Freight forwarding
17. September 2021

Interview with Gergely Fónod

Mr. Gergely Fónod is an experienced manager with a demonstrated history of working in the logistics and supply chain industry. He is the founder of CEVA Logistics freight management in Slovakia and a Member of the Board. Fónod has a strong operations background with a master’s degree in business management and 15 years of experience in freight forwarding, specializing in air and ocean freight as well as customs clearance. Strongly embedded in the wider company organization, he is most proud of building a country team from zero to a complex group of professionals within the CEVA Logistics network. He is a firm believer in never giving up and not forgetting about your roots.

1. What are the main disrupters for Freight Forwarding development?
Too often, demand and supply are not aligned, and the industry players are not able to prove flexible enough to meet the other requirements. Or even if yes, the reaction and execution are too slow. So, you must be flexible to succeed.
CEVA Logistics’ experienced specialists focus on seamlessly designing end-to-end customized solutions to meet the complex and rapidly evolving supply chain needs, whatever the business sector. It means that we can react very quickly to any and every disruption in the logistics market.
Another topic is legislation. Sometimes, changes do not consider the ability to adapt by those who are impacted. In many regions in the world, and this is also valid for Central Eastern Europe (CEE), there is a lack of truck drivers, for example. Neither legislation changes to support the increase of the number of drivers, nor other different solutions that could bring resolution, can come fast enough.

2. Tell us about key areas in Logistics/Supply chain where Freight Forwarding can improve the most and why?
Today, many companies have sophisticated online tools and multinodular systems. Thinking a bit forward, I believe the alignment of these electronic systems with market needs will be key. That’s the first area.
In the case of CEVA Logistics, we are advancing with technology platform integrations related to carrier and customer shipment visibility through various global agreements. As a provider of integrated logistics solutions, including air freight, sea freight, road freight, contract logistics services, customs and project cargo, CEVA is able to meet the highest demands of our customers.All this is based on innovative solutions and systems such as CEVA Matrix WMS, solution design tools, automation and robotization (RPA) or MyCEVA, which is our transactional platform enabling shippers to manage their complete shipping journey online.
Secondly, and again: flexibility and adaptation to changes, down to the roots of all processes of a business unit. This is already a large part of CEVA’s DNA, but freight forwarding as a whole has certainly been challenged over the past several years because of the global pandemic and its impact on the supply chain.
Finally, and somewhat related, is the ability to use alternative solutions; this must be valid for the whole segment, not only the freightforwarding specialists, but also producers, supply chain planners, distribution channels, etc.

3. What is your opinion about the development and overall impact of e-commerce within air and ocean transportation?
In general, e-commerce is, of course, a huge business opportunity. According to the Global eCommerce 2020 Report, the CEE region recorded about 21.5 percent growth in eCommerce channel sales, which is the highest rate in the world. Especially it is a growth dynamo for logistics, but, in comparison to classic store selling, online shops go along with more air and ocean transportation as e-commerce supports global direct selling. I would also like to underline how important the impact of the growth of e-commerce is on new product development within our industry. Today, CEVA has specialized teams in business development and operations as well, which constantly work on products, which are predominantly serving the e-commerce segment. That is a huge impact on the future. Sometimes these innovator channels are working for the logistics and forwarding industry, like Formula-1 for automotive. At CEVA, we view e-commerce as a catalyst affecting the whole supply chain, and our customer focus drives us to take a collaborative approach to succeed.

4. What innovations have you successfully implemented in your company?
We humbly believe to be the first forwarder issuing e-air waybills (eAWB) for air export out of BTS airport was a major success. Years of preparations and several normative steps preceded the maiden issuance in 2017. The implemented process is now the market standard. This goes together with many other system initiatives in CEVA’s operational system, which are leading to either paperless or almost paperless processes.  
We are also very fond of e-solutions in terms of environmentalism and sustainability. Already for five years, CEVA is using a fully electronic pool car for our air, ocean and customs operations teams in Bratislava. CEVA was the first company in Slovakia to lease the electronic car together with our charger in one commercial offer. As part of the CMA CGM Group, CEVA Logistics is strongly committed to the protection of the environment. The Group aims at becoming carbon-neutral by 2050.

5. What will be the impact of Covid-19 for further business development in your core business?
All of us need to adapt to the new rules of the logistics market excluding personal meetings. Those who will simply wait for the return to the pre-covid situation will lose much. It is also important to mention that if one will stick to the “good old” BD channels, long, repeated personal meetings, presentations and analyses, they can lose other opportunities to find the best solution. I would also mention here the ever-increasing importance of business development executed on the global market, not only within a geographical territory. Today’s technological solutions fully support the demand for borderless supply chain. As a result, supporting solutions and business development processes should be aligned with this.

6. What is your opinion about positioning WOF EXPO in the Central and Eastern Europe region?
I am very glad that such an event will take place in our region. It was long-awaited by many, and I think no one will doubt that our business segment deserves the attention and focus that it can bring. Understanding WOF as a competitor to Munich or other fares is not correct. It can simply line up next to them and support to build off our regional CEE environment in this respect. Good luck to the organizers, and I wish you the soonest possibility to realize the event at full scale!

CEVA Logistics, a world leader in third-party logistics, provides and operates transportation and supply-chain solutions for large- or medium-size national and global companies. CEVA Logistics offers a broad range of services in both Contract Logistics and Freight Management thanks to its approximately 78,000 employees and 1,000 facilities in more than 160 countries. CEVA Logistics’ experienced specialists focus on seamlessly designing end-to-end customized solutions to meet the complex and rapidly evolving supply chain needs, whatever the business sector. CEVA Logistics is part of the CMA CGM Group, a world leader in shipping and logistics.