Strong together

 

Last year was a surprise at every step. It wasn't just the pandemic, for which nobody was prepared and whose effects have been felt in almost every aspect of our lives, but also its consequences for business. Lack of stability, market's unpredictability, uncertainty, closed borders, cancelling transports and unprecedented increase in rates. These are just a few aspects with which we had to deal. Every one of our services underwent a „school of life” in 2020 and difficult situations strengthened us in our philosophy: there are no problems, there are challenges.

 

2020 was a special year for us because we celebrated the 10th anniversary of operating on the Polish market. In those few years we have significantly improved our position in the TSL business. We have expanded our range of products, opened a few new branches (including our own Customs Agency) as well increased fivefold the employment numbers. Last year mainly showed us that, regardless of the situation, we can stay together and help one another in difficult situations. This was true for the company itself as well as relations with our Clients, who appreciated our effort and paid back with trust. For that, we are immensely grateful.

 

Despite several setbacks, we have managed not only to keep the entire staff and all our Clients, but also find new ones. Thanks to the determination of all our employees, we are closing 2020 with a valuable profit, a new road transport department, an increase in employment and good outlook on 2021.

 

What have we had to face and how did we manage? Despite a few common points, each freight division lives by its own rules and each deserves a separate answer. We leave the rest to our department directors.

 

Sea freight – Weronika Bellwon

 

The situation in sea freight was very dynamic. Just after Chinese New Year the decrease in production capabilities in Far East temporarily slowed down sea transport. In the second half of 2020 there was a sharp increase in demand for goods. The market began restarting dynamically. It did not mean it was easy – on the contrary. Allocation availability on ships was reduced to minimal levels. It was cause by the highest level of ship scrapping and low container manufacturing numbers in 2019. The lack of equipment in Asia was and still is severe. The global pandemic along with increased demand resulted in congestion in the ports of west America and Europe, from where the containers did not return to the Asian market.

The most important thing in all this was to find solutions which would ensure the continuity of logistics chains for our clients. Back then nobody expected the revolution that happened in the last few months of 2020. In addition to blank sailings and lack of available containers, we experienced an unprecedented increase in transport costs which exceeded the „magical” barrier of 10 000 USD.

In that difficult time, the enormous work done by our team in order to find optimal financial solutions and allocations, brought great results. The process of booking containers involves several people. You can always depend on your colleague to help you with your current challenge, which makes a big difference. Cooperation our network of branches and trusted partners, we were able to meet the expectations of our existing Clients and find new ones by providing not only freight, but also service.

 

Air freight – Aleksandra Stypułkowska

 

At the beginning of 2020, when the pandemic hit, the planes were grounded. The amount of air traffic fell by almost 60% which meant drastically less transport availability. No direct flights to Poland caused backlogs on most European transit airports. Cancelled flights made waiting times to which our Clients were not used to. Additionally, due to the necessity of combining air and road freight at the last transit stage, time of completing orders increased considerably.

Another issue was the business uncertainty among our Clients, who often debated whether to accept new contracts in that wild time. One exception were the importers of PPE (Personal Protection Equipment). It was a highly demanded commodity, one which had to be transported quickly to fulfil the needs for such goods.

 

Having a network of our branch offices and the attractiveness of our solutions in air freight allowed us to maintain the punctuality of deliveries and fulfil contractual obligations our Clients made. Although the situation was difficult, our Clients entrusted us with their goods, which was a sign of total confidence in our capabilities and professionalism. Our effort was rewarded with continuous orders.

Business relations created over prior years allowed us to prepare solutions which translated to competitive charter transports. That allowed us to gain new contracts and strengthen our position on the air freight market. All that would not have been possible if not for the hard work of our team, which has always been tuned to the needs of our Clients and has always done their best for our Clients may rest easy.

 

Rail freight – Miłosz Witkowski

 

During the first quarter, when China closed Wuhan and restricted travelling, there was the risk of railways paralysis. It turned out not to be the case. Although most factories in China had much longer breaks in operation than usual after Chinese New Year, we observed increased demand for PPE equipment, so urgently needed in Europe.

In the second quarter, after the opening of the European economies, the demand for fast transport increased. The importers wanted to make up for the losses from the beginning of the year. This continued until the beginning of the third quarter of 2020. It helped open new connections with Europe: to Kaliningrad, Czeska Trebova, Vienna, Milan or south corridor through Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia to Turkey.

Unfortunately, increased volume caused great imbalance in container flow. 10 times as many containers were coming to Europe than the other way round. Additionally, an increased number of trains put a strain on the railway infrastructure of all countries along the Silk Road. Main choke points were border crossings in China and Europe. China, wanting to decrease congestions, arbitrarily ordered some trains to hold, which caused further delays. Most importers complained about increased transit times.

Regardless of the situations we had no influence on, thanks to our network of offices in the Far East, we managed to keep the transports going. We provided our Clients with currents news regarding their shipments. Based on our knowledge and experience, we engaged in decision-making in order to choose the most optimal mode of transport for every order.

 

Road freight – Karolina Janik

 

2020 was also challenging for road freight. Both our Clients and carriers tried to „cut costs”. The Clients were looking for cheaper logistics solutions while keeping continuity of production. After the shock of the spring wave, the whole team mobilised for even harder work. Closed borders and, more importantly, halted supply chains from China made many companies to look for solutions within Europe, which increased demand for road freight. At the same time, the availability of trucks dwindled. We experienced information chaos regarding opening/closing the borders, quarantine for drivers etc. Additionally, the drivers feared infection, which further limited the number of trucks ready.

Such interesting time was a great character test and an opportunity for forwarders to show what they are made of. Everyone made sure that our Clients didn't have to follow technical aspects of restrictions and deal other issues with which we could help them. We did all we could to maintain the highest quality of service when looking for solutions best suited for their needs. The feedback we got from our Clients and how our work was evaluated by them in such difficult times were immense support and motivation for action.

What's important, we did not limit ourselves to our regular Clients, although we realised that for many businesses that was not the time to look for new partners. The extra work and risk paid off.

 

Our success in 2020 can be described using four words: trust, security, determination and relations

 

Trust – when two years ago we deliberated on the most important value of our company and decided to follow the „Delivering trust” motto, we did not anticipate that in the near future we would be tested so unexpectedly. It so happened that this motto was with us in every step along the way. Both inside and outside the company, as well as regarding our Clients. Despite optimising costs, we did not abandon the children from the orphanages under our sponsorship, charities, nor our AMP Futbol representation. Everything we did gave us the feeling that our core values are alive and important despite the ongoing pandemic and temporary setbacks.

 

Security – both for our employees and regarding cooperation with our business partners. Cooperation with our network of branches provided us with financial security. Thanks to stability, we continued providing our clients competitive solutions. Punctuality of shipments, key in such conditions, allowed our Clients to fulfil their obligations. This, in turn, was appreciated and we were rewarded with subsequent contracts.

 

Our employees showed great determination in everyday work. We were focused on completing the task while finding the most optimal solutions.

 

Relations turned out to be no less important – all of our Business Partners and Companies were an immense support in everyday operations. We proved that cooperating in such uncertain times brings mutual profits. Continuously building business relations over the years allowed us to work out solutions which strengthened our position on the freight forwarding market, but also in the eyes of our Clients.

 

Plans for 2021

 

2021 will also be a year of challenges. Despite slow recovery of the freight forwarding market, long term planning is needed. To provide forwarding solutions, we need to learn the needs of our Clients. It is crucial for securing enough room on all transport types during our talks with our Partners. Signing contracts which ensure transport capabilities and proper use of those capabilities becomes a must. Such approach will ensure further development of our company and its stable position on the TSL market.

Last year showed us that we are well prepared for that: we plan accordingly, fulfil our role well and no challenges are too hard for us. Further success is within our grasp and we are ready to get there.

 

 

 

Maciej Przywrzej

                                                                                                                                                   CEO