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Leading lights - Charles Keisner, Managing Director of Freight Brokers Ltd

Charles Keisner started his career in the fur business, before founding Freight Brokers Ltd 11 years ago, a leading international wholesale courier broker specialising in the fashion sector

You began your career in the fur trade: what lessons did that industry teach you that you’ve been able to transfer to freight?


The fur trade is an international business, which meant we would be buying from auction houses in countries as diverse as the USA, Canada, Scandinavia, China and Russia, and exporting these goods all over the world. A major part of that process was getting the goods from A to B, which is very freight related. Freight Brokers specialises in brokering the best carrier deals for fashion brands. We experience many of the same logistical issues today as we did then.


What do you enjoy about working in the freight and logistics business? 


I like the challenge of taking on new business. At Freight Brokers we use our extensive network of leading carriers to find the best shipping deals available. So I love saving money for our clients, whilst at the same time improving the service they offer.


How has your business performed so far this year and what do you expect for the remainder of 2016?


This year has been a great year for us so far. We’ve taken on a number of large fashion brands, as well as a number of designer brands. We are in very good shape and performing well despite a slight slowdown on the high street. We expect to continue doing well into next year.


Are there any particular areas you want to focus on next year – new sectors or regions, new products or offers?


We are definitely going to be working closer with the footwear industry, as well as perfume houses. We have taken on large footwear brands and we are very comfortable moving into that marketplace because it is close to fashion itself and likewise, perfume is a nice offshoot to fashion. We have shipped both in the past and we are excited about working in both of those sectors more in the future. 


What do you think the freight and logistics business is getting right at the moment? 


I think they are pretty much getting everything right, especially if you consider what is being thrown at them with e-commerce and the challenges of having to collect from distribution centres around the world and then deliver these shipments across the globe. There are obviously challenges ahead; the customer today is expecting a faster delivery time than ever before. So I think continual improvements to speed and efficiency across the supply chain is a must.


What is your earliest aviation memory? 


When I was younger, children were allowed into the cockpit of an aeroplane. I used to collect the Jet Club books from Pan Am and BA, I remember being allowed to go into the cockpit of the airplane to get my book stamped by the captain. You would often go in there and there would be three or four children in the cockpit before the flight took off. 


What keeps you awake at night? 


Fortunately, nothing much keeps me awake at night! 


Apart from the one you have now, what’s your dream job? 


I believe I have my dream job, it is really remarkable being a part of the freight sector. However, if I had to choose another, I would say working in a super cool restaurant or bar on a white sand beach, with turquoise water, awesome music and amazing sunsets.


Would you still want to be a part of the freight sector if you were starting out now?


Definitely, I think it is a great business to be in. It is the business of the future, everyone needs to get something from A to B. It is the sector of the moment and has been for the last 10 years.


What have been your proudest moments and your biggest disappointments? 


My proudest moment was when my son joined me in the business. My biggest disappointment was that the other two decided not to.


Which other companies and/or executives do you admire and why?


I really admire Elon Musk. He is a super innovative individual who clearly thinks outside of the box and constantly pushes the boundaries of innovation. Anyone who can work on three huge projects at one time must be absolutely formidable. In terms of companies, I most admire Uber, Apple, and Google, which have all in their own right been huge game changers, shaking up each of their respective industries and sometimes others as well.


What are the best things about working in the freight business? 


The best thing is the people you deal with, the freight industry is a like a family and full of amazing characters. I also love the visibility of what you are doing and the service you are able to offer. 


What are your hobbies – how do you relax? 


I love to go clay pigeon shooting and enjoy gardening.

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