First of all Gian-Andrea, when did you arrive in Japan, and when was the company established?
HABA-SPED Logistics Japan K.K. was established early 2014. I settled in Tokyo during the summer of 2014 and started operating the office.
We always hear that Japan is a market that is very traditional, also in logistics. What is your view about the logistics market in Japan overall?
Correct. Like most businesses in Japan, the logistics sector is very traditional in the sense that long-term relations are important and treasured. It’s a very mature market, same as we find in most developed countries.
Apart from the worldwide known brands such as Toyota, Sony, Honda, etc., there are a wide range of lesser known companies, manufacturing goods from simple daily items to high end tech items for use in Japan and around the world. Due to the size of the country, there is also a large import market for any kind of goods from around the world.
Many companies are tied up with a domestic logistics provider and have a very close cooperation which extends to the international shipping part. That’s one of the reasons we often hear that Japanese companies work only with the Japanese, which is true to a certain extent. Also, the decision-making processes in Japan are somewhat mysterious.
What is the main focus of HABA-SPED in logistics?
We have two focuses. First is to control business for our small and medium size Japanese customers—currently, mostly imports from Europe. The second focus is to assist our partners around the world in arranging their nomination shipments in the smoothest possible way. We often hear that dealing with Japan is difficult, and communication is slow. We try our best to make the Japan experience for our partners a positive one.
Could you provide us with a few examples of cargoes that you have organised to / from or within Japan?
We mainly arrange General Cargo shipments. Our current percentage is about 50/50 for both air and ocean FCL / LCL. We handle a wide range of goods from beer & wine, to furniture, to high tech medical equipment to literally every corner of the world.
Lately, we arranged the first shipment of frozen vaccines from a Laboratory in Japan to Russia which took us some time to set up. The following shipments now run smoothly.
Are you currently a member of any networks or do you work with overseas offices within your own group?
Since early 2017, we have been an independent entity. We have recently joined Cross Ocean Air & Sea Project Logistics Network and are also members in 5SLN, Interconnex, MIFFA, UFN, North Star, & Easyfresh.
Could you provide our readers with a “rule of thumb” when it comes to logistics to or from Japan, keeping in mind the traditional nature of the Japanese market?
Time—you need time in Japan. First (initial) set-ups are usually time-consuming. Once contacts are made and the first shipment has been arranged, any following shipments move very smoothly.
When our readers need your services, how is it best to get in touch with you?