An article published in the Manufacturing-Journal based on an interview with the CEO of CF & S Estonia, Mr. Tiit Arus.
The Art of Logistics
CF&S is an international Estonian transport and logistics group providing a wide-range of logistic services. With twenty years of experience, the company provides the highest standard of transportation by sea, air and land. The following article is based on an interview with the CEO of CF&S Estonia, Mr. Tiit Arus
Established in 1997 in Tallinn, the capital and largest city of Estonia, CF&S spent two decades growing from a port agency to a leading logistics group providing a full spectrum of transport services, such as road, railway and sea transport, air freight and warehousing and distribution. In 2004 the company opened offices in Russia, followed by a branch in Latvia the year after that. 2010 saw the acquisition of the forwarding company IK Speditor by CF&S, which allowed it to increase its share of the road and air transport segment of the market, and was the beginning of its services in the warehousing and distribution segment, as IK Speditor operated a complex of warehouses in the immediate vicinity of Tallinn Airport. Later that year CF&S joined Estonian Logistics Cluster, a joint project meant to facilitate company cooperation in the IT field, product development involving available resources and help its members with international marketing, as well as promote Estonia’s logistical advantages. In 2012 CF&S further supplemented its services by acquiring all shares of the Latvian SIA Transekspedicija LV company. The result of the merger, finalised in 2013, was one of the biggest logistics companies in Latvia. A year later, in 2014, new offices were opened in Lithuania and Kazakhstan. That same year CF&S Estonia opened a new warehouse, strategically located close to the Tallinn ring road and St Petersburg highway. Finally, in 2018 local offices were opened in two further countries – Poland and Finland, raising the number of CF&S Group local branches up to seven. Currently, CF&S employs approximately 200 people in general, with the offices in Latvia, Lithuania, Russia and Kazakhstan employing in between of 10-20 people. The staff of all local offices has been handpicked by local management. “Logistics, like any other service is build on the people’s know-how and professionalism.” – says Mr. Tiit Arus, CEO of CF&S Estonia. Along the way, two major companies previously operating as parts of CF&S Estonia grew to such an extent that they became separate entities. The first, Hansa Shipping, owns today twenty-three dry cargo ships and charters six additional vessels. The second, Autolink Baltics, specialises in automotive logistics. It currently operates in Baltic states, Russia and Finland with its own terminals and trucks.
Services portfolio and policies
The range of services offered by CF&S varies between countries. Five segments of the logistics market stand out as the company’s particular strong points. Customs agency services include dealing with customs procedures necessary for import and export and transit of cargoes. CF&S has all the required permits to guarantee smooth transport through the countries of the European Union and beyond. Excellent road transportation in Scandinavia, the Baltic states, and other countries of Eastern and Western Europe is ensured by the company’s own dedicated trucks as well as a trusted network of partners all over the continent. All of the drivers employed by CF&S have passed dangerous goods training and have valid ADR certificates. Railway operations are another area the company is especially well equipped to handle, especially in the Baltic states, Poland, Finland and the Commonwealth of Independent States member countries (including the transportation in Central Asia republics). CF&S offers a full range of railway logistics services from preparation of cargo documents and loading operations in railway terminals and ports to transportation of heavyweight and oversized items commercial and lease of special-purpose railcars and containers. The company’s own rolling stock such as the 80´and 60´railway platforms and closed boxcar wagons with cargo capacity 25% greater than standard wagons (capable also of transporting motor cars and minibuses) ensures, along with close co-operation between offices, efficient, secure and professional rail transportation for all customers. Last, but not least, is high & heavy transportation, that is transport of exceptional cargo for large-scale projects. CF&S is fully equipped to handle transportation of objects such as mining, forestry and agricultural machinery, construction equipment, boats and yachts, heavy vehicles, wind converters, generators, engines and turbines etc. by sea, road and rail. According to Mr. Arus “Esteve Terminal, also part of our group, located in Paldiski South port is the main RoRo (roll-on/roll-off - designed to carry wheeled cargo, such as cars, trucks, and railroad cars) terminal in the Baltic area. Port of Paldiski (in north-western Estonia) is RoRo connected with following ports in Europe – Antwerp, Bremerhaven, Lübeck, Harwich, Zeebrugge, Bilbao, Hanko and Kappeskär, allowing us offer our customers multimodal transportation from Europe to all the destinations in Russia, CIS, Caucasus etc.” Of course, services are not limited to those countries. As CF&S is a member of a number of chains of international freight forwarders associations specializing in special transport, it can provide special transport worldwide. While the company may excel at such demanding, large-scale tasks, it prides itself on making its services available to all customers. In the words of Mr. Arus “We don’t mind to carry one pallet or hole factory from anywhere to anywhere. Wide range of our services allows us to offer it all to our customers.” Another important thing a modern company has to consider is global networking. „In shipping and logistics, we can see constant movement towards globalisation. We can read about mergers of shipping lines and logistic groups all the time.” To maintain strong ties with worldwide partners, and to seek new partnership opportunities, in addition to joining international logistics networks such as WCA and Project Cargo Network CF&S representatives regularly attend transport and logistics exhibitions like Breakbulk, München Transport & Logistics and Transrussia. Finally, CF&S constantly strives to be an eco-friendly company, currently focusing its eco-policy on obtaining, in addition to the ISO 9001:2015 quality management system certificate, a ISO 14001:2015 environmental management certificate.
CF&S continues to grow and invest in new solutions, equipment and improvements. One of the most important areas of such investments is railway transportation, for which there is a constantly growing demand. “To improve railways service, CF&S Estonia has been investing in railway platforms. Currently the company owns a hundred and forty 24m and 18m long railway platforms and forty closed wagons. The unique 24m platforms are primarily used to carry agricultural, construction and mining machines between Baltic ports and Poland to Central Asia, Mongolia, Russia and countries of the Caucasus region.” New IT solutions are also being implemented, such as a new Warehouse Management System (WMS) in Tallinn and new forwarding software for the road transport division, both designed for easy EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) integration with customer’s systems. Online visibility of the stock and activities is guaranteed through an external web-based customer portal. Combining such investments in modern technology with its rich experience, strong international ties and vast portfolio of services, CF&S continues to expand globally and gain foreign markets.