"Leschaco opened its second location in Vietnam, with our recently inaugurated Hanoi office. In Malaysia, we are building a 120,000 sft dangerous goods warehouse and logistics & supply chain facility, catering mostly to the chemical industry."
Could you give us a brief overview of Leschaco’s presence in Asia?
Leschaco International has a footprint in 22 global markets; out of these, 9 are in Asia. We are present in mainland China and Hong Kong, as well as Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, South Korea, and Singapore. Leschaco came to Asia almost 30 years ago and today we employ over 1,200 people across the continent. In a recent development, Leschaco opened its second location in Vietnam, with our recently inaugurated Hanoi office. In Malaysia, we are building a 120,000 sft dangerous goods warehouse and logistics & supply chain facility, catering mostly to the chemical industry. Leschaco’s re-organization in three key regions (Europe, the Americas, and APAC) has helped us not only be closer to our customers but also to transfer our values and know-how with more precision at a local level.
What is Leschaco’s service offering in APAC?
In Asia Pacific, Leschaco offers the full services range, from freight forwarding, ocean and air freight, customs clearance, rail transportation, contract logistics, and tank container operations. Our growth strategy in APAC is two-fold: on the one hand, we are focusing on traditional emerging countries, like China, India, or Vietnam, which are very dynamic. On the other hand, we explore opportunities in untapped markets like Myanmar and Cambodia.
How do you observe demand trends since the pandemic?
At Leschaco, we set up a global crisis group at the end of January 2020, keeping our customers permanently informed of potential challenges and obstacles, and responding quickly with adequate solutions. We all landed in this “new normal” unprepared, but thanks to existing digital infrastructure, we could overcome the challenges of setting home offices and routinize new ways of work, and I can say that until today we have mastered these challenges very well.
The company’s overall performance was positive through the pandemic, though we have seen sudden imbalances in supply and demand, especially in the ocean freight markets, which have been very stressed in the latter part of 2020. Capacity shortages are expected to continue in the coming months. Looking forward, Leschaco has set up a working group to forecast demand and pass these insights on to our customers and carriers.
What are the latest innovations at Leschaco?
Two years ago, Leschaco opened a web-based 4PL (four party logistics) cloud platform and Control Tower called Logward, which includes sophisticated supply chain optimization tools. Today, Leschaco benefits from integrated, standardized operating systems across our product segments, from ocean and air freight, to tank container, as well as in finance and IT. We have implemented process automation that helps eliminate monotonous, unnecessary work without hindering the quality of our service. Finally, our global and regional competence centers for dangerous goods management are highly digitalized, ensuring utmost safety standards and complaint cargo handling. The recently opened competence center in Thailand will serve as a base for our customers around the world and around the clock.
How are logistics companies like Leschaco aligning with the sustainability drive seen in the chemicals sector?
Sustainability is a central focus at Leschaco. We work with all parties across the value chain to support the undertakings of our suppliers and customers, be these a net-zero emissions policy or a target to reduce carbon footprint against a given benchmark. The biggest trend for logistics suppliers is to approach renewable energy sources. Major ocean carriers experiment with new energy, such as hydrogen, solar, or wind power, to curb greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. Leschaco keeps abreast of all technological developments and is participating in initiatives to lead to accountable results for our customers. In addition to the commitments to our customers’ sustainability agenda, Leschaco is also internally measuring its sustainability approach in line with international standards, and it has become the company’s mindset to be consciously part of sustainable practices, for the better good of the environment.
What is your final message for your stakeholders?
A clear focus for Leschaco is to embrace the opportunities in Asia’s emerging markets. The chemical industry is a mainstay of our business, and we will continue to increase our expert knowledge in specialist operations, like transporting hazardous cargo or managing a global tank container fleet in excess of 5,000 units. Though we take great pride in our legacies, Leschaco is a modern, forward-looking and efficient logistics provider. Our approach is customer oriented. We align with our customers to achieve common goals and to ensure their preparedness for the future.