AGC NEEDED A WAREHOUSE THAT COMBINES RUSSIAN AND EUROPEAN TRAFFIC
During the late 2000’s, Brussels-based AGC Glass was transporting glass all around Europe, with an eye for streamlining operations. Daniel Feron, Logistics Solutions & Distribution Manager for AGC, explains that the company was looking for a two-fold solution:
“We needed a solution that allows us not only to better serve our Finnish customers from Western Europe, but, also, to easily import glass from our production plant in Russia, near Moscow“, Feron says.
“In addition, we wanted to be able to possibly transfer glass from Western Europe to Russia and vice-versa through Finland, as it appeared to be the easiest and the most inexpensive solution in terms of logistics”, Feron adds.
To make this scenario work, AGC considered setting up a warehouse facility, but was not ready to invest in such a facility itself. AGC then decided to search for a local partner and discussed this with its shipping line, Finnlines, with whom AGC was transporting glass from Western Europe to Finland.
CARGO HANDLING WAS READY TO PLAY
AGC and Kouvola Cargo Handling came together for talks at the end of 2008 in Helsinki, and Daniel Feron remembers being impressed by the Kouvola Cargo Handling representatives.
“There was an excellent feeling of professionalism, combined with the entrepreneurship and dynamism of a small family business”, he looks back.
At the same time, Kouvola Cargo Handling was able to offer Customs Agents’ services, and could rely on its very close relationship with Oy TransPeltola Ltd to offer transport solutions inside Finland. What’s more, TransPeltola was ready to invest in the necessary glass transport equipment.
From the perspective of AGC, Kouvola’s location offered several intriguing selling points, as well. “The location of Kouvola was ideal for our business, as it was on the way from Russia by road and connected to the railway from Russia to Finland. In addition, it was not far from some Finnish ports and not far away from Helsinki where AGC has its office for Finland. Overall, Kouvola was well located to deliver to all our customers in Finland”, Feron runs down the list.
WAREHOUSE ON FAST TRACK
Already in January 2009, AGC and Kouvola Cargo Handling confirmed their mutual interest in developing warehousing activities together. The designs of the 5,000 square meter warehouse, to be built in Kouvola, Finland, were put together in just a few months.
Things continued to move fast. The construction of the building started in June 2009, as one of the conditions of AGC stipulated that the building had to be ready by end of 2009, and operational in January 2010. Kouvola Cargo Handling met the challenging schedule and the warehouse was ready for business in the end of December 2009.
“This was really an incredible performance. The management of the construction was really outstanding, and Kouvola Cargo Handling and their local contractor did an excellent job”, Feron credits the speedy construction.
TOP LEVEL RISK MANAGEMENT
With the facility completed, Kouvola Cargo Handling then undertook the demanding task of glass handling – a totally new activity for the Finnish company. To kick things off, AGC invited key Kouvola Cargo Handling operators to its factory in Belgium to be trained on the special characteristics of glass handling, and its risks.
“The learning curve was very fast. Very quickly, the Kouvola team became totally autonomous in conducting the operations”, Feron says.
The rest, as they say, is history. In 2021, the two companies have enjoyed more than a decade of solid collaboration. “With more than 11 year of operations, there is not a single day when AGC has not been totally satisfied with the services provided by Cargo handling Group”, Feron concludes.
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