28. December 2020

Interview with RUBEN HUBER

Ruben Huber grew up in the trucking and warehousing business in Germany and held various management and executive roles in leading shipping lines, NVOCCs, logistics firms and intermodal operators across Europe, China and the Middle East.
Today he is consulting on strategy, digitalization, internationalization and logistics. He is the founder and director of OceanX, a network and thinks tank for NVOCCs and sea freight focused forwarders. Mr. Huber teaches shipping and strategy at several institutions, advises startups and other industry companies while being an investor in some.
He has a freight forwarding education, holds a German degree in business economics and an MBA from Aston University in the United Kingdom.

1. What are the main disrupters for the shipping and forwarding industry?
There is not really disruption more a transformation. Technology and digitalization are playing vital roles in the development of the industry. They are certainly catalysts for change and, in many ways, become essential tools to deliver services and interact with customers in new ways while optimizing efficiency and integration. However, we may not forget that behind the benefits of technology, a key underlying basis for transportation remains trust as getting raw materials in time and delivering products to markets is an essential element of any customer’s success.  
2. Tell us about the key areas in shipping and forwarding where Digitalization can bring the biggest value?
That will definitely be in the management and communication of information, it is no doubt about data. Digitalization does not only help to manage internal data better and trigger certain actions based on certain information in an automated manner for example, however, in particular, improves communication between different actors in the supply chain. 
3. What is your opinion about positioning WOF EXPO in the Central and Eastern Europe region?
I am very pleased to see the WOF EXPO coming into being, as there is a huge market, the strongest growth area in Europe, that has longtime been underrepresented and previously required extensive travelling to meeting the key people from the industry. The dynamic WOF team is finally bringing them all together into one place. Thus we are glad to be part of the event, featuring our stand and bringing several interested members along in September! 
4. What will be the impact of COVID-19 for further business development in the shipping and forwarding industry?
COVID-19 has no doubt been an accelerator for all things digital and shown in many ways what is possible when work from home or virtualization of services are concerned. Further, the current cargo boom in the US and Europe, based on involuntary reduction of consumption in the entertainment sector and an increase in the sales of goods, is certainly a nice side effect. The need to find fast solutions for customers in these difficult times has also been a great opportunity for smaller and more agile companies to differentiate.  
On the other hand, we see many larger investment projects being postponed and an impact on sales and development of new customers, as personal interactions and the establishment of trust are still key for that. 

OceanX is a non – exclusive global network of leading ocean freight providers and NVOCCs dedicated to delivering bespoke innovative solutions, in particular on FCL services, LCL consolidation, dangerous goods and chemical logistics, temperature control, fashion logistics, as well as project cargo handling.