Insights presented by Shipco Transport.
As technological innovations continue to accelerate, increasingly powerful digital solutions have made almost every aspect of the logistics industry’s supply chain businesses more efficient than ever before.
Many would say this is a good thing for international transportation, a sector where technology and digital solutions power back-end operations, product offerings and powerful combinations of both hardware and software to support the movement of goods.
Shipco Transport, a neutral non-vessel operating common carrier (NVOCC), considers technology and digital solutions to be one of the cornerstones of its business. The company has found a winning combination by investing heavily in technology and building long-standing relationships with its freight forwarding customers, partners and carriers.
However, with such a focus on technology, one thing businesses should never lose sight of is their people.
For Shipco, the human perspective has always come first, so integral to the company that its motto is “Freight is a people business.”
“Our business is built around our people and our successes are built on growing relationships,” said Shipco’s Group CEO Christian Mogelvang.
A people-first approach should be the strategy through which a logistics provider operates, allowing it to keep the needs of customers at the forefront, like Shipco does. But freight forwarders should also look for other traits in an NVOCC that sets it apart: stability, neutrality, responsiveness to market changes, and service offerings.
Internal stability for weathering disruptions
When exceptions occur in the supply chain, customers look to experts to manage and resolve complex and challenging issues and ensure stable service delivery.
This was especially true during the most widespread and long-lasting disruption in recent memory, the COVID-19 pandemic.
Shipco relied on its deeply rooted principles, built on integrity and neutrality, while prioritizing organically controlled growth, to lead its customers and employees through volatility and disruptions in the shipping industry.
“Who we are as a company, our people, and our values served us particularly well during the pandemic,” shared Shipco’s Global COO Morten Bach. “We were able to depend on this framework for many decisions, and most importantly, we had stability in our organization from the onset. We prioritized the well-being of our people, and afterward, we were able to quickly reconfigure how our offices operated worldwide, relying on our robust digital platform.”
Neutrality indicates freight forwarder focus
As a neutral wholesaler, Shipco offers its services exclusively to freight forwarders and does not target direct customers. By extension, neutrality also carries through to all the company’s product and service offerings.
“Our neutrality defines how we conduct business,” Mogelvang said. “Simply put, it means our customers can be fully secure in doing business with us, whether for ocean or airfreight, trucking or a combination of the three. Our customers choose to work with us because they believe in the character of our company.”
With global ocean freight volumes falling, goods are being shipped in smaller quantities but with greater frequency, aligning with the demand downturn and a desire to keep inventory at a minimum. It naturally follows that there is a greater need for less-than-container load (LCL) services. Shipco, as a global cargo consolidator, offers in excess of 2,500 direct weekly consolidation services, providing viable options that caters to every scenario for LCL, gateway or direct.
As to airfreight, even though there is a global decrease in airfreight tonnage, the sheer size of the company’s customer base guarantees Shipco remains a tier 1 customer with most airlines. Shipco is considered among the largest 2% in procurement power.
“Well over 1,600 U.S. forwarders entrust their airfreight to Shipco,” said Kim Ekstroem, Shipco’s COO, Global Airfreight. “In the U.S., both Shipco and our customers work in our Air2Z platform, making it easy to quote, rate, match and book airfreight.”
Organic growth signals quick response to the market
The international transportation industry is especially vulnerable to economic fluctuations. Uncontrollable influences like wars, natural disasters or pandemics can shock status quo operations. This potentially spells trouble for companies that have grown too large, too fast but don’t have the internal foundations to respond to market changes.
Consequently, it becomes more important for the forwarding community to rely on a stable partner in the neutral space.
As a privately held company, Shipco remains proudly independent, maintaining its own management style and firmly controlling its agenda with a well-thought-out strategy and a clear plan to expand in ways that will benefit its customers.
“At Shipco, we are deliberately choosing to grow organically,” Mogelvang said. “Through organic growth, our customers enjoy the benefits of stability, longevity and predictability that comes with it. They are confident that our policies, procedures and service levels remain consistent.”
Shipco operates its business with a flat organizational structure, streamlining decisions through a Global Management Committee (GMC) and putting customers at the center of every approach.
“Our priorities are clear and consistent,” Bach said. “The focus is on keeping our forwarder customers ahead of the game by delivering service that is valuable and effective while still meeting each customer’s unique logistics requirement.”
Through its GMC structure, collaborating directly with the Board of Shipco, the company operates with agility due to the flat management structure. This enables quick decision-making, keeping Shipco at the forefront of the industry.
A diverse global service offering forms winning solutions
Each shipment comes with its own unique needs. So, one of the most valuable assets that freight forwarders seek in an NVOCC is its ability to accommodate their requirements with flexible and diverse service offerings all across the globe.
“Our best practices are built on listening to customers’ needs, evaluating market developments, and leveraging our people experts in building our products. We address each customer’s requirements and tailor-make solutions to fill those gaps,” Ekstroem said.
Shipco’s worldwide footprint is showcased through its global offerings, which includes air and ocean freight — both LCL and FCL — as well as inland transportation on imports, exports, and foreign-to-foreign moves. The company further offers multi-modal solutions such as sea-air and sea-truck, seamlessly combining ocean, air and road transport within a single journey.
Warehousing services are offered through Shipco’s container freight station subsidiary, International Cargo Terminals (ICT), within the U.S. and abroad.
“Along with our WorldWide Alliance partners, we are aligned globally on one operating platform. This means we can intentionally focus on widening our services and product lineup, which enhances our offering to our forwarder customers,” Mogelvang said.
Shipco: A rich history
With a history dating back to 1969, Shipco Transport was established as a subsidiary of Denmark-based Scan-Group in 1988 in New York, becoming one of the first neutral NVOCCs in the U.S.
Scan-Group is family-owned, founded by Arne Simonsen with the day-to-day management of the firm handled by the second generation and his son, Sune Simonsen, presently serving as Group CEO.
Currently headquartered in Chatham, New Jersey, Shipco Transport boasts more than 90 offices in over 30 countries across five continents and its expansion plans continue.
Shipco is a founding member of the Worldwide Alliance, an association of the leading neutral NVOCCs, and the AirCargoGroup, a global organization of neutral airfreight wholesalers.