The last year has seen a surge in the costs of container shipping and that has prompted a great deal of creative thinking in the global trading community. No more so than at Hungarian forklift dealers Targonca Trade - a family firm specialising in the Chinese brand Heli. Long used to transporting the industrial vehicles in containers but facing long waits and rising costs, they decided to try a roll-on/roll-off (RoRo) solution. It was a bold move and one that has paid off.
We caught up with Pákey Bence, Foreign Trade Manager at Targonca Trade 2000 Ltd. to find out why he turned to SeaRates when looking for the best RoRo service.
Tell us a bit about the company
Our company started back in 1994. At that time, it was only repairing forklifts. And then it started expanding, first selling forklifts from Japan. Then, in 2006 we reached out to the Chinese brand Heli, the largest maker in China and the seventh-largest in the world. I joined Targonca Trade in 2017. In that year, we sold 180 forklifts. But last year we sold 550, so we are growing really well, I'm glad to say.
In the Hungarian market, now, more than 10% of new units being sold are our products, so yes, for a family business, I think we are in a really good position.
How did you come to use SeaRates?
I started using it to track our container shipments at first, because I was not able to locate them, but with SeaRates it was easy.
So roughly, we have about 30 containers a year. That's not much compared to bigger companies, but we are only a family business. And it is really important for us to tell our customers, when they are going to receive their products. Using SeaRates.com, I can see our containers so I can track them online 24/7, right through the year. And it is easier to tell the customers that our shipment is going to be late in one week or two weeks because the site is always up to date. And if necessary, we can offer them forklifts for rent until they receive their new vehicles from China.
What prompted you to look at RoRo?
I just started looking for alternative solutions because of the high transportation prices with containers. I started talking with SeaRates and they gave me a really good price for this RoRo transportation. Then I thought: why not try this out? We took the risk, if I can put it like that, because nobody in our business had transported forklifts like this before. And luckily, it was successful. Our first shipment arrived in July, and everything was alright and on time.
What have been the main advantages?
The main advantage is that before if I was going to use a container for our goods, I'd have to wait about one or two months just to get the container. Then one or two weeks more to wait for space on the ship to ship the goods. If we are using RoRo services, there are even moments when the waiting time is as little as a week before the shipment sails out. It's a really huge advantage for us.
The other advantage is cost. It is about half that of container shipping at the moment. We can offer our forklifts at a great price for our customers. And this is extremely important in Eastern Europe, because all the companies are really price sensitive. With SeaRates it is easier to sell our forklifts because we can really compete on price.
What were the risks of using RoRo?
The risk for me was that I didn't have any experience, neither did our company with RoRo. I didn't know if there was going to be hidden expenses, more money to be paid after the shipment or something like that. Maybe the goods might get damaged in transit. But there was no problem in the end.
Why did you choose SeaRates over competitors?
I asked for quotes at other companies, but their prices were higher. There was one company who was cheaper but only by about $100 but the service was poor. And they told me I had to wait at least one or one and a half months. When I wrote to my contact at SeaRates, she replied immediately. I didn't have to wait for days to get a reply. And everything went fast and was very efficient. So that's why I'm sticking with SeaRates. And I'm recommending them to all our partners too.
For more information on how SeaRates can help your business expand into new territories, keep costs down and increase customer satisfaction, contact us today!