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Member Interview: Colin Chapman of 360 Logistics Group, New Zealand

15th June 2016

Member Interview: Colin Chapman of 360 Logistics Group, New Zealand
Member Interview: Colin Chapman of 360 Logistics Group, New Zealand

360 Logistics Group have offices in Auckland, Wellington, Palmerston North, Christchurch and Invercargill and have been our valued UFO member in New Zealand since 2003. This month, we will be interviewing Director of 360 Logistics Group, Colin Chapman.

How did you first get into the freight industry?
I left college (high school) when I was 16 as I wanted to earn an income and get into the workforce as quickly as possible. That was back in 1979 and I am still with the same company today. Back in those days, I didn’t even understand or know anything about the freight industry and only applied for the job because I loved driving and the job description advised you must have your driver's licence!

What motivates you most in your work?
Being alongside our customers while they grow from small beginnings into very successful companies. Also helping our people within 360 develop their personal and professional skills.

Please describe your most memorable shipment to date?
One of our major customers, who imports food, had a major warehouse fire. They had a robust marine insurance policy which allowed them to airfreight replacement stock in without the need for quotes etc. As part of this, my most memorable shipment was airfreighting 50tns of rice in, from Thailand, with very nice margins. Plus, many other regular very heavy shipments which last for over a month.

What is your most embarrassing professional moment?
When I was 18 (back in 1980), we made regular trips to the port to conduct cargo inspections with New Zealand Customs Officers. We used to have fun and built up a strong working relationships with lots of people in the customs department. One particular customs officer was a Scotsman who loved a drink or two and one of his tasks was to measure the alcohol content of imported and locally manufactured beer. This involved pouring the beer into large glass containers and then use a hydrometer to measure and record the volume of alcohol for duty calculation purposes. After he had finished measuring he was supposed to pour the beer down the drain but he couldn’t stand to see the beer go to waste so he used to hide it under the sink!

One particular day I travelled to the port early in the morning as we had a customs inspection of general cargo booked in. However, the cargo couldn't be found so the Scottish gentleman suggested I accompany him back to the office for a cup of tea. Well, to my delight he showed me the beer he had hidden away and asked if I would like to have a beer instead of a cup of tea - The both of us ended up being absolutely drunk as skunks! To my embarrassment, my boss had to come and pick me up some hours later and take me home. Needless to say that after this event, this particular Scotsman and I have become very good mates.

What are the current trends that you see in transportation as far as New Zealand is concerned? What is its untapped potential?
There are a lot of privately owned, small to medium sized freight forwarding companies in New Zealand. Typically, the owners have been in the business a long time and are approaching the age where they want to sell up and slow down a bit. I see a strong trend developing in the near to short term for many more mergers and acquisitions.

Also, there is a very strong international demand for NZ manufactured goods and in particular food. We see a stronger export trend developing, even more so now that New Zealand has recently concluded the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). Historically, the TPP is an expansion of the Trans Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (TPSEP or P4), which was signed by Brunei, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore in 2005. Beginning in 2008, additional countries (Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, the United States and Vietnam) joined the discussion for a broader agreement bringing the total number of participating countries in the negotiations to 12.

What do you enjoy to do in your spare time?
Golf and endurance events. I completed the famous 'Coast to Coast' event in 2009 which crosses from the West to East Coast of New Zealand (a total distance of 243km) in 17 hours and 40 minutes.

Finally, where would you like to see your company in the next 3-5 years?
With 50 people employed across New Zealand with an annual turnover of 50 million!