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Experience and Contacts are Key to Successful Freight Forwarding, says Rhys Davies Freight Logistics

Like most freight forwarding companies transport specialist Rhys Davies Freight Logistics has invested heavily in the latest IT technology to help streamline the shipment of goods around the world. But according to Freight Forwarding Manager John Lyon there is still no substitute for experience and reliable contacts, especially if the destination in question has poor infrastructure, poor communications or may even lie within a war zone.

It may seem obvious, but having a good knowledge of geography is very important in freight forwarding, unfortunately it’s often lacking in offices staffed by inexperienced people relying on technology alone. Knowing the physical and political relationships between countries can often help in devising a route to a particular destination. “We had a shipment to an American military base in Afghanistan a little while ago and used our agent in neighbouring Pakistan to handle it for us. We knew they did regular runs to that area and the job was completed without a hitch,” said John.

“Some jobs can seem impossible at first sight, we had an enquiry recently from a company wanting to ship speedboats to a remote location in the Amazon Delta. Unfortunately there was no port big enough to accommodate a seagoing vessel anywhere near the destination, but by using our experience and contacts we came up with a solution. The boats would be taken 2,000 miles up the Amazon by container ship to the port of Manaus where they would be transferred to barges and taken to a minor port close to the destination. They could then be transported by road to the customer’s premises,” explained John.

Thankfully not all shipments are as tricky as these but having an in depth knowledge of the business and being able to pick up the phone and talk to reliable trusted partners around the globe with expertise in particular markets is a big advantage the Rhys Davies team has over many of its competitors. “We tend to only use companies that are affiliated to the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations(FIATA), through their local trade organisation,” said John. “We are members of The British International Freight Association (BIFA) and are therefore automatically members of FIATA. Only using affiliated companies means that we can be confident they meet recognised international standards, are financially stable and are properly insured.”

Experience comes into play when dealing with international customs too as every country is different and it’s essential that a forwarder understands its way through. Rhys Davies is frequently able to save money for its clients simply by making sure the correct procedures are followed and the paperwork is completed properly.  For example, one customer in the EU was exporting to Serbia and was able to reduce the duty paid simply by completing a form EUR 1 and taking advantage of a preferential agreement between the two territories. Rhys Davies can also use its buying power to negotiate some of the best possible shipping rates and service agreements with the lines.

Unlike some of its competitors Rhys Davies does not have offices overseas, but John views this as an advantage. “By using agents we can choose the best company for the particular job in hand taking into account their experience and areas of specialisation. That means we have a lot of flexibility and don’t have to use our own people just because they are there.”

Sometimes the team at Rhys Davies has to use a little lateral thinking to solve a logistical problem. On one occasion they were asked to transport a bar shutter to an address on Ascension Island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean . It was known that the RAF had a station there and after a few phone calls arrangements were made for them to take the shutter on their next scheduled flight. The customer was delighted and had his shipment delivered in double-quick time.

Recently Rhys Davies announced plans to expand its Freight Forwarding division under the overall control of Commercial Manager Gary Phillips. “My aim is to significantly increase the turnover of the division within the next twelve months,” said Gary. “It’s a tall order, but I’m confident that when companies see what we have to offer in terms of international expertise and technology, we will win their business.”

More than just transport

All business enquiries to:
Gary Phillips
Rhys Davies Freight Logistics
Moy Road Industrial Estate
Taffs Well
Cardiff, CF15 7QR

Tel:  029 2081 0587      Fax:  029 2081 5109


Photo caption: Gary Philips, Commercial Manager.

High resolution images are available from

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