The crisis in Ukraine has created challenges, and the pandemic is still here as well, so it is once again proven that flexibility in logistics and transport is an inevitability. It is of crucial importance to have all the information, to work on developing solutions and alternatives, but also to manage risks.
We talked about this, but also the market of Serbia, the projections for the period ahead of us, new technologies, as well as the company’s plans, with Nebojsa Djekic, Sales and Development Manager of cargo-partner Srbija
.The pandemic is slowly ceasing to be the biggest problem, but a new crisis is underway, caused by the war in Ukraine. Can these two situations be compared and how does the new one affect your company’s business?
– The crisis in Ukraine has created new challenges and difficulties, while the further course of the pandemic still remains uncertain. We were recently faced with the closure of one of the world’s largest ports in Shanghai. All these situations directly or indirectly affect our work.
What is characteristic of our industry, not just now but always, is the need for flexibility. Work in the transport and logistics industry has always been very dynamic as we have to adapt quickly to market trends. The past two years have been marked by particularly intense changes, but that has only shown once more how much our industry is on “solid footing”, and it’s caused us to become even more proactive in how we do business.
In crisis situations, the availability of information is crucial. cargo-partner’s global presence and wide network of close partnerships ensure that we have up-to-date information at our fingertips. This allows us to operate efficiently and constantly develop new, flexible solutions.How is cargo-partner managing this current crisis? What needed to be adjusted or changed, and what can your customers count on?
– Our customers can count on us to approach each inquiry in a personalized way and with special care. I would say that this commitment to clients, in addition to our decades of experience, is what really sets us apart. Hence our motto: “we take it personally.” We manage the crisis by actively monitoring market developments, responding quickly to the needs of our clients, and offering flexible solutions and alternatives. In the past few years, client demand has been heavily driven by imports from China. In this context, the Trans-Siberian Railway was a particularly attractive solution, but we’ve now had to suspend this service due to the war in Ukraine. Nonetheless, we continue to offer our customers a reliable portfolio of transport solutions, and we are constantly adding new services in reaction to the changing needs of the market.Why did you decide to suspend rail transport on the Trans-Siberian route? Are other modes of transport affected by the current situation as well?
– Overall, the current market situation has led to increased transport costs. Many companies in the industry will benefit from this, but for us, the trust of our customers remains a priority. Therefore, if we cannot be sure that your shipment will reach its destination by a certain route, we simply will not use this route.
Transport by rail is technically still possible, but in light of current events, the Trans-Siberian route comes with an exceptional risk for each shipment. That is why we’ve temporarily suspended this service.
Needless to say, we provide other alternatives to ensure that our clients’ shipments reach their destination safely. We have developed a specialized seafreight solution called Adria Express, which has slightly higher transit times than rail transport, but is still affordable.
Other modes of transport have also been affected indirectly, for instance, due to higher fuel prices, and this will inevitably have further consequences on transport services throughout the market.How do you see the position of the Serbian transport market in light of these events, currently, but also in the period ahead?
– For now, Serbian borders are open, ports on the Adriatic are operational, and all traffic is running smoothly. Transport regulations in the Western Balkans are not as strict as in other countries, which makes this region more attractive for foreign investments. There are no radical changes thus far, but we have learned from experience that challenges can come unannounced, so we continue to keep a close watch on current events and try to stay one step ahead.Do you think that forecasts for shorter supply chains will come true, and that many companies will relocate or redirect their businesses to the Western Balkans?
– Recent events have encouraged many companies to broaden their horizons, think about alternatives and become more open to new solutions, business partners and suppliers. Many companies have relocated their production plants to countries such as Turkey, the United Kingdom, Spain and Poland to avoid supply chain problems in China. However, there is still no competitive alternative to the Far East when it comes to the availability of raw materials and labor costs. As a result, I believe that supply chains can only change very gradually in the future.
When we talk about new technologies, which ones stand out in this period? Are you working on additional innovations?
– Due to COVID-19, many retailers have had to adjust their business to the changing consumer habits and shift their focus towards online trade. To handle these massive online order volumes efficiently, it is crucial to have the right logistics processes running in the background.
cargo-partner started investing in technology early on and has developed its own innovative logistics IT solutions. Our SPOT platform enables real-time monitoring of the flow of goods, access to customs and other documents, integrated warehouse and parcel management, and much more. It also allows wholesalers and retailers to connect their B2B portal or e-shop to our systems so that we can automate logistics processes, streamline collaboration and provide end-to-end visibility.
All the changes of the last few years lead to one conclusion: The challenges up ahead will only be mastered by those who can adapt quickly to new circumstances and take advantage of state-of-the-art technology. What are cargo-partner’s plans for the future?
– We will continue to work on improving our services to ensure that we can offer the highest quality and flexibility to our clients. This includes conscious investments into hiring, developing and training professional staff. cargo-partner
was founded over 39 years ago and we have been active in the domestic market for over 18. Our future investment plans are focused on technology and the expansion of our logistics capacities. We have recently opened new branches in Greece and North Macedonia and are currently expanding our warehouse capacities in Zagreb and Ljubljana. In addition to local growth, which is one of our priorities here in Serbia, we also continue to work on our global development. Our widespread and reliable network of partners is one of the things that give cargo-partner – and our customers – a unique competitive advantage.