Because of our partnership with ever-growing Sync Logistics, the volume that we handle has increased 30-fold in 9 years! (Hakata Port Transport Corporation)
Established in 1942, Hakata Port Transport Corporation is a general logistics company that offers cargo handling and international and domestic transport services from the Port of Hakata.
As a partner company, it has been supporting Sync Logistics’ container and RORO transport shipping operations for used cars for the past 9 years.
We asked Mr. Chikushi, Group Leader of the Sales Department of the Port Logistics Group, and Mr. Kurokawa, who was a Leader of the Port Logistics Group until March and currently Group Leader of the Foreman Group of the Port Transport Department about the details of their company’s business partnership with Sync Logistics, how they collaborate together, and their impression of Sync Logistics as a partner.
(*affiliation and company position at the time of this interview)
Sync Logistics is an important partner company that accounts for 95% of our used car exports
Company profile and details of their partnership
Chikushi: Based at the Port of Hakata, we are a general logistics company offering integrated domestic transport services. We mainly offer cargo handling services which include cargo loading and unloading at the Port of Hakata, and freight forwarding which combines trucks, ships, and other logistics functions for domestic and international transport. We also offer customs clearance services which includes acting as an agent for cargo import and export declarations.
We have been partnering with Sync Logistics for the past 9 years, providing them with customs clearance and cargo handling services of used cars for export. Specifically, we provide various support services depending on the type of logistics operations such as preparing declaration documents necessary for export customs clearance, vanning vehicles, short drayage (moving containers), and handling cargo of RORO vessels.
We have a yard at Hakozaki Wharf in Hakata, and we centrally manage 1000 to 1300 vehicles at any given point in time at our motor pool while conducting customs clearance and cargo handling operations before shipping. About 95% of the used cars we handle for export are from Sync Logistics, which is about 700 to 800 vehicles per month.
Consolidated Management of the Progress of Operations from Yard Entry to Shipping and Customs Clearance Documents Using La-Plus, Sync Logistics’ Proprietary System
Flow of operations
Chikushi: First, vehicles of Sync Logistics’ clients (shippers) are brought in from auction sites and other places. They are brought into the motor pool, and they are checked as soon as they enter the pool. They are then sorted for vanning and those for loading onto RORO vessels, and then stored.
At the office, we prepare the declaration documents of the vehicles for export, and proceed with the declaration procedures using the booking information provided by Sync Logistics. After obtaining the permit for export from customs, we van and load the vehicles.
Cooperation and information sharing with Sync Logistics
Kurokawa: Basically, Sync Logistics accounts for about 95% of our used car exports, which amounts to 700 to 800 vehicles per month. We manage them using La-Plus, a system provided by Sync Logistics. This system allows us to centrally manage vehicle information, the number of vehicles at the motor pool, shipping and container vanning schedules, customs clearance documents and others. It also enables all parties involved to share information in real-time.
Thirteen people are involved in the export operations – 7 customs clearance and cargo handling staff from our company and 6 employees from Sync Logistics. Each operation proceeds smoothly because of work plans based on information from La-Plus.
Chikushi: If we need to confirm something with Sync Logistics directly, we do it by phone, but normally, all work is done through La-Plus. Also, if there is some operation that needs to be improved, we can consult them anytime. Because they have a good understanding of the work onsite, we can exchange constructive opinions and take measures for improvement, which is helpful to us.
The Real-time Management System Halves Manpower Hours for 160 Customs Declarations per Day
Impressions of Sync Logistics and the benefits of our partnership
Chikushi: Even though many in the industry still have analog operations, I have the impression that Sync Logistics is one step ahead because they have systemized their operations early on.
By centralizing the management of our operations, La-Plus has made our operations run smoothly, and it has improved the turnover speed of inventory in our motor pool.
It has also reduced manpower hours in our customs clearance operations.
We prepare export declarations for 160 used cars a day. The amount of paperwork is excessive, and the number of times they are handed back and forth is a lot. For other vehicles, the paperwork is often sent to us in PDF or Excel form, but going back and forth through email results in time lags. In our experience, we have been able to halve the amount of labor by using the real-time management system.
Kurokawa: Sync Logistics has many young employees who are proactive and are willing to take on new challenges. Also, we don’t often communicate with shippers, but because Sync Logistics has a large network of exporters, they sometimes provide us with trends and other information about the used car industry.
As the number of vehicles Sync Logistics handles increases, we have had to create a system for labor and facilities that can appropriately handle such increases. The information they provide beforehand makes it easier for us to prepare for such increases.
Expecting Further Increases in the Number of Vehicles Handled. Evolving our Service Provider System in Cooperation with Sync Logistics
Prospects for future business
Chikushi: The increase in volume of customs clearance and cargo handling work that has resulted from the expansion of Sync Logistics’ business has benefited us in terms of income. The number of vehicles we have handled has increased 30-fold since we started doing business with them, and our sales are growing steadily.
We believe their business will expand even further, and when that happens, we need to further enhance the efficiency of our operations. While expanding our yard is an option, it isn’t feasible because the number of vehicles we handle fluctuates throughout the year during busy and quiet periods.
For this reason, we are thinking of how we can provide services, including practical operations and management, that will satisfy Sync Logistics and shippers. We are currently having discussions with Sync Logistics on how to address this. While working closely with those onsite, we want to create a system that will result in both of our companies’ growth.
Company name: Hakata Port Transport Corporation
Description of business: a general logistics company providing integrated domestic transport services from the Port of Hakata
Number of employees: 225 (as of September 2020)