Mr. Giovanni Baggio
First and foremost Giovanni, could you elaborate a bit on the history of the Baggio Company. Who are the owners?
The Company originated 3 generations ago in the Northeast region of Italy, Veneto, and the Baggio family has been in the cargo transportation business since before the Second World War.
Starting from simple local road transport trucking services, the company has through the years of the Italian Industrial Economic boom developed into a reliable project freight forwarding organization with deep knowledge for Project Cargo Transportation services in North Africa (Libya and Algeria) and Middle East Countries (UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, Iran). In the last decade, we have been developing a very strong presence also in the Americas (namely the United States, Brazil and Peru). Also, a strong network of agents in most countries around the world enables us to arrange and coordinate cargo movements from anywhere to anywhere on a door-to-door basis.
We also have a fully-owned sister company (TB Port Srl) which specializes and operates multiple trucks and mult-iaxle trailers for moving rail cars and industrial heavy lift cargoes up to 150 metric tons from Italian factories to port and vice versa. This is all based in a 25.000 sq. meter yard with covered area, 2 km from Porto Marghera which we use as well for cargo storage/transhipment and container stuffing services.
The group of companies is today fully privately owned by Giovanni & Gherardo Baggio, Pedro Arruda, Bruno Moreira and continues to keep the structure and dynamism of a family company with quick decisions and fast actions. We have our own offices in 5 different countries and employ a workforce of 60 people throughout our offices.
I understand from earlier correspondence that you are very active in Brazil. It is a huge market but also has many competitors. Tell our readers why, in your opinion, you are a good choice to speak to when dealing with Brazil.
Well, after beginning my professional career in Baggio in 2004, I left Italy in 2007 to work in Germany and then Brazil for the late Beluga Shipping Company. Then in 2011, I opened the “Brazilian Branch” of the Baggio Company. Due to my shipping & chartering background, we were firstly operating as pure competitive brokers in the local market by serving shippers and freight forwarders as well as the other Baggio Offices for chartering vessels in their daily operations. Then in 2014, Pedro Arruda joined the company, bringing a large local “know how and know who” expertise in the Project Freight Forwarding segment, bringing the freight forwarding core business to the company also in this area of the world. The new venture rapidly had immense success. Today, in Brazil we have an organization with 20 people with shipping & freight forwarding active operations with the main Brazilian EPCs and large Industrial players in most segments such as Oil & Gas, Mining, Renewable Energy and Civil Infrastructure.
I noticed from your website that you have offices in Algeria as well as the US among others. I take it that Algeria is a strong market for oil and gas for you and that you carry many movements from the US. Is that correct?
Yes, Baggio has been present in Algeria for over 20 years, having performed numerous Oil & Gas and Civil Infrastructure projects consisting in cargo delivery from port to remote areas of the country. In recent years we have been busy moving Oil & Gas equipment (including large quantities of pipes) for the Ain Tsila and Tinrhert Gas Extraction / Refining projects.
As a project freight forwarder, you are depending I guess on shipowners, etc. Do you think that some shipowners’ policy of offering ALSO freight forwarding services will be successful? I mean, after all, they compete in this case directly with you right?
I think that the added value of a project freight forwarder with a strong shipping & chartering experience as cargo/vessel operator will always be very important and appreciated by many cargo-controlling companies, especially if the transport consists in door-to-door multimodal logistics. A reliable “middle man” can always find a more competitive edge when there is good shipping market knowledge. Plus most of the time, we also give financial backup to our clients who cannot pay the freight and detentions to the carriers quickly due to internal company procedures. In today’s environment with rising interest rates, I think this will be another added value in favour of the logistics operators. Carriers have very high daily running costs and also are extremely busy fixing their vessels as best as possible. Therefore, they have less time to dedicate to very demanding clients that have limited experience in the Terms & Conditions and Risks related to chartering a vessel directly. We assist our clients every step of the way and take a lot of risks on our shoulders, too.
So yes, sometimes we face direct competition from the carriers, but it does not bother us at all because most clients do see a lot of added value of having us in between. Most of the time, even the carriers prefer to have us taking care of the relationship with our customers, because we speak the same shipping language.
Did Covid19 impact your business or do you feel a slump now after the Corona pandemic?
Surely, the first 6 to 8 months after the pandemic were full of huge uncertainty and negativeness, like for everybody. However, as we did not have a big overhead of expenses, we kept all our people and continued working relentlessly.
Once the world switched back on with unprecedented support from the central banks, we also benefited from the biggest shipping boom in recent history. We were very quick to move, and purchased and leased thousands of SOC Containers to assist some large companies completely stranded with their supply chains and unable to get space with the container carriers. So we moved them on General Cargo / Heavylift Vessels from China to Brazil and USA to Brazil, Argentina, and North Europe tradelanes. We chartered more than 50 vessels ranging from 10.000 to 50.000 dwt [deadweight] full and complete basis. We literally worked almost 20 hours per day for months.
What are the main problems you feel you face in today’s freight forwarding world and in your field?
The main problem is always how to expand the commercial outreach and maintain the same quality of work and high level of performance of our services.
The key fundamental difference consists in having a skilled and knowledgeable, hard-working team of people.
Green transition, renewable energy, etc. is coming now big time. I notice that you have experience in this field as well. Please tell our readers more.
The Pandemic brought us into this sector actually where we loaded thousands of containers filled with solar panels and also trackers (their supporting frames) shipped loose on multipurpose vessels.
It’s a sector in which we surely want to do more in view of the global trend in this.
Who would be the right person to contact at Baggio in case the cargo is moving into or out of Brazil/Algeria/Saudi Arabia?
So, we are divided as follows and the main partners of the company follow specific areas:
Pedro and Bruno are responsible for the Americas region.
Giovanni handles Europe and Africa and is also responsible for the Global Vessel Chartering Activities.
Gherardo is the contact for the Middle East and Asia Regions.
What does your crystal ball tell you about the 2024 market?
In today’s tough geopolitical situation anything can happen, but surely an environment with ballooning government debts (especially in the western countries), high inflation and rising interest rates from the central banks will not be a good catalyst to economic health and growth, but the market always adapts…for good or for bad.
But as long as there is human consumption, cargo will always be there to be moved, so we are really looking forward to continuing to innovate and consolidate our company in the Project Cargo Transportation Segment.
Thanks a lot to all readers for taking their time in reading this interview, really appreciated!
Can you give our readers contact information when they want to be in touch?