ECU Worldwide has set an ambitious target of becoming a ‘Two Billion Dollar Company’ by 2020, after achieving their ‘One Billion Dollar Company’ target earlier in 2015. The Asia Pacific region alone accounts for more than 35% of ECU Worldwide’s total profit and nearly 40% of their global volume. Because of this, ECU Worldwid e plans to expand and increase their competitiveness in this region, especially in high potential markets such as Thailand.
Mr. Uday Shetty, Regional CEO Asia Pacific of ECU Worldwide and Mr. Viraj Nobnomtham, Managing Director, ECU Worldwide (Thailand), recently shared with us their plans for growth for all branches under the ECU Worldwide umbrella.
ECU Worldwide has been operating in Asia Pacific (APAC) for over 29 years with a comprehensive network and a variety of services. APAC is a culturally rich region, with a strong trading tradition. ECU Worldwide saw such variety as a core strength, meaning they have an edge in geographical expertise, local trade knowledge and being able to reach out for more in-depth service needs. They also benefit from the majority of their staff being young and having high potential. Moreover, the freer movement of trade throughout ASEAN and the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement have boosted economic growth for the region.
“APAC is considered as a key driver for global trade, as most production hubs are within the region. Trade and consumption growth are also growing. We have five servicing hubs and a comprehensive network of alliances within APAC to serve and mobilize transportation to the whole world. The volume we move each year is massive and around 75% of that volume is transported via Intra-Asia routes.” Mr. Shetty said.
ECU Worldwide has a history of strong cargo volumes supported with a wide network of service coverage. On top of that, a proportionally percentage of their staff, nearly 65%, are in the sub-35 year’s old age range, which is seen as core to their strength.
“Most of our staff are experienced, professional and ready to grow with us. We have teams of veteran executives who bring world-class knowledge and experience, which meshes well with our younger staff that are eager to learn and makes ECU Worldwide ready, agile and flexible. We are prepared for every challenge caused by the dynamic of logistics industry. ECU Worldwide (Thailand), which has been growing organically over the last 17 years under the leadership of Mr. Viraj Nobnomtham, have always pushed for the development of the Thai team and have never hesitated to adopt innovations for better results. They have always exceeded our expectation.” Mr. Shetty said.
Being a company with a network of operations globally, ECU Worldwide have established a unique method to unite them all together to achieve their end goal. “In order to tighten regional operations, we organized branches in each regional country to develop their plans together in an attempt to achieve higher growth in sales,” Mr. Nobnomtham added. “For each year ECU Worldwide sets a theme to promote organization-wide cooperation. 2015-2016 was the ‘Year of Sales’ to push for Local, Regional and Global sales team development. The theme for 2017 is ‘ACT – Act Local, Connect Regional & Transform Global’, to promote national knowledge and proficiency to support and respond to the needs of foreign business clients both in the region and at global level that will be served by ECU Worldwide’s 300 offices in more than 160 countries.”
“Responding to the ‘ACT’ theme, we have organized Joint Sales Visits, connecting sales team from different countries to meet and increase their cooperation. Not only does the program put together the sales teams to meet and exchange their experiences, which helps to increase their confidence in co-working across the countries, moreover sales opportunities are achieved via contact exchanges. For instance, Japanese teams can recommend their customers who have never been in touch with the Thai team to us and vice-versa. Up until now, we have already welcomed the sales teams from Japan, Philippines, and the U.S. At the same time, our teams have had Joint Sales Visits in Vietnam, Taiwan and Singapore,” Mr. Nobnomtham said.
Beyond the effort of connecting their branches together, ECU Worldwide have been expanding their service coverage by expanding their service routes. Opening opportunities for import and export activities that are in line with business opportunities for both themselves and their clients. Earlier this year, ECU Worldwide introduced a new service route to Haiphong in Vietnam, and Kaohsiung in Taiwan. They are also developing a new service route connecting Asia and the U.S., a direct service to New York on the U.S. East Coast. This service will widen ECU Worldwide’s footprint in the U.S., where they have already been established on the West Coast via Los Angeles.
“ECU Worldwide (Thailand) have also expanded our direct services from Lat Krabang Inland Container Depot (ICD- Lat Krabang) to new destinations, including, Southampton in England, Manzanillo in Mexico, Haiphong in Vietnam and Chennai and Nhava Sheva in India. With these new services, ECU Worldwide (Thailand) is currently operating 15 direct services from the ICD- Lat Krabang alone. We are also considering the opportunity for importing cargo from neighboring countries, as we aim to become the Indochina Hub for LCL transportation in three years, by utilizing road networks from Myanmar and Cambodia to Bangkok Port and Laem Chabang Port as a gateway to destination countries. The main benefit to this is a reduction on the transit time from shipping via sea freight from Myanmar and Cambodia, which have to be transshipped at Singapore before arriving at their final destinations.” ECU Worldwide (Thailand)’s General Manager said.
New Products, New Challenges
ECU Worldwide have also invested in expanding FCL services after taking over European ‘FCL Marine’ in 2013 and ‘Econocaribe’, the third largest U.S. Freight Forwarders, in 2014. Such expansions have also increased the cooperation with their partner LCL ship liners, resulting in their FCL service being provided under a competitive pricing and space guarantee. A shift in FCL market share has been achieved as a result.
“During the last 3 years, ECU Worldwide (Thailand) have achieved over 20% growth in FCL volume, and we are concentrating more on FCL services. We have setup FCL sales team specifically to cooperate with the networks of sales teams from ECU Worldwide. In 2017, we established a regional policy to increase FCL sales with Chinese market specifically, as one of the major manufacturing hubs of the world. We are listing our potential customers to ship cargo to China, and opening a business opportunity for ECU’s Chinese Sales teams and further cooperating for sales activities,” Mr. Nobnomtham said.
ECU Worldwide is steadily getting closer to their 2020 ‘Two Billion Dollar Company’ target with their strong connections among regional offices and their new services that are being development. They have never ceased to continue developing and are always hungry to exceed their customers’ expectations.