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 NEXT EVENT  | WOF SUMMIT | 17 – 18 September 2024 Vienna

Thomas Schumacher, General Manager | Corporate Development at THE ENSIGN GROUP

Born in 1968 in Hamburg/Germany, Thomas started his professional path in 1984 by joining a Freight Forwarding company with main activities in domestic & international trucking as well as contract logistics with own warehouses for Tobacco and Camera’s. In his position as General Manager for another company, he further extended his expertise for commodities such as Tea, Rice, Meat, Coffee before entering the Air + Ocean business in 1993 through engagement by ENSIGN MODUL SHIPPING, at that time part of THE ENSIGN GROUP, and served as Managing Director in Hamburg until 2003. In 2004, Thomas permanently moved to Hong Kong and joined THE ENSIGN GROUP as General Manager for the Corporate Development, followed by another move to Singapore in 2014 which he calls since then his home. Thomas finds strength and relaxation through his loving family in the form of a very supportive wife and wonderful daughter. After office hours, his main interests are related to different sports such as Football and MMA as well as community support in various functions.


1. Can you share your personal story of working in the freight forwarding industry?

Shipping and logistics were introduced to me at a very young age and I still find them fascinating today. My father, the Managing Director of a Terminal within the Hamburg Freeport, and my grandfather, who was active as a Manager at another Freeport Terminal, set the sails for my professional career, which started 40 years ago.

2. What strategies have helped Ensign Freight survive and maintain a competitive edge in the industry over the past couple of years? What makes you unique in comparison to the big multinational forwarders?

We encountered various challenges through the decades, from SARS 2001 to the financial crisis 2008 and recently COVID. I believe that our low hierarchy allows flexible and fast adjustments, in addition with creative and innovative thinking those are key components by competing with bigger MNC’s.

3. If you can, share a recent example of the best-case situation that you are very proud of and that your team managed really well.

In our industry, we encounter new challenges daily, and therefore, I am not specifically proud of an individual event but rather proud of my colleagues, who help with their expertise and knowledge to steer daily around multiple obstacles and perform to the customer’s full satisfaction. We are dealing with close to 100.000 jobs on an annual basis, and thanks to our very efficient SOP & KPI in place, we are below 0,7% of cases that require troubleshooting.

4. Digitalization and technological advancements, such as AI, are evidently changing the industry. Can you share your attitude towards this trend and planned investments in technology to enhance your logistics operations?

We recognize the transformative impact of digitalization and technological advancements, especially AI, on the industry. Embracing this trend, we have proactively invested in building a robust technology team at our headquarters. Our team comprises 12 highly skilled full-stack developers. This strategic move allows us to meet evolving customer and partner demands and maintain our position in the digital landscape, significantly enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of our logistics operations.

5. What type of service has Ensign included in your offering recently and why? Do you plan to introduce any new services in the near future?

We have expanded our service offerings to include innovative solutions like ‘iHYGGE’ and ‘Book’N’Store,’ designed to add value for eCommerce entrepreneurs with limited manpower. ‘iHYGGE’ offers a sales channel for brands looking to enter the Asian market. Through partnerships with overseas agents, we facilitate market entry and leverage our expertise in regional dynamics. Integrated with ‘Book’N’Store,’ this approach enables omni-channel eFulfillment and allows inventory to be stored in multiple locations, thereby streamlining logistics.

6. What are the key strategic partners that your company relies on, and has the start of cooperation had a great impact on the company?

Trust, endurance, and the willingness to resolve issues on a mutual basis are an important factor. We are proud to have covered our core markets with the majority of partners for decades. They have supported us since our establishment in 1986, and today, we are still working with them together in the second or third generation.

7. Your organization is represented in multiple countries. Are there any new markets you are currently looking to expand into? Do you prefer acquisitions of existing companies or founding your own from scratch?

With the shifting of production and the control of cargo movements within Asia, we are eyeing Malaysia and Korea as possible new offices. With the essential need for expertise and connections in place, we always prefer to engage with our existing partners in these regions and target Joint Ventures.


Since its establishment in 1986, Ensign has been proudly serving as one of the leading international Logistics Service Providers of the region. Strategically headquartered in Hong Kong, we value our solid global network as an indispensible asset, based on which we also continue to nourish the emerging Asian market. Our company continues to expand globally with branches encompassing China, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam and The Netherlands to provide total solutions.

Today, our worldwide agent network spans across 50 countries and 500 locations in East and West, efficiently leading to the global market. With our advantageous long-term relationships with major international shipping companies and airlines, we distinguish ourselves for providing a reliable range of services at competitive rates.