Freight forwarding
12. November 2020

Interview with CHADI FARES

Chadi Fares is a co-founder and the General Manager for EuroLanes Srl, an Italian Freight Forwarder and Logistics provider based in Bergamo, Italy.
Before helping to establish EuroLanes, Chadi has spent most of the last two decades with Aramex International, with his last position as Head of Global Freight whereby he was responsible for the freight product globally and the company’s international network of freight partners.


1.  What are the main disrupters for Freight Forwarding development?
Here you can talk about two things that overlap, Technology and the “Archaic” way of handling cargo.
Our industry is centuries old, and I believe the last big change that happened was the containerization of ocean freight. Ever since this industry is still, and to a great extent, doing things with an “if it is not broken, don’t fix” attitude. That is coming at a time everything around us is changing. Production cycles are changing, products are changing, customers are changing, and most importantly, Customer Expectation is changing. That is where we are going to face challenges, and this is where many disrupters play a role.
It is not anymore acceptable for a freight customer to hear the response: „Your container was loaded, we will let you know in 30 days if it arrives at the port of destination.“ Customers demand information on the spot, accurate and realistic. The industry needs to bring itself on par with the new norm and ensure its players deliver what customers need – information and transparency.
 
2. Tell us about key areas in the Logistics and Supply chain where small/medium-sized Freight Forwarders can improve the most and why?
That is very much related to the first question where the industry needs to be responsive to the changing needs and expectations of customers.
More products are needed to cater to the different product lines and segments that are appearing. Customers demand to be aware of all the steps where and how their cargo is handled and they put bigger pressures on forwarders.
That is where companies like us fit into the picture, agile companies that still believe in personal relationships and real partnerships with our customers and with our suppliers.
Companies that value transparency and clear communication with customers and are eager to implement technology solutions that would help customers manage their goods and their time effectively and efficiently.
 
3.  What is your opinion about positioning WOF EXPO in the Central and Eastern Europe region?
That is a much-needed function in the part of the world. I still attend several industry events globally, although this number is decreasing by the year.  But I still believe that this region is still not served as it should, and such an event would allow international players to come and explore the potentials in Central/East Europe.
New areas are always the areas that would bring a high return on investment, be this investment in money, time or even discussions.
 
4.  What will be the impact of Covid19 for further business development in your core business?
With all the negative things that started and are still ongoing with this pandemic, the impact of Covid19 was still acceptable for most of the year. 
As long as people are consuming, then other people will produce, and we as forwarders will be there to link the supply with the demand.
Being based in Italy, and specifically in the Bergamo region, that was the epicenter of the disease across the country, we faced tough times. But we learned firsthand how to be reactive and proactive and how to work and operate under enormous pressure. Smart working is a key to our industry now, and we mastered it. 
This pandemic has taught us how to manage our business better, be efficient, productive and pro-active towards our customers.
Of course, we missed the team’s daily interaction, the regular or spontaneous meetings, after hour gatherings, etc. But we emerged stronger together, learned how to cooperate and trust from a distance.
A key learning thing here is again about the importance of technology in our lives. I cannot imagine how companies would have operated under lockdown conditions a century ago… Well, probably they would have closed shop and went home – but we did not!

 

EuroLanes is a true multinational freight forwarder and logistics provider. The company was founded by three veterans in the logistics industry, with a cumulative experience of 80+ years. And with bases of operations spanning all the geographies of the globe. EuroLanes was established with a primary idea in mind: to connect Europe to the world and to serve as a single European partner for all logistics needs, serving both European customers and international forwarders.

EuroLanes is all about flexibility and providing solutions. The company was built slowly, but very carefully, by the founders after examining the needs of the market and identifying a real gap in the logistics and forwarding industry.
https://www.eurolanes.com/