Logistics Company on Nation-Building (Part Two)
By Marcelle P. Villegas
“At the moment, the company is focusing on the infrastructure such as train projects, water projects, bridge & road projects, and airport projects as this is what there is a lot of right now. As an example, for airport projects, we delivered the passenger loading bridges for the Cebu airport and for the Iloilo airport. For water Projects, we have moved the TBM’s (tunnel boring machines for Ipo Dam Project and the Novabala Project). For bridge and road projects, we did transport girders for Sabang Bridge in Star Toll Way Batangas, we shipped and transported casings for the Cebu-Cordova Link Bridge Project, and we are also transporting girders for the San Miguel Skyway Extension Project in Balintawak and Alabang Sections.” - Fernando de Achaval, Vice President of Antrak Philippines Transport Solutions Corporation.
On our previous issue, we interviewed Mr Fernando de Achaval and he shared how Antrak Philippines Transport Solutions Corporation (APTSC) started as a company, their challenges and successful milestones through the years.
Antrak is partly owned by Antrak Australia (Antrak Logistics Perth) with local shareholders. Antrak Australia is 100% owned by Bolloré.
Antrak Logistics Philippines has three ISO Certifications, namely: ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management Systems, ISO 14001:2015 Environmental Management Systems, and OHSAS 18001:2007 Occupational Health and Safety Management Certification.
Antrak Logistics Philippines has participated in some of the more successful mining operations, power plants and infrastructure projects in the Philippines by doing it best to provide professional and reliable logistics services.
Mr Fernando de Achaval further discussed the challenges and setbacks of running a logistics company. He is the Vice President of APTSC and is one of its co-founders of Antrak Logistics Philippines in 2013.
We asked him how Antrak Logistics’ projects are affected by the various problems of the Philippine mining industry. He said, “Some of the problems are about the operations. In the Philippines, there are a lot of challenges. The lack of infrastructure is a challenge.”
“One of the big challenges we had in the recent past is the undeclared container congestion. There were lots of containers at the port and in the container yard in storage.
This made returning empty containers a challenge. Trucks returning empties were being turned away at various container yards as the yard was always full and they were no acknowledgement or proof that they tried to return empties. Shipping lines would then continue to charge detention charges until they were returned.”
“Loaded containers pulled out in Manila were also being diverted for empty return to as far away from Subic. Additional cost was to be borne by the consignee or the logistics provider.
“With all this happening, there was no official notice of the issue from the ports, from the shipping lines or the government. This made it really difficult for us, logistics provider, to explain this to the client and to get them to pay for this.”
“All of these above caused a lack of available trucks. Many trucks couldn’t take additional jobs until they were able to return the empty containers. In effect, the truckers had a loss of opportunity. Then for us as a logistics provider, providing the on-time service became a challenge too as there would be limited trucks available.”
“Infrastructure needs to be improved or this problem will periodically occur”.
“Now for some good news, on customs clearance, there has been some improvement.” Mr. Achaval had noted that in the past, customs clearing was all manual. Customs started computerization. Customs is moving to a no-contact policy. Entries are filed electronically. Duties and taxes are paid electronically from the customers bank account directly to customs bank account.
“Back before this computerization, we as a logistics provider would, many times, be asked by clients to advance their duties and taxes. As a logistics provider, you had to do it because that is what the competitors were doing. This computerization and online payment system helped us, logistics providers, in the fact that now we could not advance this anymore.”
As the company’s business is growing further, what were the other challenges they encountered? “The other challenges are the normal things in growing businesses. This is the headache of finding good talented people.”
“This Project Logistics Industry of Antrak Logistics is in is a highly specialized type of logistics business. It is hard to find people who have the knowledge for this kind of job because there are only a few companies or people that do Project Logistics. We are not the regular freight forwarder. We deal with the big stuff, the abnormal-sized and heavy loads. We work and deliver to remote places. And everything is urgent.”
“Our service has to be at a higher level as any delay in a project can cost in the millions. Remember we are dealing with capital goods wherein any construction delay means that the whole project is delayed. And that is the pressure that we are under as project logistics providers.’
On a final note, he stated, “Despite the job not being easy, I am happy with what I do. I get a sense of pride in what I do as part of Antrak Logistics as we do help the country’s economic development and improve quality of life with every power plant, bridge, processing plant, and water project, that we provide logistics for. Sometimes I may pass a bridge, or a powerplant or something else we worked on and I think to myself with pride that we helped do that.”
For more information about Antrak Philippines Transport Solutions Corporation, please visit their website at https://www.antrak.com.ph/.
Thank you to Mr. Fernando de Achaval and everyone in Antrak Philippines Transport Solutions Corp. for making this interview possible.