Mr. Chandana Ambrose, Head of UK and European Business Development for HTL Logistics Group, was interviewed by Apollo for their Inside Apollo interview series.
In the interview he discussed about his passion for freight forwarding after almost 30 years in the industry and the current situation with air and sea freight rates.
Read the interview below!
How did you get started in the logistics industry and what has your journey been like so far?
Since leaving school, I always wanted to be in a transport industry minus flying of a plane, driving a truck or piloting a ship. I was not aware that an industry of freight forwarders existed, until I joined Fritz Companies Inc. in Sri Lanka when I was just 18. I had a great boss that put me through the mill of airport and sea port operations. This was fabulous in so many ways as most of you reading this will know how important it is to know your job from the grass roots level.
A couple of years later, I joined UTI (Union Transport Inc.) for which I was positioned in Bangladesh as head of operations. This eventually led me to join the HTL Group as Country Manager. It’s been 23 years with HTL and now I’m based in the UK as head of EU development for the HTL Group. Needless to say, the journey has been very exciting with many ups and downs, but there is no greater industry than what we are in now. I am biased, but surely you will all agree.
If there is one thing that you could change to the logistics industry, what would it be and why?
I think the main thing is stabilizing rates. Air and sea rates are all over the place and I think we need some international body to regulate rates like we used to have back in the 80’s and 90’s. Today’s rates are like the weather. Changing ever so rapidly and creating havoc to us and the global economy. Regulation and stabilization is the one I thing I would want to change.
What do you like most about the industry and your job in particular?
Our industry is never boring and the problems are always unique. The beauty is that we always find solutions one way or another. I have been in logistics for 29 years and it still intrigues me as much as it did when I started off as a ‘student’ in this great world of freight.
How do you set yourself apart from your competitors?
Our stronghold is the Indian subcontinent. We own and operate our offices in ALL major cities and towns in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The company is family-owned and has been in the region for nearly 45 years. We bring a personalized service, one stop shop for communications, rates, accounting and admin for all our customers and global partners. You deal with one entity rather than several. I’m based in the UK and support all our EU partners on a ‘one to one basis’ and in a EU time zone, which helps greatly to be ‘just in time’. This is our key edge over others… Communication and strength.
What do you like the most about being a member of our logistics network?
A logistics network in one form is similar to a club. You meet some great people from all walks of life. Logistics is a peoples business. As such, networking and meeting people, sharing your experience, know-how and strengths can open many doors. The world is a very small place…
How do you relax in your free time?
Forwarders don’t usually relax, do we? Even when we are on vacation, we will try to sneak view a few emails and/or a few calls from office to make sure all is smooth and going well. If all is good, which rarely happens, this is when you truly relax.
Thank you, Chandana!