Member Interview: Global Freight Logistics Ltd, UK

At IFN, we endeavour to keep in regular contact with our members to better understand the industry and its challenges. With that in mind, we interviewed Richard Pankhurst, Managing Director at Global Freight Logistics Ltd, UK.

How did you start out in Freight Forwarding? 

"I got into the Freight Forwarding Industry back in 1993, working at Tilbury Port in East London as a Saturday filing clerk for a large independent forwarder. I was in my final year of college as I studied for my Business and Economics degree. On completion of college I was offered a full time Monday to Friday position in their customs clearance department. 

The shipping industry fascinated me having lived and grown up just a few miles from the Port. I worked my way through the departments learning all aspects of the industry, changing jobs and companies several times before moving to Hellmann International and moving into the Sales and Business Development side. I spent 10 years in Business Development, getting to work in - and travel across - Asia. In 2008, I became UK Commercial Director of Freight Care Logistics. In 2011, I decided that the time was right to start my own company. I have been fortunate enough to have a great team of people work alongside me and help me grow GFL into the strong, independent, customer-friendly company it is today."

Can you give us your thoughts on the logistics industry today and how things have changed due to the Pandemic? 

"The Pandemic has hit our industry hard, no matter if you are a big multinational or a small independent, you have seen some big changes in your day to day operation. Fortunately for me and my team we have the capabilities to be able to work remotely; we can access all of our systems and files through our cloud-based system and our clients have not seen too much change to what we can offer. The biggest challenges we have faced is the change in the vessel rotations and being able to get the space we need when we need it. Luckily, all our clients are understanding of the situation, and communication is key.

One positive is that lockdown has given me the chance to step away from the day to day operations and take stock of where we are and what we need to do move forward. I have taken the opportunity to talk openly to my overseas partners and UK clients, to better understand their needs and requirements, which I usually do not get time to do."

How relevant is networking in today’s forwarding industry?

"This is where I am finding that our network partners can play a crucial role for us. It makes our life much easier to be able to contact our network partners to get an update from them about what is really happening in their local market, and we can rely on them to tell us what is happening in terms of vessel space, availability and amended sailing schedules. 

Without a good strong reliable network like IFN it would be extremely hard for us get all the information we need to report back to our clients. At this time, more then ever, we as independent freight forwarders need to work together to support the global supply chain."

Global Freight Logistics work with a number of leading carriers and international service providers, offering competitive rates for import and export cargoes by Sea, Air, Road, Rail, including cross-border European distribution, Customs brokerage, Warehousing and Project Out of Gauge shipments.

They provide a global transport service that is reliable, fast, efficient and cost effective to meet delivery deadlines. Global Freight Logistics takes this responsibility seriously and is dedicated to meet these needs.

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