Executive Briefings

In China, 'You Have to Go the Last Mile for the Customer'

Since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, many of the old Communist-era restrictions for setting up business have been removed. For some logistics companies, the largest barriers to entry come not from Chinese red tape but from other Western competition.

"Most of the big forwarders are already here," said Gerhard Blumensaat, director of airfreight, North/Central China, for forwarding firm DB Schenker, which has been in the country since the late 1970s. "You still have paperwork to fill out, plus technical advisors and lawyers to consult, but other bottlenecks have been cleared."

German logistics group Dachser has ties with China that stretch back about 30 years. Today, Dachser has 150 offices across the country. “Growth has gone down a bit, but competing in China is still challenging,” said Thomas Reuter, the company’s COO, air and sea logistics. “We consider it complicated, but never a problem.”

What tends to trip people up today is lack of preparation. A forwarder cannot expect to do business for very long in China remotely, Reuter said. There has to be a permanent presence in-country. “You have to remember that any business relationship in China is also a personal relationship. You have to go the last mile for the customer.”

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"Most of the big forwarders are already here," said Gerhard Blumensaat, director of airfreight, North/Central China, for forwarding firm DB Schenker, which has been in the country since the late 1970s. "You still have paperwork to fill out, plus technical advisors and lawyers to consult, but other bottlenecks have been cleared."

German logistics group Dachser has ties with China that stretch back about 30 years. Today, Dachser has 150 offices across the country. “Growth has gone down a bit, but competing in China is still challenging,” said Thomas Reuter, the company’s COO, air and sea logistics. “We consider it complicated, but never a problem.”

What tends to trip people up today is lack of preparation. A forwarder cannot expect to do business for very long in China remotely, Reuter said. There has to be a permanent presence in-country. “You have to remember that any business relationship in China is also a personal relationship. You have to go the last mile for the customer.”

Read Full Article