A league of their own
Asia Outlook speaks to APT Showfreight about airshows and working across different time zones. It's all in a day's work for one of Asia's largest exhibitions logistics companies.
Writer Hannah Eiseman-Reynard
Project manager James Mitchell
PT Showfreight & Logistics Group is a culmination of five different companies coming together to offer a comprehensive package of niche logistics in specialty transport and logistics to the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) industry in Asia and the world.
The companies are APT Showfreight Hong Kong, APT Showfreight Shanghai (with five offices in China), APT Showfreight Singapore, APT Showfreight Vietnam and APT Showfreight Thailand.
This combination has enabled the APT Showfreight Group to offer a seamless service to customers in Asia, leveraging on the regional expertise of each office to offer bespoke services to meet the demands of customers together.
Managing Director Danny Khor is the man charged with charting APT Showfreight's business course. He says the business came into being in 2008 to offer specialised exhibition and events logistics service to tradeshow and event organisers and customers in Asia.
Notwithstanding the global financial crisis, the company persevered and with persistency in overcoming obstacles, it hasn't looked back.
One of the biggest challenges was securing show appointments and in 2008 APT Showfreight was appointed as joint official forwarder and on-site handler for the Singapore Airshow (the third largest airshow in the world) in 2010 and 2012. Since then, they have proven their capability to handle mega logistics operations of this kind and have now been appointed as sole official forwarder and on-site handling agent for the next two editions in 2014 and 2016. The work includes co-ordination of all land, sea and air freight forwarding, special import and re-export handling, packing and unpacking, on-site installation and other auxiliary pre-show and post show logistical work.
It takes a lot of people and a lot of expertise to run a mega show of this size.
"Whilst APT Showfreight is now a brand name known for specialised exhibitions and events logistics, the people are the pillars that drive the company," says Khor.
APT Showfreight's people are highly experienced with ten to 40 years of logistical knowledge, thus assuring customers of the highest possible standard of service.
To ensure their continued excellence in service, its workers are sent for regular training, to sharpen their generic skills as well to be updated on new trends in logistics and business. "This is a necessity to keep one updated and to enable APT Showfreight to provide customers with the best and relevant solutions for their needs," says Khor.
And while the company tends to hire experienced staff, he is very aware of the shortage and the need to attract young people into the logistics industry.
To ensure on-going vitality and to draw young people in this industry, Khor says, "APT Showfreight is open to internships from Universities and Polytechnics. We are growing and as part of our growth strategies we will need young graduates to join us in this fast moving and time sensitive industry – not just in Singapore but regionally across our Asian offices."
APT Showfreight's logistics business is divided into two key areas, which Khor refers to "home and away games".
For home games, the company focuses on its Asian strength and knowledge to be appointed as official forwarders and on-site handling Agents for tradeshows and events in Asia.
For away games, the company offers comprehensive 'door to booth' logistics services to customers participating in overseas tradeshows and events. Here, the APT Showfreight Group is closely networked to an international group of likeminded partners in Europe, the U.S., the Middle East, Africa, South America and Australia to name a few. These strong business links enables the firm to offer niche seamless logistics solution to customers in the MICE industry, says Khor.
"In addition to securing the appointment for being the sole freight forwarder and on-site handling for the next two editions of Singapore Airshow in 2014 and 2016, APT Showfreight has been appointed for many other tradeshows and events in Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Hong Kong and China including Myanmar, Laos and the Philippines," he adds.
Tradeshows and events have grown rapidly in dynamic Asia. With more venues for staging more exhibitions and countries competing for similar shows across the continent, the demand for a "reliable and dependable exhibition freight forwarder" has become all the more important. APT Showfreight is "glad to be counted as one of those organisers o tradeshow and events can count on," Khor explains.
So what challenges has APT Showfreight faced during its stellar rise? In a climate of global financial uncertainly, every company is becoming careful about pricing.
Against this difficult background, the company has nonetheless managed to carve out its niche by differentiating their service deliverables. "We are competitive in pricing but we may not be the cheapest in bidding," Khor says. "Our clients know our service deliverables, especially when it comes to time sensitive delivery where you cannot afford to miss an exhibition or event. As our slogan says, 'We Offer Solutions & We Deliver Promises!"
Where APT Showfreight is already providing logistical support for the third largest airshow in the world, it is possible to go further. Khor tell us they are looking at greater expansion in Asia.
"Despite the APT Showfreight Group being already present in key exhibition cities in Asia, there are still plenty of opportunities to grow in Asia - like Indonesia and the opening up of Myanmar," he concludes.
Given the company's impressive rise from forming in 2008 to running some of the biggest, boldest events in Asia, we're confident APT Showfreight is one to watch out for.
To learn more visit www.aptshowfreightlogistics.com.