ONE of the biggest logistics providers in the country, Gefco, recently celebrated its 10th anniversary of operating in Slovakia. Once primarily a logistics provider for manufacturers, Gefco Slovakia has broadened its portfolio to include some 600 clients from various sectors including automotive, pharmaceuticals, paper, retail, machinery, electronics and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG).
In 10 years, the accumulated revenue of Gefco Slovakia reached half a billion euros. This proves, said Luc Nadal, the chairman of Gefco Group’s managing board, that they have the “right strategy for geographical and cross-sector diversification”.
When referring to Gefco’s achievements in Slovakia, Denis Renard, general manager of Gefco Slovakia said that early on the company was committed to offering the same services in Slovakia that it does in other markets. It is now the country’s second largest provider of transport and logistic services and number one in road transportation, he told The Slovak Spectator.
Turnover in 2013 was €109.5 million, up 15 percent compared to 2012. During the period 2007-2014 revenue grew at an average rate of 13 percent annually. The firm now has about 450 employees and roughly 600 customers.
Gefco Slovakia’s partnership with PSA Peugeot Citröen, while the Gefco group remained to be the exclusive logistics partner of PSA worldwide also after the sale of the 75-percent share to JSC Russian Railways group in 2013, has allowed it to build a unique expertise in automotive logistics, Renard said, which they consider to be one of the most demanding sectors in logistics today.
Gefco has used that experience in other projects for PSA in China and Russia.
“The second benefit of this project is that we have used this experience and expertise for other customers and so we could duplicate our know-how to takeover internal logistics for other industries,” Renard said.
Russia is a key market for Gefco Slovakia, but Renard said that the Russian-Ukrainian conflict has thus far had little impact on business, though he admitted some shipping volumes are below forecasts because of Russia’s struggling economy. “We have a very good expertise on these markets and we could gain some projects,” he said.
Nevertheless, Renard is optimistic over plans to build railways linking Asia and Europe including the project to extend the broad-gauge railway from the Slovak-Ukrainian borders to Vienna.
“For sure, it will not be stopped,” he said. “In any case it is a project which will take years to prepare and to build. It seems that it is a very strong wish and the project will probably exist one day… To bring the wide-gauge railway to Vienna would bring some benefits to this area in order to decrease the transit time between China and Europe and therefore might interest some customers. But it will take time.”
In terms of quality and extent of Slovakia’s transportation infrastructure when the country still lacks a highway connecting west with the east Renard said that “of course, we are always expecting a better situation, but I must say that some countries are really worse than this”.
With regards to Gefco’s future plans in Slovakia, Renard said that the company wants to be the market leader, but added that it is “more important to be considered as the best logistics provider and expert in logistics for industries.”
“So this is also what we are working on and where we are putting all our efforts to get, to satisfy our customers and to be considered as the standard in our domain,” he added.
20. Oct 2014 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff