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ASIAN TRUCKER MAGAZINE MALAYSIA // 13th of October, 2022
TRANSPORT OVERSEAS ROLLS YOUR TRUCK ON AND OFF AT YOUR DESTINATION
ASIAN TRUCKER MAGAZINE OFTEN DISCUSSES CBU VS. CKD. IN THIS EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WE EXPLORE JUST WHAT IT TAKES TO GET A FULLY BUILD-UP UNIT OF A TRUCK YOU HAVE ORDERED TO YOU.
A young and dynamic company is currently making the news in the Middle East. Headed by truck industry expert Richard Hall, Transport Overseas’ having a subsidiary in Dubai is heralding the expansion of this Germany based RoRo expert. With their headquarters in Bremen, the company has established itself as the go-to freight broker for those depending on RoRo (Roll-on, Roll-off) shipments. Such arrangement is needed for trucks and buses that are being shipped as Fully-Build-Up units.
Hall, who recently took over the duties as Sales Director Middle East/Asia Pacific for the recently created Transport Overseas office in Dubai has been active in the region for some six years prior to his move from a truck OEM. “Obviously, the Middle East is a diverse region, however, when it comes to commercial vehicles, tastes and requirements are generally very similar.” The market is less diversified though, with the demand being for either heavy commercial vehicles or LCV. Medium duty trucks are in lesser demand. According to him, the medium duty segment is not popular because of issues pertaining to the homologation process and weight restrictions. The light commercial vehicles market is dominated by the Japanese brands while the heavy-duty trucks are predominately European brands. “One issue I noticed is that TCO is becoming more of an issue this year as the oil prices are also becoming an issue for the Middle East, although they are oil-producing countries. Until now, it was all just a matter of adding a bigger tank.”
Having worked in various countries and with trucks, Hall felt that his expertise could be applied to other, related industries. “With the current labour market and supply chain issues, shipping goods is becoming an even more important issue,” he said. Leveraging on his experience and network of people and companies, he is confident that Transport Overseas’ (usually referred to as TO) is in a position to offer sought-after services.
With a recently incorporated office, Hall enjoys working directly with the Owner and the Managing Director of the business and having the freedom to build upon a solid foundation by adding new international partners. Hall hopes to replicate the success of the founder, who has taken the business from zero to 50 Million EURO revenue per year within ten years.
TO’s core business is and always has been RoRo and large project cargo. Vehicles, trains and “things” that don’t normally fit into ships are the mainstay of the business. Container shipping is increasingly being demanded from customers too. When asked about the reasoning for TO to set up a subsidiary in Dubai, Hall cites the potential for growth in the region in the automotive industry. “We see this in Saudi Arabia for instance. There are a lot of infrastructure projects being initiated and this is the growth we are looking to service.” In the UAE, TO is already working with a number of German brands when it comes to their regional logistics needs.
IT IS MORE THAN JUST THE BROKERAGE. WE PICK THE TRUCKS UP, DELIVER THEM TO THE SHIP AND DELIVER THEM TO THE CUSTOMER ON OUR END HERE.
The shipping of commercial vehicles is a door-to-door operation, whereby TO would move the vehicles via the ports in Bremen or Antwerp and even Southern Europe Ports. It is more than just the brokerage. We pick the trucks up, deliver them to the ship and deliver them to the customer on our end here. As there are few local assemblies of trucks, FBU is the way to go. “While RoRo is a specialised operation, containers are becoming increasingly difficult these days, due to the issues with global shipping,” Hall explained. As such, RoRo offers advantages over shipping parts for local manufacture. To give customers peace of mind, TO handles all the export documentation in-house, which extends into special export licences for military applications. Beyond trucks, TO also handles the world-wide transport of trailers for Germany’s biggest manufacturer.
One of the key accounts of TO is a German truck maker that Hall has previously worked with. Having evaluated their needs and requirements, Hall identified that it is not just about price, but service and dependability. He was given the opportunity to prove that TO is the right partner and following an initial contract, TO’s Dubai office is now handling the imports of trucks of this particular brand for five countries.
For 2023, TO is planning to move between 1 000 to 1 500 units of trucks, depending on the ability of the OEMs to deliver trucks. One truly unique selling point Hall emphasised on is their collaboration with Hyundai Glovis, which is one of the biggest shipping lines in the region. The agreement between TO and the shipping line is that there is a guaranteed reserved space on every ship that travels between South East Asia, the Middle East and Europe, designated for TO. “Recently, this allowed us to ship 35 units to Kuwait with just two weeks’ notice. We still managed to get all the trucks onto the next sailing vessel.” With the shipping covered, the biggest challenge for Hall and his colleagues is finding people to cope with the rapid growth. TO’s plan is to make the Dubai organisation more autonomous and to develop further expansion across the region.
THE AGREEMENT BETWEEN TO AND THE SHIPPING LINE IS THAT THERE IS A GUARANTEED RESERVED SPACE ON EVERY SHIP THAT TRAVELS BETWEEN SOUTHEAST ASIA, THE MIDDLE EAST AND EUROPE.
Following the success of TO in the Middle East, the company is also looking to expand into Asia with an own presence. The location of such an office would depend on the routes of the shipping lines. Seeing potential for growth, Hall also pointed out that there are certain places that TO would not be shipping into: North Korea and Russia are blacklisted and TO always works within international Governmental restrictions. While TO also ships farm equipment to the US, goods like Oil and Gas are also not part of the portfolio. “Trucks, trains, farm equipment and construction equipment are the items we prefer.” Hall said this is derived from the clear vision and strong focus of the owner, wanting to be a global player within a specified segment of the industry. One key difference, according to Hall, is that TO is aiming to work with both, sender and receiver of the goods, rather than just targeting brands to work with.
Tim Oltmann (37) is a qualified and experienced shipping specialist and has been CEO of the Transport Overseas Group since 2012. The experienced logistician learned his trade at the Swedish shipping company Wallenius Wilhelmsen in Bremen and worked in various management positions after completing his training; as Sales and Key Account Manager for divers Ro/Ro accounts from wellknown automotive OEMs and most recently as transshipment manager with an international team of seven.
Within just 10 years, Tim now generates a turnover of over 50 million euros annually and has the TO Group at six locations (Antwerp, Bremen, Berlin, Bilbao, Dubai and Szczecin) with further expansion planned. This great success has been built on the setting of new standards for customer service and close cooperation with the biggest shipping lines globally. With a complete portfolio of logistics services, the TO Group is an integral part of the logistics champions league.
Transport Overseas Group GmbH