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Can you share your personal story of working in the freight forwarding industry? Why did you pick this industry?

I’ve been working on imports and exports since 2007. After interning at the Brazilian Customs (with whom I still maintain a close relationship with), I moved on to Hamburg Sud, and then I opened my own trading company. During that time at the trading company, handling a lot of exports out of Brazil, as well as some big import projects, I was always shocked about the low level of service provided by the big freight forwarders. I particularly remember when my trading company was handling the customs clearance on all imports for the new airport of Salvador de Bahia (SSA), my hometown.

The forwarder responsible for that service was a big multinational that simply did not have the capability to assist on simple daily questions, cargo release from the carriers and so on. I remember asking myself if I couldn’t do that better myself. That was in early 2017, and in 2018 I joined the recently founded SAVILOG. I picked this industry because I knew that my previous experience in other areas of import and export could add up to the other company’s shareholders’ experiences in forwarding, to build a company that had full knowledge of the industry, as well as understood the client’s point of view. 

Savilog is a rather new company. Have you found a specific niche for you to enter the market in Brazil?

One of SAVILOG’s offices is in Belo Horizonte (Minas Gerais state), which is the largest producer and exporter of coffee in Brazil. That state is also a heavy exporter of other commodities in general. As it is a landlocked state, not many forwarders are based there, so this gave us a competitive advantage to be able to be closer to these exporters. Commodities exports were the backbone of SAVILOG’s growth on the first years.

Other niche markets that we have entered are personal effects and humanitarian aid cargo. Both have been possible due to our strategies of networking with foreign governmental entities in Brazil, as well as the Brazilian government. After going through many detailed vetting processes, we now participate in bids for many of these types of shipments.

 

You are currently staffing up for a branch in Portugal. What made you take this step to settle an operation outside of Brazil?
With our knowledge of the intrinsic barriers on Brazilian imports and exports, we noticed an exponential growth on cargo being routed by our partners in Europe. We wanted to be closer to these partners to better provide them with assistance on their sales. Two years ago, we started our department dedicated to assist our partners worldwide, and this expansion is a natural next step from that. We are also on the same time zone as many partners in West Africa, where SAVILOG handles many shipments to.

 

How does Savilog ensure its services are tailored to meet the unique needs of each client?
Training, training and more training! Since we noticed that the shareholders held valuable knowledge of Brazilian imports and exports from different points of view, we decided to combine that knowledge into continuous training.

Our staff meets regularly not only to receive training, but also to discuss cases. Our sales team asks the guidance of our operations team to assess the feasibility of some solution they are thinking about. This way we don’t sell what we can’t achieve!

Our “open doors” policy has also created a safe environment for even a first-year intern to reach out directly to the directors for any questions. By leading through example, we have created a company culture in which everyone feels safe to share their thoughts and ask for questions, instead of just trying to do something they’re not 100% sure of. This reduces errors and allows SAVILOG to tailor services to clients. We not only deliver cargo, but we also deliver on our promises!

 

Now, with the tough situation in the biggest ports worldwide, conjunctions and delays, and increasing fees, how do you ensure that shipments are delivered on time and to the client´s satisfaction? Are you using any tech tools?
Honesty must come first when dealing with clients. We always share with our clients the current situation worldwide (and we count heavily on our partners to update us on that). Sometimes our clients get back to us saying that they found a faster route, with cheaper prices, pretty much a miracle! We always alert them about the probability of it being unreal, but we don’t try to match things if we know we’re not going to be able to deliver on our promise.
We currently use market-analyzing tools, as well as alerts on news, to keep us updated.

If you can, share a recent example of the best-case situation you are proud of.
With the recent ports’ congestions worldwide, all imports from China to Brazil have suffered a high increase in prices. We were no longer being competitive against those big forwarders that can afford to ship cargo with a loss to meet their allocation quotas with the carriers.

We found ourselves with very little solutions in our hands, even with all the hard work our partners were putting in. We then decided to use breakbulk vessels to start shipping containerized cargo using Shipper Owned Containers that we rented separately. This has given us the opportunity to skip the crowded ports and to provide our clients with a tailored solution at a competitive cost. We were already handling breakbulk cargo, but we simply had never put containers on those vessels before.

Do you plan to introduce any new services in the near future?
Our newest project is to further increase our air cargo department. We have been IATA agents for over a year, but our air shipments haven’t taken off completely yet. We are now focusing on developing better strategies for air cargo pricing, so we can offer more competitive solutions to both our clients in Brazil as well as our partners worldwide.

How do you choose your partners overseas, and which markets have the most potential for you to look for new collaborators?
Our partners are being essential to our growth. We tend to focus on partners that are focused on establishing long term partnerships, and that are eager to share their market’s situation with us. Partners that update us on the current market situation at their end and that have a broader knowledge of their markets make a huge difference in how we approach clients in Brazil.

As for the markets with most potential, since we have very strategic prices for commodities from Brazil, the most potential markets for us for new collaborations are those importing from Brazil (as Brazilian exports are mix of CFR and FOB). This is usually Europe, China and the U.S.. Other big potentials for new collaborations are the new markets in Southeast Asia that have been increasing their exports to Brazil, especially pharma, tires, consumer goods, and so on.

What was the main reason for you to join WOF Alliance, and what are your expectations of the overall WOF platform in 2024?
During a friendly chat with Muge from FMI group, I was intrigued by her description of the different approach that WOF takes on its meetings. This showed me that the alliance is thinking outside of the box! My expectations for the platform for the second rest of the year is to exchange ideas and experiences with other forwarders, so that  we can all grow together!

 

Savilog was created by young, dynamic professionals with extensive experience in the Foreign Trade and International Business fields. Based on the different backgrounds of its partners and employees, Savilog offers a distinguished and holistic service to its customers and partners. We count on several partners around the world and we maintain excellent relationships with Brazilian ports and airports and transport companies so we can offer complete solutions for the international logistics that your company demands.

www.savilog.com