Interview: Noel Chircop Managing Director, Eurofreight, Malta

Noel Chircop, managing director at Eurofreight Services Ltd, explains how together with Karen Calleja, general manager and their phenomenal team, he has built Eurofreight up into one of the leading freight forwarding companies in Malta.

As it is the first time we have met, could you introduce Eurofreight to our audience?

“We believe that we are so well structured and provide the most ideal training for all our team, that though our guidance is inspiring to them, they office functions just as well in our presence as in our absence. In this way, we surely know that we did do this right.”

I am Noel Chircop, the managing director and founder of Eurofreight Services Ltd alongside my colleague, Karen Calleja, general manager. The company was founded in 1999 and our goal has always been to provide excellent logistic services to our customers and see the company grow at every level, from size, to the services provided to more importantly, the Company’s image. Over the past years, we have experienced sturdy and strong growth and Eurofreight is now one of the leading freight forwarders in Malta.

Every year, we succeed in expanding our services, either by offering transportation to and from a new country or by improving the efficiency, cost and quality of an existing one. Italy was the first market Eurofreight provided and it is still one of our leading markets, with five partners all over the country ensuring our clients are provided by a service of excellence. We are also very strong in Greece and Turkey, one of the few companies to operate in such markets in Malta. Along the years, we even broadened our spectrum so that other than Europe, we would also provide services to/from Far East as well as the Eastern Block. We also joined associations such as the International Forwarding Association, Marco Polo and the World Cargo Alliance to increase our visibility on global markets and strengthen our positioning in Malta.

All our various departments are working in collaboration with each other to ensure the finest and most personalized service possible, to our clients. Companies are so busy nowadays that they want their sub contracted partners to take care of everything for them. Therefore, to retain our clients, we are executing their needs by offering them integral solutions. We are providing packaging, collection, shipping, insurance, door delivery, personal effects, air freight, sea freight, documentation and many other. Every service is personalized to our clients as they entrust us with their fragile, expensive or personal items. Our healthcare-related services are more for raw material manufacturers who ship their products to Malta for the manufacturing of finished goods.

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How does Euro Freight ensure to keep up with the trends in the sector?

Whilst we do appreciate that in today’s world, competition is fierce, regardless the sector, the pressure in logistics when it comes to offering competitive rates is crucial. Indeed, there is a trend for logistics companies to cut their service rates, meaning that more volume is compulsory to attain the same profits. We at Eurofreight do not share this belief but in reality, we do need to be competitive, so we constantly strive to obtain minimal rates possible whilst ensuring that the service does not falter, as we do truly focus on what we offer our clients. That is, high quality services that satisfy our clients’ needs, ultimately securing a loyalty between us. Our management team are constantly meeting with existing as well as new partners and agents, with the probability, that costs are kept running competitively.

The rapidly changing environment can also be challenging and leads us to go out of our ways to help our clients. Indeed, some companies need support on urgent requests at any time of the day, even on weekends and holidays. Consequently, the company can provide some insights on clients’ new projects and organize a meeting at any time according to their busy schedule. We believe this unique service in Malta can position Eurofreight as a reliable and trustworthy partner.

How do you remain competitive within this ever-changing environment?

To remain pro-active and continuously improve our services, we are continuously seeking new techniques, innovations and ideas. Last year, we concentrated more on the reconstruction of our main office. The idea was to utilize our workforce more efficiently, so we can get the best of everyone. We had noticed that people become comfortable in one position and their full potential is unexploited. We took a gamble and decided to reshuffle our teams completely. This major transition resulted in more motivation and happiness at work coming from our team and it allowed us to gather even newer ideas from different perspectives. Considering the success of the operation so far, we are now considering increasing the number of trainings and programs available to our employees to further ensure that they can grow personally as well.

We are also currently investing in a marketing campaign. Our main idea is to showcase some innovative means and methods to promote shipping. Throughout the year, we will highlight the different services Eurofreight can offer within this one concept. It will be used mainly as a visual tool rather than as an informational advertisement and we aim to gain more visibility on the markets we opened recently so our current clients can be aware of our complete service spectrum. The campaign will mainly be available on social media and we are going to do it specifically for our existing clients and potential new clients.

How are you ensuring the highest level of excellence is provided to your customers?

We believe excellence in services can be achieved by promoting the right values and gathering the right team. On the first hand, Eurofreight is moving forward thanks to its dedication, energy, creativity and heart. We are focused on keeping our team motivated and content, whilst still working hard so that our clients can feel the passion and heart that is put in working at Eurofreight. As an artist myself, I believe that a creative and out-of-the-box mindset can also help the company be more productive. We also like to treat our employees as a family and the company organizes outings and team building activities on some weekends.

On the other end, we give a lot of thoughts in hiring the right talent for our company. Even if we are lacking personnel, we are carefully choosing our employees as we want to ensure their personality and skills fit the company. However, once new talents are recognized for the job, we offer training and support on their position and the company’s requirements regardless of their background. We give training and monitoring a great of importance and we always ensure that there is ongoing communication with all staff members daily. We organize weekly meetings with each department and monthly meetings with the entire company during which everyone can share ideas and get in line with the company’s developments. There is no “I” in team and we want to make sure our employees comply with this statement.

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What are your strategic objectives to further grow the company in the next few years?

As for this year, our goal was to recruit more people within the organisation and to restructure the company’s warehouse system. This is due to further services being introduced as well as upgrading the Company into a more professional and efficient one, thus constant improvement is definitely a necessity. We are also restructuring our marketing team as we believe the next step is to establish a clearer company image on a global scale.

Karen and I started Eurofreight, on our own, from nothing much, other than a big vision, which over the years, grew substantially and seems to be ever growing, leaving us with a company to savour and be proud of. However, it is now time for Eurofreight to be more independent and visible in the market, therefore, our most important goal on a personal level, is to ensure that the company can run smoothly even without our presence. We believe that we are so well structured and provide the most ideal training for all our team, that though our guidance is inspiring to them, they office functions just as well in our presence as in our absence. In this way, we surely know that we did do this right.

You have founded and led it in the right direction for the past 19 years. What would be your piece of advice to new entrants and entrepreneurs in this sector?

Eurofreight Services was created nearly 19 years ago and the business environment at the time was completely different. And though in those times lesser took such a risk, of opening a business, everything was much more tranquil. Nowadays, doing so, though more accessible, is far more complicated, I would personally say, it is much more stressful. Moreover, in our specific segment, whereby we totally depend on internet, electricity and a phone, you are reached 24/7 and are expected to provide, perform and deliver all around, which basically means that if you are not well organised you are bound to fail before even starting. We truly believe that with the right intention you are always bound to succeed, however you must add the ingredients of a lot of hard work, dedication and a lot of heart.

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