Sas­fin Pre­mier Lo­gis­tics

Finweek English Edition - - CORPORATE PROFILE -

Alogistics com­pany that’s clearly moved into the fast lane is Sas­fin Pre­mier Lo­gis­tics. Com­mer­cially fo­cused, it grew sig­nif­i­cantly last year and is ag­gres­sively di­ver­si­fy­ing the na­ture and range of its ser­vices, and is look­ing to ex­pand into Africa. A ma­jor driver of these de­vel­op­ments is a dy­namic team of more than 150 people headed by CEO Peter Ehren­re­ich, who has added enor­mous value to the com­pany. Born in 1965 in Aarhus, Den­mark, Ehren­re­ich j oined t he AP MøllerMaersk Ship­ping Group in Copen­hagen at the age of 18.

Ehren­re­ich was ini­tially trained at the group’s head of­fice in Copen­hagen and as he moved up the ranks, was posted to var­i­ous re­gional of­fices in USA, Ja­pan, Sin­ga­pore (twice), the Nether­lands, Bel­gium and South Africa. He also en­gaged gg ex­ten­sively in China, In­done­sia, Malaysia, South Korea, Ja­pan, apan, Tai­wan, Viet­nam, Thai­land, the Philip­pines, Aus­tralia, Cam­bo­dia, , In­dia and other emerg­ing mar­kets dur­ing ring his 11-year ten­ure in Asia.

In 2003 he was ap­pointed ppointed Head of Saf­ma­rine for Asia. Orig­i­nally a South African com­pany, Saf­ma­rine e had be­come a Maersk sub­sidib­sidiary. In 2008 he re­turned urned to Jo­han­nes­burg, where he started his own lo­gis­tics com­pany with a branch ranch i n Cape Town. In late 2011 011 he was asked to join Pre­mier Freight as MD.

Pre­mier Freight’s main fo­cus was al­ways books, mag­a­zines and other im­ports. Sig­nif­i­cantly, ig­nif­i­cantly, Ehren­re­ich trav­els ex­ten­sively xten­sively to var­i­ous book fairs across ross the globe to meet with pub­lish­ers hers and part­ner­ing freight for­warders arders on the other side. “This is a dif­fi­cult niche mar­ket, which has to o be care­fully man­aged and not least be­cause it’s be­ing at­tacked by the tablets.”

Hol­lard was Pre­mier Freight’s orig­i­nal ma­jor­ity share­holder and 18 years ago the con­trol­ling in­ter­est was ac­quired by Sas­fin, which owns 100% since March 2013. This de­vel­op­ment re­sulted in the re­cent chang­ing of the name from Pre­mier Freight to Sas­fin Pre­mier Lo­gis­tics Saf­ma­rine and Ehren­re­ich was pro­moted to CEO.

The com­pany is head­quar­tered on the East Rand and has branches in Cape Town, Dur­ban and Port El­iz­a­beth. Un­der Ehren­re­ich, the de­ci­sion-mak­ing process has been largely f lat­tened and many func­tions have been cen­tralised with the use of cut­ting edge tech­nol­ogy.

“In the past, for in­stance, deal­ing with Sars at branch level re­quired enor­mous pa­per­work. To­day, we can do all the cus­tomer clear­ing g and fram­ing of en­tries in Jo­han­nes­burg via EDI [elec­tronic data ex­change] ex­change]. This has made a con­sid­er­able dif­fer­ence to op­er­at­ing mar­gins – and most im­por­tantly we sp sped up our ser­vice to our cli clients,” he says.

“We have in­tro­duced th the lat­est tech­nol­ogy to ru run our busi­ness on one IT plat­form and we’ve just m moved to new premises in P Pomona near OR Tambo Ai Air­port. It com­prises beau­ti­ful of­fices and a brand new ware ware­house too, and we are ex­cite ex­cited to be sell­ing all kind of ware ware­hous­ing ser­vices as well.”

L Look­ing ahead, Ehren­re­ich is set on Sas­fin Lo­gis­tics bein be­ing the pre­ferred lo­gis­tics prov provider in the coun­try in the next f ive years, which impl im­plic­itly means di­ver­si­fy­ing the com­pany c into other lo­gis­tics ac­tiv­i­ties and com­pet­ing head to head with its ri­vals.

“So in tak­ing it to the next level, we are look­ing to both or­ganic and ac­quis­i­tive growth. Much of it is pred­i­cated on our re­la­tion­ship with Sas­fin with its ex­cel­lent bal­ance sheet and its wide range of en­trepreneuri­ally-driven ac­tiv­i­ties. Sas­fin wants us to grow and if we’re able to get it right, the sky is the limit.

“When we all solely fo­cus on ser­vic­ing our clients and truly be­come a ‘Part­ner Be­yond Ex­pec­ta­tions’ we are con­vinced our busi­ness will grow from strength to strength as per our strat­egy.”

Ehren­re­ich says that he’d like the busi­ness to be 40% ex­port driven and 60% im­port driven. “We’d like to get a lot more into land trans­port, es­pe­cially be­tween Gaut­eng and the neigh­bour­ing coun­tries. We’re look­ing at how to pen­e­trate the wider African mar­ket as well.”

A huge ad­van­tage is also the global freight for­warder net­work in Hecny that Sas­fin Pre­mier Lo­gis­tics has ac­cess to. The joint ven­ture Hecny Trans­porta­tion SA works in­ten­sively with the other 170 Hecny of­fices world­wide and will pro­cure very com­pet­i­tive ocean – and air freight pric­ing to its cus­tomers. “With the Hecny af­fil­i­a­tion we are a lo­cal com­pany with a global reach through one very pow­er­ful part­ner only,” says Ehren­re­ich.

He be­lieves that Sas­fin Pre­mier Lo­gis­tics’ main ad­van­tages are its ex­cel­lent re­la­tion­ship with medium to large com­pa­nies; its abil­ity to of­fer ‘start-to-fin­ish’ so­lu­tions that other lo­gis­tics com­pa­nies can’t of­fer with its one-stop trade fi­nance, forex and other ser­vices via Sas­fin Bank. “When you in­ter­act with us you will re­alise that we can han­dle all the lo­gis­tics – and we can do a lot more due to the ser­vices ren­dered by our share­holder, so we can also dis­cuss trade fi­nance, forex, con­sul­tancy ser­vices, in­sur­ance, med­i­cal aid, busi­ness bank­ing and wealth man­age­ment. No other lo­gis­tics com­pany has this much to of­fer in-house.”

Ehren­re­ich fur­ther adds: “Come check us out – we are ready to work with you!”

Peter Ehren­re­ich

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