Above and beyond
With a global network of 500 branches in more than 80 countries, and partnerships in a further 80, there are few places that do not fall under the remit of the Panalpina Group.
Offering a powerful combination of intercontinental air and ocean freight, as well as supply chain services and value added logistics, Panalpina solutions deliver every time.
Since it first began operating under its own name in 1954, Panalpina has continued to expand with a number of crucial acquisitions in the last few years. In particular, the recent acquisition of Grieg Logistics in Norway has helped to cement Panalpina’s position within the global oil and gas sector, a market which covers everywhere from Europe and Sub-Sahara Africa, to Russia and the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States).
Co-ordinating its high volume of local offices are Panalpina’s five major regional hubs, located in Aberdeen, Houston, Dubai, Rotterdam, and Singapore. Operating from the Aberdeen site, strategic development manager of oil and gas Mark Woodhouse elaborates on this side of the business: “My division works purely within the upstream aspect of oil and gas. We service our customers’ requirements by concentrating on managing the whole supply chain through an ‘end-to-end’ approach, as opposed to just putting cargo onto a ship or plane, such as distribution, customs clearance, and freight capacity management.
“We offer a complete third-party logistics (3PL) service for contractors bringing equipment into the UK and Europe through collection, line checking, re-packaging, and then shipping out according to their instructions.” In this respect Panalpina’s inventory management technology, which sees the company receive equipment, line check and log it, provides clients with the advantage of checking the status of their equipment at any time.
The company also undertakes more project-based contracts, which may have a full scope from original transportation to support. Although Mark’s activities are focused in upstream operations, elsewhere in the group is the German-based Panprojects division, which works in the downstream side of the business including the construction of refineries, LNG and petrochemical plants, and pipelines. As well as its comprehensive air and ocean freight services, Panalpina also maintains a substantial trucking division, which in its own right is seeing major growth in eastern European countries such as Poland, Bulgaria, and Romania.
Today, Panalpina is approaching 15 years of service in Cabinda in Angola, as well as a strong presence in other West African countries such as Ghana. However, as Mark highlights, much of its focus is now falling upon newly emerging markets such as East Africa: “There is a lot of activity and exploration going on in this region at the moment, and we are largely driven by our clients, such as major service companies, drilling contractors and operators, to service this area as well.
“One of the challenges we have identified in this market is that often the equipment that our clients want to send over, which is usually needed on an urgent basis, is too large to go in the available commercial aircrafts. At the same time the shipping line services are very sporadic, so we have had to step in with our alternative solutions to this. Just recently we have made the decision to start flying our own aircraft into the region on a regular basis, which at the moment is a unique service there,” he adds.
Air services have long been a staple part of Panalpina’s offering with the company celebrating 20 years of running a Boeing 747 service from Huntsville in Alabama to the UK, and onto its hub in Luxembourg. Therefore its intention to strengthen this arm of the business further comes as little surprise, with the announcement of a new contract for two leading-edge Boeing 747-8F craft to replace the current Boeing 700-400F’s. “The service between Huntsville and the UK has run three times a week for 20 years, so we will be looking to put one of the new aircraft onto this route. We are also now flying our own aircraft in Brazil due to a lack of capacity on the current commercial airlines,” says Mark.
As to the reasons behind Panalpina’s enduring success, even in more difficult trading times, Mark attributes this to the company’s in-depth understanding of its market: “We know our customers, their equipment, and what their requirements are for certain areas, therefore we can tailor make our service package to these. This flexibility means we can also quickly change this as new requirements come onboard. Whilst the last three years have been challenging, our close ties to our customers means that as they get busier so do we.”
Indeed the last six months have indicated a trend towards more positive market growth – a situation that Panalpina is acutely placed to take advantage of, whether by land, sea, or air. The challenges faced by the entire exploration and production value chain in securing new resources in ever more difficult locations means that reliable partners are ever more valuable in finding a solution to even the most fundamental requirement such as transportation. Simply put, Panalpina is geared up with the intention of achieving its company strategy of sustainable, profitable growth, by continuing to exploit its passion for turning ideas into operable solutions.
Panalpina World Transport Ltd
Services: Freight logistics