Moving project cargo is one of the most challenging tasks in logistics; after all, each project is a complicated and lengthy process that involves moving lots of parts – some small and some very, very large. Therefore, a successful project forwarder or logistics provider needs to have, above all, a high level of skill and experience in the industry – though strong networks and significant resources certainly help as well.
The project cargo sector also happens to be one of Thailand’s most promising niches. Thanks to the high skill level of Thai workers, there is great demand for fabrication in Thailand. Of course, this means there’s also a lot of demand for project cargo to be exported out of Thailand. Australia is currently one of the hottest destinations for project cargo from Thailand.
Last year, we had the opportunity to profile one of Thailand’s fastest-growing players in the booming project cargo niche: NMT Global Projects. When we last spoke, the folks at NMT were just gearing up for bigger and better things. One year later, we’ve now gotten the chance to catch up with Mr. Colin R. Ward, Thailand Manager, NMT International (Thailand) Co., Ltd. to talk about the company’s new office and expansion plans.
Onward and Upward
The past year was an absolutely fantastic one for NMT. With the business growing quickly, the company is expanding its range of services, so it makes sense that they would upgrade to a bigger and better office as well. Therefore, NMT has just recently moved their office in Laem Chabang to a new location that better accommodates their customers and their employees.
Mr. Ward comments, “We just finished our second financial year in Thailand, and we’ve had steady growth since last year. We had expanded progressively over the course of the last year, so we decided to relocate because we knew we were going to expand further. Now we have double the space of our old office, so we have a lot of room to grow. We selected a bigger office with better surroundings, easier car parking and a location with easier access. We want to make sure that our customers feel comfortable about walking through the door. The new location is in between Laem Chabang Port and Satthahip Port, which is convenient because we do business at both ports. In fact, we are currently highly involved in projects at Satthahip as well as Maptaphut, so we also opened a second office at Satthahip Port which provides full operations.”
The main office’s new location benefits more than its customers – the company selected this location with its employees in mind, as well. “The office here really serves its purpose. Designing and fitting it out took a bit of work, but this office has got a much better environment for the staff. It fits with NMT’s ‘family business’ philosophy. We want everyone to be a part of the family, which is why we made sure this office has a friendlier, more relaxed feel,” say Mr. Ward.
NMT places a priority on taking care of its employees because the company understands what knowledgeable, service-minded staff can bring to the table. The team, along with the customer service they provide, help NMT stand out from its competitors and make a real difference to its customers. “Our staff really make a difference for us. That’s why we have a very thorough process for selecting new employees. Not only do they have to pass all of the tests in terms of job skills and experience and be vetted by the head office in Australia, but they also have to be accepted by the other staff here. They have to fit in and feel comfortable with us. As we’ve grown, we’ve taken on quite a few new staff, and luckily they seem to fit into the fold of our family. Our people are willing to step up to the plate when the situation calls for it. I never have to ask them to go above and beyond to serve customers and finish their assignments – it just happens automatically,” Mr. Ward explains.
When all of the teams at NMT offices around the world have the same dedication to customer service, that makes it easier to collaborate on a global level – something that’s particularly necessary in project cargo. Mr. Ward says, “We work as a team. All of our business development is done together – it’s important that we share information, because each local office has their specific areas of expert knowledge and experience. For instance, if Perth received an inquiry for a Thailand-based project, it would be handled by the Thailand office, because we know the local regulations and documentation better than anyone else. And if we received an inquiry here in Thailand for a China-based project, the China team would be more in-the-know about how to handle road transport and export documentation. We all work together.”
Making sure they have the best people for the job is just one way that NMT ensures customer satisfaction. Another key step is upgrading their IT systems. NMT has trained its team to use a newly implemented logistics management software, which will bring the company’s supply chain management to a whole new level of efficiency. This comes in addition to the paperless e-customs system that NMT has already implemented.
And in order to provide the most comprehensive services and reach for customers, NMT is expanding their range of services and their networks. As Mr. Ward explains, “Here in Thailand, we are trying to diversify into other fields. At Satthahip Port, we have a joint venture with the navy for 9000 sqm of land. We decided to invest in that land by introducing filtration pits, drains, wash down areas, opening gates, etc. This was to attract aqueous cargo that needs to be kept in a secure storage area. It’s been doing reasonably well and attracted quite a bit of interest. Another area we’ve expanded into is chemicals. We’ve got our licenses, so we can handle and store chemicals for cleaning purposes, and we’re now allowed to do bombing fumigation of containers.”
“And with Southeast Asia developing quickly, we are looking to expand our networks in the region. We’ve already started talks with a potential joint venture partner in Myanmar. The Philippines is interesting as well, because there will be a lot of mines coming up in the near future. NMT is also looking closely at Vietnam, which is attracting a lot of big manufacturers and fabricators. But for now, Thailand is still much more user-friendly for fabrication. There are a lot more qualified welders here, and it’s easier to export out of Thailand than out of Vietnam. Thailand is still one of the best places for us to do business. We’ve done very well here, and we believe the future holds room for even more growth. NMT will continue to invest in Thailand, invest in our staff, and invest in serving our customers.”