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At an Auckland media briefing last November, the CEOs of DHL Global Forwarding Asia Pacific and North Asia South Pacific and country manager of DHL Global Forwarding New Zealand presented an exciting future for global forwarding; explaining the impact of digitalisation on logistics and cross-border opportunities for Kiwi firms.

Appropriately staged at a venue overlooking Auckland’s busy waterfront, this gathering proved an eye-opener for those present on the future of the global forwarding industry. And much of that future is centred on the word ‘digitalisation’.

Dr. Kelvin Leung, CEO of DHL Global Forwarding Asia Pacific discussed the progress of disruptive technology in logistics – such as Big Data, AI, blockchain and predictive modelling – and digitalisation’s effect on the industry, describing it as “a very important enabler that reaps tangible benefits for customers”.

“Digitalisation provides obvious advantages in enhancing the overall shipping experience for customers – providing them with improved access to information and supporting them in their sustainability efforts.” It’s all about meeting customers’ new agility with innovation and the latest technologies, he explained to the gathering.

As an example, the DHL interactive online platform gives customers improved access to information, he added, with features to check the near real-time status of shipments at any time and receive immediate quotes for general cargo.

Leung explained in some detail the enhanced shipping experience that will come from the move to digitalisation – the increase in efficiency and effectiveness and the increased transparency for customers.

Then it was the turn of Charles Kaufmann, DHL Global Forwarding’s new CEO for North Asia South Pacific and a 40-year logistics veteran, to explain the company’s new cluster set-up and what it means for Kiwi exporters. Amongst other synergies, the cluster delivers valuable access and focus in terms of New Zealand’s export of perishables – such as meat, seafood, fruit and vegetables, and dairy to Japan, which is ranked as New Zealand’s fourth largest export market.

This new North Asia South Pacific cluster, or sub-region, which came into effect on October 1st 2018, is one of the company’s four sub-regions in Asia and consists of New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Mongolia, Australia, Fiji and Papua New Guinea. Kaufmann says it creates more streamlined trade lanes and better access to the 220 markets in the wider DHL global network.

“We see significant opportunities to support businesses in New Zealand grow in a sustained and successful manner with more cost-effective freight connections, streamlined logistics solutions and market-leading service at every customer touchpoint.”

He sees the new cluster region creating efficiencies for New Zealand exporters – creating growth in e-commerce activities, particularly with Japan and South Korea.

The new cluster also creates a stronger focus on imports to New Zealand from all over the world – which ultimately increases investments in products and routes for DHL import customers.

Kaufmann says the sub-region cluster will mean faster market access for Kiwi exporters and implementation of the latest technologies relevant to international forwarding. The aim, he says, is to connect New Zealand companies directly to these countries, with less reliance on transit points.

In 2019 DHL Global Forwarding is placing emphasis on perishable business, the further development of e-commerce, particularly within foodstuffs – as well as increased competitiveness in service offerings such as temperature-controlled transportation by air or sea within the North Asia South Pacific region.

Kaufmann delved further into the company’s perishable goods logistics capabilities, and the benefits for its customers – emphasising “tailored” fast turnaround times, a 24-hour customs brokerage service, prioritised airfreight space, and DHL Global Forwarding’s door-to-door service which includes full ‘track and trace’ capability.

Perishable capability utilising specialised teams has long been a strength of the company, says Kaufmann, across products such as milk powder, honey, fresh milk, meat, fish and livestock – and utilises state-of-the-art technology such as 24-hour humidity and temperature monitoring and camera surveillance.

DHL Global Forwarding New Zealand currently supports perishable exporters through livestock charters (breeding stock), live chick and egg exports, and bulk milk and honey export services.

Under the new cluster arrangement, with its better access to markets such as Japan and South Korea, DHL can expand into selective seafood exports to further leverage its growth in these commodities.


Reliability and capability

Michael Dhu, country manager for DHL Global Forwarding New Zealand, was able to provide the Auckland gathering with more detail on the current and projected capacity of DHL Global Forwarding New Zealand’s operations for exporters, and explain what differentiates his company from competitors.

24/7 operation, including customs clearance and the use of its own aircraft (the fleet was recently upgraded with a new Boeing 767-300 freighter dedicated to the Auckland-Sydney route), means greater risk mitigation for Kiwi exporters and greater efficiency on both exports and imports. It especially makes a difference in Q4 each year for South Island exporters looking to find carrier space at a very busy time.

“The big thing is we offer alternatives and flexibility to our customers’ supply chains,” Dhu says, adding that the overnight freighter service into Sydney is especially useful for the export of live breeding chicks and eggs.

Wine and spirits make up an increasing percentage of DHL Global Forwarding New Zealand’s export business, he says, particularly to Japan and the US. “We handle everything from the collection of individual bottles of wine through to delivery at the table. “Temperature-sensitive handling is a critical part of the value of a Kiwi export [such as wine]. So for us, having people who understand the wine market, and understand what end-customers want is very important.

“We do everything from labelling to hand-loading containers with wine. And everything is done under camera surveillance [to ensure the value of the product is maintained].

Everything about their service is geared towards integrity and visibility, explains Dhu. “Customers can come into our warehouse to see how we’re protecting their product. And product is 24/7 track and traced from the moment it is picked up by our geo-tagged trucks, right through to the end-point of delivery.”

On the subject of destinations, Dhu says DHL Global Forwarding New Zealand will even arrange pre-clearance in overseas ports, so nothing gets held up and everything happens seamlessly.

Cargo insurance is another specialist service provided – but Leung was quick to point out that it’s not a service they want to make money from, and any claims are quickly processed because evidence of what happened has been captured by DHL Global Forwarding’s security technology.

Dhu says other value-added landside services that support wine exporters include relabelling and repackaging, gift packaging, consolidation of orders, re-palletisation, security cap installation, as well as containerised bulk wine movements in ‘Flexitank’ bladders and the deployment of ‘Gori-liners’ – an in-container ventilation system which protects product against significant temperature movements throughout the voyage.

Article by Glenn Baker, editor of ExporterToday.

Glenn Baker

Glenn is a professional writer/editor with 50-plus years’ experience across radio, television and magazine publishing.


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