Report on a Business Trip to Vladivostok, Russia (Part 1): Creating Logistics Services Overseas

Hello, I am Ichiki of Sync Logistics.

In this issue, I’d like to share with you a report on my business trip to Russia last January 16 to 23.

■ Exporting to Vladivostok, Russia

With its large market, over 150,000 used automobiles are exported from Japan to Russia every year, and before the collapse of Lehman Brothers, over 400,000 used vehicles were exported.

Most of the automobiles are exported from coastal areas along the Japan Sea such as Karatsu, Imari, Maizuru, Toyama, Niigata, and Otaru, and are imported into coastal ports of the Russian Far East such as Vladivostok and Nakhodka.

One characteristic of exporting such automobiles is their transportation method – they are transported in conventional ships called general cargo vessels. Originally, exports from Japan to Russia seem to have started with sailors bringing back Japanese automobiles to Russia as consignment cargo on return trips of conventional ships importing lumber from Russia to Japan.

Today, transport services such as RORO ships and automobile carriers along the coast of the Pacific Ocean such as Kobe, Nagoya, and Kisazaru transport vehicles in large quantities in one go.

■Purposes of my Business Trip to Vladivostok

The purposes of this business trip was to establish logistics services to Russia and to maximize the number of automobiles exported from Japan. About a year ago, exporters who are our customers asked us to improve our logistics services to Russia. They said:

“The port in Vladivostok is so crowded that automobiles can’t be unloaded;”

“We can’t get bookings for our automobiles due to the lack of space in ships;”

“We can’t bring in cars because of import restrictions at TRS* yards so we can’t accept vehicle orders;”

“I don’t know if the vehicles were actually exported;”

“The vehicles should have already been exported, but we haven’t received the BL.”

Listening to our customers, things were very serious.

We assessed that solving logistical problems would contribute to maximizing the number of automobiles exported from Japan, and so we decided to launch our services.

(*TRS: Terminal Received System – this is a system wherein a shipping company provides services up until shipment which includes customs clearance, ship-side go down, etc.)

■Creating Logistics Services

When I am building logistics services, I put the most importance on advance preparation.

I have launched services in several countries, and for all services, I have been able to understand the market, select partners, and build services all in one trip.

I set the trip’s duration at five business days, and I don’t go on business trips for research purposes.

The reasons are I have employees working hard and partner companies in Japan that generate revenue for our company; and I use the money of shareholders and financial institutions that have put their trust in me to pay for expenses which aren’t cheap.

Therefore, I go on business trips with a strong sense of responsibility for “making sure I will launch services.” So how does our company conduct market research?
1) Through web services such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter
2) Through consultations with people who are actually involved in the logistics of the country to export to.
By conducting these two things, we can understand about 80% of how the market works. We work at a time when many things are convenient. By understanding various tools’ characteristics and how to use them, and by asking the right questions to the right people, we can get things done unbelievably fast.

And this is how I create logistics services overseas. If you would like to have a service made that greatly expands your business, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our sales team.

Thank you for your time.