This year, world-global fertilizer, chemical and agribusiness company Ameropa AG and international logistics and transportation provider AsstrA-Associated Traffic AG celebrated the 20th anniversary of joining forces in the chemicals, fertilizer and soft commodity supply chain.
Cooperation between the two Swiss multinationals began in Moscow in the late 90‘s and early 2000‘s. At that time, Ameropa was actively developing relations with Belarusian producers like MogilevKhimvolokno, PolimirKhimvolokno, Belaruskali, Grodno Azot, Himvolono and others. The nature of the relations and business was specifically seeking for a road freight transportation partner. Since then, AsstrA has been serving Ameropa's cargo shipping requirements to and from Russian (36% of orders), Belarusian (36% of orders), Latvian (12% of orders), and Lithuanian (7% of orders) markets.
“At first, I got to know Dmitry Lagun, today the CEO of AsstrA. It did not take long to realize that Dmitry represented the new generation of businessmen who fought for business and valued hard work and reliable partnership. From the very beginning, our cooperation was built on a foundation of maximum trust that has remained a priority ever since,” says Cedomil Lajtman, Director C.I.S of of Ameropa AG.
Mr. Lajtman observes that cooperation with AsstrA gave Ameropa AG stability and confidence in logistics. Even though there are some unique challenges associated with doing business in Belarus, Ameropa AG and AsstrA have achieved significant growth in the market. For example, the volume of cargo forwarded by AsstrA for Ameropa AG has more than tripled from 1,845,587 kg in 2009 to 5,481,646 kg last year.
“The company managed to establish clear communications with both producers and buyers of the final products. Thanks to the work being done and strong relationships with all partners in the chain, the AsstrA team knew exactly what kind of products would be ready to be dispatched and when. In case of delays and downtime, difficulties were successfully managed locally with fast decision making – which was a huge plus for Ameropa AG. An open dialogue with 'all cards on the table' gave us the opportunity to discuss and manage all situations 'here and now.' As I already emphasized, AsstrA has stood with us through all phases of the supply chain between the producer and the buyer,” explains Mr. Lajtman.
Ameropa AG has modified its business goals over time. The company is currently dispatching intermodal containers of greater capacity in order to minimize the necessity of loading one transport vehicle. In situations when the need for transitional warehousing arose, AsstrA promptly finds options for this kind of transportation scheme.
“Long story short, we found a partner with a long-term commitment to providing us with a full set of services according to our every need,” relates Mr. Lajtman.
"We are grateful to Mr. Lajtman and the whole team of Ameropa AG for many years of prosperous cooperation. We adventured different periods, both ups and downs. In spite of everything AsstrA stood the test of time and successfully maintain the level of price-quality services for such a demanding client as Ameropa AG. During this time our team acquired the knack of the trader's business specifics and we bend every effect to support our partner with new contracts. Specialists of AsstrA understand full well the importance of logistics costs in the final cost formation of a product unit, so whatever the circumstances we seek the optimal offer, so that our cooperation develops further and further," shares his opinion Mr. Dmitry Lagun, CEO of AsstrA-Associated Traffic AG.
The majority of cargo AsstrA forwarded for Ameropa AG consists of polyester, chemicals, synthetic rubber, consumer goods, and spare parts. Approximately half of the total cargo volume by weight is transported by AsstrA's Baltics and Belarus Sea Freight Division.
Communication is the key to success
Representatives of Ameropa AG and AsstrA agree that their business collaboration has flourished for so long due to mutual trust consisting of several elements: the professionalism of the team, openness in communication when dealing with all situations, development of up-to-date supply chain optimization and cost reduction solutions, and consistent ongoing communication ensuring that everything stays under control.
In the age of modern technology, every industry undergoes change. Ameropa AG and AsstrA both take a flexible approach to the possibilities created by innovation.
“What might have seemed impossible 20 years ago is now reality. Making purchases with only a few clicks and drone deliveries are now a part of life. What the next 20 years bring only time will tell. But it is with this perspective that you best understand how important it is to have trustworthy partners that will join you to create the future together. Real partnership is not about contracts. For us it is about much bigger things, like a company's attitude towards doing business and the character of the people that stand behind the company. The honest work that is being done by the team from day to day, year after year. And the assurance that you can always count on honest advice, workable and affordable solution even in very difficult situations. That's why we have with AsstrA, and that's why we have this partnership,” concludes Mr. Lajtman.