Euroccoper is a provider of integrated logistics solutions that offers international customs services, international transportation, warehousing and distribution. They have been present on the Romanian market since 1994.
To start off, can you briefly tell us how Euroccoper evolved in the Romanoan market and what its footprint is presently?
Euroccoper started as a customs services company more than 25 years ago and little by little transportation and logistics were added to the portfolio. We entered the Romanian market at a prolific moment, when the industrial sector was in full bloom, so our evolution was directly linked to the growing profitability of these services. In the meantime, we signed a contract with the biggest player in the energy sector and provided logistics space (20,000 sqm) for their electrical materials. Moreover, five of our clients are providers of photovoltaic panels, electric cars, chargers and other green energy related materials, this sector beginning a new wave of development thanks to recent, supportive legislation.
How is your portfolio divided between 3PL and customs services, is there a sector that prevails?
Because our HQ is in Timisoara and we are positioned so close to the border, we naturally started our business by offering customs services. Later on, when we observed that our clients were showing a growing interest towards logistics, we also expanded to this sector. This demand pushed us to take into consideration a "one-stop shop" approach where we provide integrated services: road, maritime, aerial and rail transport, warehouse spaces, wholesaling and distribution services, as well as fiscal representation for a number of clients. Overall, customs services is an important business pipeline in our portfolio and thanks to our geographical position we managed to exploit this opportunity at its fullest.
Logistics is one of the sectors that thrived during the pandemic - what did you do to capture the opportunity and were there also challenges during this time?
During last year's lockdown, the FMCG sector saw an impressive (but short-term) boom because people were frantically stocking up their pantries. A rule of thumb is that companies with a flat portfolio don't react well to crises, but because we have clients spread across various fields of activity (food & beverage, furniture, electrical products, automotive etc.), we managed to stay afloat. Bottom line, any industry that could sell its products online thrived during the pandemic, especially ones that sold paramedical products such as biocidal products.
Of course, there were challenges regarding the safety of our employees but we mitigated this risk by dividing them in three teams and working in shifts. The pandemic changed players' perspective towards digitalization and if before it wasn't seen as an important part of their business, this idea changed drastically and nowadays it's a vital cog in the machine.
Even though the port of Constanta is highly important to the logistics sector, we know there are challenges linked to it - what are some of them and how can they be resolved?
We already have two warehouses in the port of Constanta and we're currently planning to build the third once since it's a massive point of interest for any logistics company. The famous problem regarding the port resides in deficient infrastructure - railways, in this case. Because it's vital to be able to transport merchandise to the west of the country as fast as possible, this issue is keeping the logistics sector behind and creating a great deal of frustration. Unfortunately, at the moment, there are no clear means to solve this conundrum, even though there have been multiple discussions with the authorities. Hopefully, the current Minister of Transport will try to solve this problem that is persisting for such a long time already. Railway transport is not as fast but it's cheap and ecological; moreover, in the 20's Romania was a leading force in this transportation sector so it would be a pity to leave to waste all this glorious tradition.
Because warehouses were built mainly on demand, Romania has bigger prices for class A warehouses in comparison to Germany, for example. Some of our potential clients are taken aback by this aspect and we need to make it clear for them that even though the price per square meter is higher here (but similar to Poland), the workforce is more affordable, and we are able to offer them valuable integrated services that save them time and money.
Taking a look at the next two-three years - what would be some of the main priorities Euroccoper wants to achieve?
Our main priority at the moment is linked to the port of Constanta and the best solutions that could help unblock the situation. For us it's crucial to have this stalemate resolved because it has the potential to contribute considerably to our one-stop shop concept. Since the port is a duty-free zone documentation wise, it's easier to implement customs warehousing there. Consolidating Euroccoper's footprint in Romania and upscaling the business here is yet another point in our list of priorities.
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