paid to them, for example when it came to developing tailored logistical solutions for critical and sensitive products. We gladly welcomed these customers as we are primarily targeting SMEs. Meanwhile we are better known in the local market, so even multinational companies are knocking on our doors. This is certainly also due to the fact that our employees have comprehensive know-how and market expertise. I thank all our team members for their market knowledge and tremendous effort day after day. They are very enthusiastic and perform an amazing job.
Air freight tops other modes
CFG: You offer the market tailored solutions in air, ocean freight, surface transportation or as an optional combination. What’s the ratio of these modes?
DK: We stand on three legs, to put it briefly. Air freight accounts for 50% of our sales in Hungary, ocean 25 %, and the same applies to surface transportation, mainly Eurasian rail freight solutions.
CFG: Although air freight ranks first, you decided to set up your office in downtown Budapest, not at Budapest Airport’s Cargo City. Why?
DK: Because of our people. They are our most valuable asset. No doubt, BUD Airport is a good place to work, but the area is not a first choice to settle. Younger people, in particular, want to be where the action is. And the place to be is downtown Budapest. We thought that this is the better option compared to choosing BUD’s forwarding building on airport, located roughly 25 kilometers distant from Budapest’s city center, in which to accommodate our office. Given these circumstances, we decided to rent office space in downtown and run our business from there. We need people who identify with their job, the environment, and the company. Only then can a positive working atmosphere be created and maintained. By the way, we also offer our colleagues the option of remote work, if it is compatible with their tasks. This hybrid model is well accepted. In any case, we know from discussions and reactions that our staff very much appreciates the fact that we have settled in downtown. The value-added services for import or export shipments are provided by a local partner that is based in BUD Cargo City. Over the mid-term, however, we are considering starting own warehouse operations at BUD Cargo City, provided volumes keep growing.
Staff urgently needed
CFG: In most parts of Western Europe, there is a shortage of staff. This is a complaint heard from many ground handlers at airports, for instance. What is the situation at Budapest Airport?
DK: At BUD, cargo volumes are increasing very fast. However, the number of floor employees is not keeping pace with this growth. To compensate for the missing workforce, multiple shifts were introduced a while ago. Delivering customers first class service has become a daily struggle due to the lack of ground handling staff. This bottleneck situation puts a lot of pressure on the handlers’ side. The pandemic situation and its ripple effects on the one side, and fast-growing volumes at the same time, are posing a challenge. But we are positive that we can maintain our current high service level and up our competitiveness. We very clearly see the efforts done to improve the handling procedures, supporting our aim to offer our customers the best possible service.
Paperwork is an unnecessary time killer, and is still quite common in Hungarian transportation, binding a lot of administrative staff. This, we all need to rethink and improve by digitalizing daily business processes, standardizing them. I like to point out that BUD’s Airport management is strongly supporting this aim. We all need to improve efficiency to compensate the lack of manpower and emphasize the dynamic of freight forwarding to make it attractive for young talent.
CFG: Thank you David for your insights.
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