How Wiseway navigated the logistics of COVID-19

Even as the COVID-19 situation evolves, demand for logistics in the Asia-Pacific region remains high. Kim Berry asked Wiseway CEO Roger Tong about the company’s experience. This article was first published in Food & Drink Business April 2021.

Freight was one of the most affected industries when COVID-19 brought much of the world to a standstill last year.

But for freight forwarding company Wiseway’s CEO Roger Tong, the logistics demand is unrelenting.

Tong told Food & Drink Business, “The market for imports of seafood, fresh milk, chilled meat and fresh produce, especially in China, is seeing unprecedented growth in demand.”

Q. How has Wiseway coped with the impact of COVID-19?

Our Australian and Asian customers turned to us for help in finding solutions to the challenges of importing and exporting between Australia and Asia during this period.

We leveraged our relationships with airlines, shipping lines, our local trucking fleet, and partners to ensure customers’ cargo got in and out of Australia through alternative routes.

Being a one-stop shop offering multiple services in export air freight, sea freight, perishables, customs clearance, warehousing, import e-commerce and domestic transportation certainly helped.

Q. What were the highlights of the past six months?

Our revenue was up by 54 per cent on the previous corresponding period, reflecting our investment in our people, infrastructure and platform, which enabled us to deliver multiple and integrated logistics services to our customers. As a result, we had strong growth from imports and distribution, up by 139 per cent; sea freight, up by 107 per cent; and road freight, up by 64 per cent. Our core business, air freight, was up by 25 per cent.

Q. What is the biggest growth area for Wiseway?

The market for imports of seafood, fresh milk, chilled meat and fresh produce is growing so we are growing our share of this market.

It is reflected in our perishables division being our standout performer in the second half of 2020 with revenue increasing by 363 per cent.

This division is supported by our national bonded warehouses in all major cities in Australia and New Zealand – and are providing us with an advantage over other freight forwarders who do not have this capability.

Q. Do you see growth opportunities in other parts of the Asia-Pacific market for Australian exporters?

Absolutely. When it comes to demand for freight forwarding services, the Asia-Pacific market is one of the few regions that are still growing despite COVID-19.

With future growth in mind, we have opened a Business Support Office in Guangzhou in China. This is in addition to our Shanghai office.

Q. There are plans to expand to the US, what can you tell us?

We believe there are growth opportunities between the US and Asia-Pacific markets for Wiseway.

We have identified Los Angeles as a suitable location for our next phase of expansion. In establishing a US presence, we will adopt a similar strategy to the one used to successfully expand into the New Zealand market.

Q. COVID-19 seems set to be part of our life in the Asia-Pacific region for a while yet, what does this year hold for Wiseway?

While demand for logistics services remains high, this may vary as the pandemic situation develops and changes.

We see the breadth and depth of our diversified logistics services, the expertise of our highly experienced management team and the risk management plans we have actively managed our operations and work to maximise outcomes in the prevailing operating environment.

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