What year was LIVO Logistics established and what was the reason for establishing the company in an already crowded Czech forwarding market?
Livo Logistics was established in 2016. As you can see it’s a new company, however, it was set up by partners having decades of experience across different fields and industries. We have experience in general cargo, transportation modes, project cargo, vessel and air chartering, specialties like explosives for the mining industry, fresh and frozen food transportation among others.
It’s always a combination of a number of reasons. Some more prosaic than others. First of all, I truly believe there is space for another good project freight forwarder on the highly industrialized Czech market with the main focus on export. Secondly, we do handle quite a lot of cross-trade traffic and the Czech Republic is strategically located in the heart of Europe. Last but not least, I live with my family in the beautiful city of Prague, which makes us happy.
Are you the owner?
Yes, I’m one of the partners in the company.
Tell us about yourself, your own freight forwarding background and tell our readers how you came into this line of business.
It all started back in the nineties when finishing my high school studies, I decided to enroll in university in my home town that just opened a Department of Transport Engineering. I never was a math genius, but I always liked practical subjects, field trips to terminals, warehouses, etc. where the real things are happening. Since my graduation in late nineties I have always worked in logistics, in a number of different roles, from operations, via sourcing and contracting, logistics manager in a turbine and generator production plant, to company top management, on both sides – the shipper as well as the freight forwarder.
What kind of special skills do you believe that LIVO Logistics brings to the table?
We are always very close to our customers. That comes naturally, not only due to the size of our company, but mainly thanks to who we are and how we do business. We are a real hands-on company. We travel a lot to oversee operations in different parts of the world to make sure the cargo is handled properly, safely and delivered in time to the final destination.We are very strict when it comes to vendor selection, whether it is trucking companies, ship owners, terminal operators, riggers, etc. Last but not least, having deep experience in a number of industries from power generation via oil & gas, renewables, construction and transportation equipment to explosives.
Tell us about some of the projects you have handled recently? Do you have offices abroad? Do you belong to any particular freight forwarding networks? How do you usually find your overseas partners?
Besides Prague, Livo Logistics has offices in Livorno Italy, Madrid Spain and Tirana Albania. Over the last couple months we have handled projects of pipes from Turkey to Italy, steam turbine shells from Scandinavia to the Czech Republic, construction equipment from Italy to Latin America, among others.
Livo Logistics has just become a member of Project Cargo Network (PCN) in the Czech Republic and Albania. Over the years in the freight forwarding business we have developed a network of reliable partners, but we always look for new connections and partnerships. In that case we usually go to our fellow network members. The big advantage is that these companies are similar size businesses with personal approach and credibility.
How do you view the business in this and the coming year?
With all the uncertainties the world is currently facing, it is difficult to make any long term forecasts. But we think the European economy is strong and growing and that has a reflection on the volume of cargo and projects being executed worldwide by the majority of our clients.
Our clients are working on very interesting projects and forecasting a positive future. We have all the reasons to be optimistic as well.
What are your future plans in Livo Logistics?
We are working on developing new service lines together with introducing new ideas into the freight forwarding business, reflecting on new technologies. There is a lot of space for innovations in our industry. Logistics 4.0 is the next thing and even in the niche market of project logistics we have to be aware, educate ourselves and keep up.
Do you feel that the customers have changed? We hear that customers sometimes ask their forwarders to act as a bank, requesting very long credit times, is that something that you can recognize as well?
Yes, we see this happening every day, and that may create a fragile situation for some companies.
But this is part of the business. Those companies who cannot properly manage the financial costs and cash flow, will not survive in this sector. And for that, we may have to say no sometimes.
Our clients hire us because they see our services adding value to their business. That value may come from the expertise to build good logistics solutions, as well as from providing interesting financial conditions.
With the right client targeting and solid contract terms and conditions, we can eliminate some of the negative influence on the company cashflow. We have to make our clients fall in love with our approach and service quality, so they are willing to work based on the payment terms that are still acceptable for us.
If any of our readers would like to get a quote from your company whom should they approach?
The best way is to contact us via the usual channels – emails and phones – that can be found on our website www.livologistics.com. We are also on social media, so feel free to follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. We’re looking forward to hearing from Project Cargo Weekly readers, good luck with your project and thank you for the interview!