26 reasons,

Issue 4 2021 - Freight Business Journal

immediate online quotes, book shipments and then track them from the comfort of their own home or office: “Whenever moving a shipment by traditional airfreight became an issue, our courier options became the next best solution.” Moreover, demand for

this type of service has been increasing


Last year - 2020 - was a very difficult year for Thomas Smith Shipping for a variety of

director, Denis Galea. “The reduction in both airline and container liner schedules as well as unexpected last- minute changes to flights and congestions in several ports, were amongst

the toughest

challenges we had to face in recent years,” he explains. However, Thomas Smith’s

excellent reputation in offering a one stop shop complete logistics

service meant that

these challenges also generated a good number of opportunities, he adds: “Our highly trained and experienced logistics teams were able to offer a range of multimodal solutions to our customers. Moving cargo from the Far East into the main European hubs by air and then on to Malta by express road attracted new business to our shipping divisions. The fact that our teams are trained and equipped with the latest

says managing

technology to track and trace cargo on a 24/7 basis ensured that we could take timely action to tackle unexpected delays and keep our clients’ mind at rest that their cargo was in good hands at all times.” The pandemic caused major

disruption to container liner schedules with port congestion and equipment shortages being experienced even now. Maersk Line, which Thomas Smith represents in Malta was obviously not immune to this worldwide situation. However: “In line with Maersk’s ambition to

offer complete logistic

solutions to its customers through extensive investment in specialised digitalisation and process automation, Thomas Smith is well positioned to offer innovative opportunities ensuring we remain at the top of our game,” Denis Galea explains. Meanwhile, the huge

increase in container freight rates from the Far East into the Mediterranean has seen

New DC brings fashion brands closer to Africa

Maltese fashion and sportswear retailer and distributor Hudson Group has opened a €3.5 million distribution centre at the island’s Hal Far duty free zone. The company, which also has offices in Italy, Spain, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria, said the move would bolster its presence in Africa.

It added that the investment

was financed in part from the proceeds of a bond issue in 2018. The distribution centre

handles products from Asia and Europe for shipping to over 20 countries in Africa via nearby Malta Freeport. The distribution centre offers a total area of 5,000sq m including

a number of importers look for new suppliers for their products and raw materials in countries such as Turkey or Spain. While Thomas Smith still offers its clients a regular groupage service from the Far East, it has also focused efforts on strengthening its European groupage service by ensuring timely and competitive cargo pick up rates within its network of countries, for on forwarding into its Milan consolidation facility. Due to the long delays,

especially shipments moving by sea from the Far East into mainland Europe, there has been an increase in requests for containerised cargo to be offloaded at Malta Freeport Terminals and redirected to other European destinations via express road or air services. Thomas Smith has been instrumental in ensuring that a number of customers based in North Europe managed to meet their contractual delivery deadlines. It also ventured into

the aircraft charter market supported by some of the best international charter brokers. Demand for dedicated

trucks for urgent point to point shipments across Europe has also been increasing. These are aimed at sensitive cargo needing ad hoc solutions and special handling. Due to the disruption to traditional cargo transport services, being able to offer such solutions was at times the only solution for clients who were experiencing critical issues with delays in production lines or empty shelves in their outlets. And, as Galea says: “Once again, the challenges brought about by the pandemic also opened opportunities to offer this service to new clients.” Thomas Smith also saw a

significant increase in its courier business over the past year and has been actively promoting its online courier booking system. Galea says this has proved to be widely popular with customers using the facility to receive

“With the

lockdown controls enforced in many countries over the past year, there has been an increase in demand for online shopping. We have been proactive in the past few months by gearing up our local import operation including our last mile delivery service. This is serving well for us to be able to take on contracts for incoming clearance and delivery of e-commerce related business.” The UK remains an important

trading partner for Malta and, as expected, Brexit did bring about a slowdown in cargo transport in the first few weeks of 2021, especially cargo moving into Europe from the UK by road. Nevertheless: “We have however overcome most obstacles and the process has now improved significantly. There has been a slight decrease in demand for bookings out of the UK as some Maltese importers have found it more feasible to order their products from suppliers based in the EU as opposed to the UK, avoiding the increase in costs

3,300sq m of storage, sorting and service zones, tripling Hudson’s previous storage capacity and with dedicated areas for specific aspects of the distribution process in order to handle more products and brands. Supply chain and data

manager director, George Amato, explained: “This new distribution centre not only provides a modern work environment for its employees, but

also increases


and documentation.” Products purchased online

from UK exporters now require customs clearance into Malta, with any VAT and duties applicable needing to be paid upon arrival. Thomas Smith is continuing to gear up its customs clearance and last mile delivery operations with the latest technology and resources. But amid the pandemic in

the second half of 2020, Malta continued to host the shooting of a number of film and TV productions. The Thomas Smith film logistics division has been very busy handling shipping movements for block buster and TV series productions such as Jurassic World, Terminus Foundation and Das Boot 3, to mention a few. The company remains the number one logistics provider for local production management teams and preferred partner for international film logistics companies, says Galea. Its

projects division also

handled a number of complex shipping movements for the oil and gas and healthcare industries and continues to increase our portfolio of clients in these industries. Galea concludes: “So, despite

the abnormal challenges, Thomas Smith has remained successful in securing new, interesting business thanks to its

management team.”

and ability to turn over more products. This consequently will have a positive impact on the company’s business with the capacity to generate more turnover whilst bringing in cost efficiencies, hence serving to future proof our business.” The warehouse currently

our operation’s overall efficiency

handles brands including Nike and Converse but also puts the company in a good position to welcome new brands and service more clients within Africa.

proactive and agile



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