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Decentralised operations – From Dubai and Hamburg

A company’s market positioning has to move with the times. Compass Logistics International lives up to this principle, both in the professional as well as the regional context. Its joint CEOs Abdul Sameer Mohamed and Michael Müller spoke to Christian Doepgen and Antje Veregge about the firm’s range of services and international strategy.

 

A young tree can grow deep roots too. Compass Logistics International (CLI) is one, anchored by two strong bedrocks. Two companies came together under the umbrella of a holding in Dubai and Bremen in 2013. They share their professional expertise and regions, and have consolidated their joint position with a number of selective acquisitions.

«In the beginning we saw the necessity of re-organising the enterprise,» is how Michael Müller describes the starting point. The Kieserling Group, which was founded in Hamm (Germany) in 1927 and which has grown organically over the years to its current size (900 employees), forms the core of the group. In the meantime it has left the concept of being a pure container transporter far behind.

 «We orient our activities more towards logistics these days,» Müller explains, pointing to specialisations in contract logistics, hazardous goods, distribution and project cargo options in Europe and Canada, amongst many other services and places. Compass Ocean Logistics, CLI’s global arm, is based on an entity founded by the Indian national Abdul Sameer Mohamed in Saudi Arabia. Besides its activities in the Middle East it has built a strong reputation on every continent over the past 15 years. The approach of identifying niche markets has borne fruit here too. Mohamed is proud that the firm «has a good name in the hazardous goods segment in the Middle East.»

A nuptial and purchases
The partners do not bank on purely organ ic growth, however. Early in 2014 they acquired the Hamburg-based air and sea freight forwarder and Iata agency A. Hegeler, which broadened the range of services the holding offers. In summer 2014 the entity strengthened its contract logistics position by taking over the operations of the K + P Group, which doubled the number of its locations in Germany to ten. This brought substantial warehousing options into the portfolio, as well as customers from the chemical, trade and medical supply industries. The two joint chief executive officers admitted that the integration of all these new companies takes time. «Besides ensuring the further internationalisation of our activities we are simultaneously also continuing to advance core segments of our business, such as our software development activities,» Müller elaborates. This is why CLI has established its own IT subsidiary in Bangalore (India). The partners have not released detailed figures on this field of activities, simply stating that its overall investment in the IT sector – a key element of successful contract logistics services, after all – has been «substantial».

Apropos of contract logistics: CLI is planning to expand the total area covered by its logistics centres in Bremen by 33,000 to 100,000 sqm by October this year. CLI has served various customers from the fields of textiles, furniture, plant engineering and construction and fast- moving consumer goods for some time already, and has recently also added new clients from the trade and medical technology sectors. It has also invested in another 50,000 sqm of logistics facilities in Germersheim, for automobile industry clients, amongst others.

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