20 Years of Freight Forwarding Excellence
Writer: Emily Jarvis
Project Manager: Kane Weller
Consolidated Shipping Services LLC (CSS) has bolstered its already renowned name in the freight forwarding industry, having recently identified ways to diversify its core activities to create new opportunities for its cross-section of business partners globally.
Headquartered in Dubai, the regional shipping and logistics giant has become one of the most sought-after names in its field, backed by a loyal team of highly skilled professionals with a substantial number of years’ experience shared between them. From NVOCC (non-vessel operating common carrier) activities to lucrative projects, and relocations to heavy equipment logistics, the Company is led by its own strategic blueprint that encompasses a total shipping and logistics solution for the client.
“Last year, our offices in the Middle East and the subcontinent joined hands to celebrate the Group’s 20th anniversary, which was a proud moment for me,” recalls Group Chairman, T.S. Kaladharan. “Starting as a small firm with minimum staff strength to cater for the logistics requirements in Dubai, the Company has grown to a size of more than 800 staff across 20 offices in the Middle East and Indian subcontinent.”
CSS Group’s efforts to adapt to the latest industry trends and find the most efficient and feasible solutions to meet today’s freight forwarding needs has undoubtedly set it apart from the competition. Taking this one step further, the Company created an 11-point Business Development Dashboard in 2014 with the aim of driving growth across new business verticals and geographies.
“Given the effects of the global economic climate on industry in general at the moment, there are many challenges that face the whole value chain in the shipping and logistics industry. Therefore, we are keen to explore a more diverse range of services across a wider geography that will complement our core activities to secure our long-term sustainability,” he further explains.
Increasing 3PL capacity
In a constant quest to enhance customer satisfaction and commitment, CSS Group has increased its 3PL (third-party logistics) capacity by building an additional facility within the Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA). The new facility will accommodate the Group’s state-of-the-art regional office along with a new warehouse promising an additional 47,850 square feet. With unique double-deep racking systems in place, the facility will provide an additional 4,200 pallet positions to the existing 17,000 pallet positions within JAFZA and is scheduled to open its doors to reach full-scale activity by mid-June this year.
“Our CFS facility within Jebel Ali is equipped with state-of-the-art technologies such as RFIDs (radio frequency identification devices), the most advanced bar coding scanner and enhanced WMS for visibility. We have a temperature-controlled warehouse and self-storage facility for personal effects as well.
Moreover, the new facility will integrate our in-house software, which has undergone several updates over the years; enabling management of all Group activities from each of our locations,” Kaladharan states. “Across the Group, we have also invested in our vehicles and equipment in the recent past to strengthen our transportation division and 3PL activities.”
Business Development Dashboard
Driven by a desire to continually review the business’ performance, the last fiscal year saw CSS complete four of the objectives outlined in its 11-point Business Development plan.
Kaladharan details: “The geographic expansion plan includes organic growth within the Middle East as well as a proposed foray into the Asian market. It was this plan that saw our CFS venture at Sohar, conceptualised to improve our service levels by controlling both ends of the LCL (less than container load) transport chain. Today, this is a venture that has grown as a neutral deconsolidation facility.
“Operated by our own ‘CSS CFS management Group’, we have been able to bring in the same level of service we offer at our other CFS locations across the Middle East. This has resulted in faster turnarounds of LCL cargo, and value-driven savings for our customers.”
Based in the Sohar Free Zone, this facility is now sought-after by global businesses looking for solutions in storage and supply chain locally in Sohar and the greater Muscat region.
He states: “This facility was also designed to be the first step towards meeting our growth aspirations in the Sultanate of Oman. Consolidated Shipping Services LLC Oman is being set up to complement the operational excellence we have already brought into this market.
“This fully-fledged office offering our full suite of services will bring to the Sultanate the international network we are known for. We expect to be fully operational in the second half of 2016, shortly followed by the launch of another fully-fledged CSS-owned office in Qatar; with product offerings and services consistent with our brands across our other locations,” Kaladharan adds.
Not forgetting its well-reputed presence in the UAE - with the Northern Emirates and the Sharjah markets making up a large portion of Middle East logistics – the Company’s latest 3PL entity, CSS Kingston is the only licensed 3PL operator within the SAIF Zone.
He continues: “Our positioning within the SAIF Zone allows us to bring our world-class network not only to the Free Zone, but to the greater Sharjah and Northern Emirates market.”
“We never compromise”
Over the years with sheer effort, determination and drive from management, CSS Group has become one of the most dynamic shipping companies in the Middle East and benefits from the support of an extensive network of agents across the globe who trust the CSS name.
“We have an excellent relationship with all stakeholders of the Company and a wonderful working relationship with our clients; so much so that we believe that our business network is best among the shipping and logistics fraternity,” Kaladharan emphasises.
Guided by a strong desire to fulfil its vision and mission, which has so far yielded plenty of organic growth and presented the Group with lucrative expansion opportunities, CSS hopes that its Business Development strategy will continue making waves in the region.
“We have plans in place to equip ourselves to become fully established in new regions to handle major project movements and manage logistics for global events, like the FIFA World Cup in Qatar and the oil & gas opportunities opening up in Oman. Although these are just two examples of opportunities on the table at this moment, they represent the much wider remarkable economic progress that is coming to Qatar and Oman and CSS want to be a part of this growth,” he says.
The Chairman concludes: “Our latest projects and investments are beginning to take shape and bear fruit. Our ambition does not have a limit. We have passed many milestones and with the future in front of us, we have many more to cover.”