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Nikola Rubil, Senior Sales Manager LKW WALTER – Our company “speaks” 39 languages, we respond to changes quickly and efficiently

Nikola Rubil
Nikola Rubil (Photo: LKW WALTER)
The company LKW WALTER was founded in 1924 as a private, family company. Today, after nearly 100 years of successful operations, they are a leading European transport company for full truck transport. Their staff consists of 1,507 employees from 40 countries who speak a total of 39 languages. This large, but compact company is still 100% privately owned by the founding family and operates from two locations (Wiener Neudorf near Vienna and Kufstein in the Austrian state of Tyrol).

We talked to Nikola Rubil, Senior Sales Manager at LKW WALTER, about the business results, reasons for the success, but also the advantages of the company’s intermodal transport solutions. Also, sustainable development and environmental protection make up an important segment of their business, which, among other things, they carry out through their “GREEN Transport” brand.

– We attribute our success mostly to our centralized organization and simple structures within the company. I believe that, in the times of constantly growing business, the success of our company depends to a great extent to our ability to respond quickly and efficiently to the changes and oscillations in the market and to be the kind of a partner to our clients that will provide the optimal solution for the client’s individual needs at any moment.

In which markets do you operate? What country is the most oriented to facilitating the business of transport companies?

– LKW WALTER operates in all of Europe, Russia, Central Asia, Middle East and Northern Africa. On average, we carry out 6,000 full transport jobs each day – of which, at the moment, slightly more than 500 a week to and from Serbia. It is indisputable that business operations differ between the countries, but in these nearly 100 years of operations, we have gone through many changes, from various regulations, the opening of the borders in the European Union, economic crises, rises and falls in industries etc. Each change was a challenge in itself, but we have always been able to quickly and efficiently take the necessary measures and grow into one of the largest private transport companies in Europe. The motto that drives us forward is “Panta Rhei”, because we are aware that changes have always been and will always be necessary. To go back to the last question, each country, within its possibilities, is working on facilitating operations for transport companies and adapting to the current circumstances. Changes require time and I believe that this is the true indicator of the efficiency of any country.

What has been the biggest challenge to the business since the beginning of this challenging year?

– COVID-19 has marked this year and, all things considered, it will also mark the first half of the next year. Due to the instability of the market, delays on roads, the closing of the borders, we have truly been exposed to great challenges. All these circumstances that we met with practically overnight have confirmed once again the kind of advantage that we in fact have thanks to our widespread network in combined transport and our modern fleet of, currently, 11,000 semi-trailers. Thanks to this fleet for intermodal transport, we have managed to respond to the demands of the increased demand for transport during the pandemic. In addition to this, still current, topic, the trends of digitalization will certainly largely mark this year – a field in which LKW WALTER has been investing funds and knowledge for a long time. Digitalization has changed not just everyday communication, but the business as well. My conclusion is that, if 2020 is considered a year of the crisis, to us it has certainly brought a lot of good changes too.

How satisfied are you with the results you’ve achieved?

– This year, our clients have entrusted us with a much larger number of transport jobs compared to last year. So, we are more than satisfied with the results we’ve achieved and I am convinced that this growing trend will continue in the upcoming year as well. I would add that, considering that numerous readers from Serbia follow us, we have a clearly defined goal for 2021 to increase our share in the market of Serbia when it comes to FTL – full truck load shipping.

What sets you apart from the competition?

– What certainly sets LKW WALTER apart is our narrow specialization in freight truck transport and our sector division by markets. It enables us to adapt our activities in each individual market to the specific demands and criteria of our clients, but also to individual local regulations etc. For example, there are our transport managers, with whom our clients always communicate directly. They are well familiar with the individual requests of every client and have direct contact with the drivers. Communication with our ordering parties, forwarders, drivers and other participants in the transport process is always done in the local language in all countries we operate in, which provides invaluable help in avoiding misunderstandings and accelerates the traffic. I believe that, as the leading transport company, we are unique in Europe when it comes to flexibility and adaptability.

Which advantages do the intermodal transport solutions of your company offer?

– Considering that our clients from Serbia are asking more and more frequently about intermodal solutions, we welcome the construction of the intermodal terminal in Batajnica. The biggest advantages that such solutions provide are, among other things, the positive effect on the environment, namely, the reduction of the CO2 emission, increased flexibility in picking up and delivering the cargo, time savings – just think of the rows of trucks we are all familiar with from the border checkpoints such as, for example, Batrovci, Horgos, Kelebija etc. We will carefully follow the development of the infrastructure and technical feasibility, so that we could realize this kind of transport in Serbia as well in the near future. Since the 1980s, LKW WALTER has been investing in intermodal transport and we will certainly remain on that path in the upcoming years and decades.

What do important topics such as sustainable development and environmental protection mean for the operations of LKW WALTER? Which activities within the company are you currently carrying out?

– Sustainable development and environmental protection are important topics in our society and economy and also, of course, in transport. For LKW WALTER, these topics are not just commonly used phrases, but the values that we have been honoring and realizing for decades. Since the 1950s, we have been applying the rule that the fleet is used exclusively, to use a jargon term, in “round tours”, connecting the export and the import. In that, we are looking to reduce the number of empty rides to a minimum. We have been achieving this goal very successfully thanks to our widespread network of clients in all countries of Europe. In addition to that, LKW WALTER is one of the largest providers of transport services in Europe when it comes to transport solutions which focus on environmental protection, which realized over 360,000 tons of reduction of CO2 emissions a year!

Which values do you represent through your “GREEN Transport” brand?

– Back in 1984, LKW WALTER started moving the transport from the roads to the railways in order to reduce the emission of exhaust gases. In the 1990s, we intensified the activities toward environmental protection and developed a wide SHEQ management system. Our “GREEN Transport” brand, for example, represents the fact that our fleet consists of EURO5 and EURO6 class vehicles, with reduced emissions of harmful gases. In addition to that, in the past years, we have been using alternative transport solutions in the form of intermodal transport (road/rail and road/short sea shipping) even more intensively, for more than a third of our total workload. When it comes to this kind of transport, we constantly invest in the most modern fleet. Annually, we buy over 1,000 new semi-trailers featuring modern equipment.

Digital transformation is present in all industries, including the transport sector. How is LKW WALTER responding to all these challenges?

– For a long number of years, we have been setting aside substantial funds for information projects. The year 2020, with all its challenges, has shown us that we have been right to invest in technology all these years. For example, a unique algorithm which calculates the expected time of arrival facilitates the planning of stock and the production itself for the clients, it makes the communication transparent, that is, available at any moment. On the other hand, we increase the efficiency of vehicles by reducing the empty rides and delays.

As our clients have different needs, we are able to define individual and automated processes. What does this mean for our users? They learn about all the deviations from what’s agreed at the moment they occur. Announcements and reports are formed exactly in accordance with the demands of the individuals and so on. Technology is inevitable today and I believe that it is only just developing, considering the changes that await us in the future.

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