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Perishables potential

CEVA Logistics is poised for another challenging year, but sees growth opportunities, particularly in perishables – Helmut Kaspers, the company’s COO Global Air Freight and Ocean Freight tells Helen Massy-Beresford

CEVA Logistics is under no illusions about the economic context in which it is operating. “2016 was a challenging year for the air freight industry,” according to Helmut Kaspers.


“The first quarter was impacted by the 2015 performance related to the port congestion in the United States, although CEVA enjoyed positive growth overall with the fourth quarter reflecting the usual peak season challenges aligned to the market at that time.” 


The company’s own overall growth was 'solid', Kaspers says, outperforming the market throughout the year in all regions. “Europe and Asia were at the forefront of this success.”


The year just getting underway will be equally challenging, believes Kaspers – who joined the group in 2015 and previously worked for Kuehne + Nagel and DB Schenker – although he does see the industry growth trend that began last year carrying on into 2017. “Carriers will look to improve their margins to make future investment in the industry viable, while maximising capacity.”


A likely rise in oil prices will also play a role, Kaspers says: “There is an expectancy for crude oil prices to rise in 2017 from current levels and this will add further pressure to carriers’ balance sheets.”   


Against this backdrop, CEVA – which counts more than 41,000 employees in around 1,000 locationsin more than 160 countries worldwide, with a total storage space of over 8 million square metres – has revamped its own business. It has introduced new structures to accelerate decision-making, improve customer experience and generate growth at all levels throughout the company. “These objectives are built around the 17 clusters globally and, to date, have received very positive feedback from our customers. 2017 will see us continue to invest in IT-improved platforms and solutions to take our customer service model to the next level,” Kaspers says. 


The company is also making great strides with adoption of e-freight, Kaspers says. “In 2016 all our e-freight objectives were achieved. This is a key focus for CEVA and is fundamental in our drive to remove costs from our operations. This mantra will continue throughout 2017 with our ultimate objective of achieving 100% compliance.


"For e-AWB, we foresee a further increase over our 2016 average in the share of e-AWB shipments as we recently went live on additional countries and lanes.”


With its own business ready to grow, CEVA is now looking for development opportunities – and one of those is undoubtedly the perishables sector. 

“Perishables is one of the commodities which will continue to grow significantly and where there is a good fit, an area CEVA will capitalise on going forward,” Kaspers says. “In Latin America, for example, perishables continue to be a key driver of air export volumes. We see how carriers continue to look into this market to serve with additional capacity. In the case of CEVA, we are positioned within the top three forwarders in Peru providing service and solutions for our customers shipping perishable cargo. On top of our strong position in Peru, we have identified key specific opportunities for growth in Chile and Mexico in the perishables market.” >>

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