Trade Lane Africa: “There is always a way”

In view of the impressive economic growth in some emerging markets south of the Maghreb, Militzer & Münch is expanding its activities on the African continent. We asked Irene Pinkrah, Business Development Manager Trade Lane Greater Africa, about the special aspects of working with Africa, the challenges she and the team have to overcome, and what she likes best about her job.

Ms. Pinkrah, what are your tasks as Business Development Manager for Trade Lane Africa?

My main task is to expand and maintain business relationships with existing partners in Africa and to identify new partners for potential collaboration. I also build and maintain business relationships in Germany together with our sales team and take care of customer acquisition. And I also define marketing strategies and develop and optimize the trade lane between Germany and Africa by analyzing, planning and implementing efficient transport and logistics solutions.

How is the Militzer & Münch business developing in Africa?

We are currently in the process of developing the Sub-Sahara segment and are very optimistic. Africa has experienced significant economic growth in recent years and offers considerable development potential in some sectors. Militzer & Münch has been active in Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria for many years, and is very successful in this field. We are therefore confident that we will also be successful in sub-Saharan Africa. Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria, for example, are very interesting for us.

We are currently working on establishing a partner network. Against this background, several Militzer & Münch country units, including Militzer & Münch Germany, joined the Airfreight Logistics Network for Africa (ALNA) some time ago, a strong network for airfreight to and from the African continent. With ALNA, we have access to a secure and reliable network of companies in many African countries.

In order to tap into the potential of the Ghanaian market for us, I will be attending the Supply Chain Business Forum and Exhibition in Ghana’s capital Accra this coming July. The trade fair will focus on current trends, challenges and opportunities in the supply chain sector. As Militzer & Münch is sponsoring the event, we also have the opportunity to present our products and services on site.

What are the main goods Militzer & Münch transports to and from Africa?

African countries import a variety of consumer goods, including electronics, vehicles, clothing and household appliances. The primary exports are raw materials as well as agricultural and pharmaceutical products.

What challenges have you experienced with transports to and from Africa?

Many parts of Africa have only insufficient transport infrastructure, both in terms of roads, railways and ports. This sometimes leads to bottlenecks, delays and increased transportation costs. In addition, different customs regulations, complicated documentation requirements and inefficient customs clearance procedures also complicate and delay transportation. Instability in some regions and cultural differences can also hinder transportation. But as long as we are prepared for these hurdles, there is always a way to overcome them. After all, challenging markets are our specialty.

What positions have you held at Militzer & Münch so far, and what do you like best about your work?

I have worked in operational positions in air and sea freight for over 20 years. Most recently, I worked in the export department of M&M air sea cargo GmbH in Frankfurt for 15 years. In 2022, I participated in our internal Talent Management Program, where one of our tasks was to identify promising new markets. We singled out Africa as one of the most interesting areas.

I really enjoy working for Militzer & Münch because the company is characterized by a family environment, motivated colleagues, openness and diversity. What I particularly like about my current position as Trade Lane Manager is that I can work independently. I can really make a difference here. The diverse challenges my job entails motivate me, too.

Donations instead of Christmas campaign

Hof, 31.01.2024. For years now, Militzer & Münch Germany has traditionally decided to forgo a Christmas campaign in favour of donations to various charitable organizations. This time, a total of EUR 5,500 went to Diakonie Hochfranken, the SySTEP daycare center in Schwarzenbach/Straßdorf and the MPS Gesellschaft Deutschland.

M&M Germany donated EUR 1,500 to the St. Elisabeth youth welfare center run by Diakonie Hochfranken. The young people cared for live together in different residential groups, experience affection and community and are supported in all life situations. The educational team provides the group residents with advice and support on all personal, family and everyday issues and helps them to establish new perspectives and positive experiences – the aim is to enable them to deal with past unfavorable experiences and developments so that they can face their future with greater strength. This also includes great shared experiences and leisure activities that enrich the children and young people and allow them to grow internally: during the summer vacations, for example, the residential groups go on vacation!

Photo: Hannes Geißler, Branch Manager of M&M Militzer & Münch GmbH, Hof, and Jasmin Pressler, Diakonie Hochfranken


The children’s day care center in Schwarzenbach/Straßdorf is an exceptional facility with a unique selling point. EUR 1,500 also went there.

It is probably the only “fire department daycare center” where regular activities are carried out with the fire department and the weekly forest day gives the children space and time to try things out and gain new experiences in different settings. The 20 girls and boys supervised there are allowed to go into the fire station, the fire engine or even hold the fire hose themselves. The enthusiasm of the kids and their shining eyes speak for themselves during such activities!

Photo: Viola Rockelmann (left), Managing Director of M&M Militzer & Münch Deutsche Holding GmbH, and Hannes Geißler (back left), Head of the Hofer M&M branch, handing over the cheque

(Copyright Foto: Sandra Hüttner)



Another organization that is particularly close to Militzer & Münch Germany’s heart, the MPS (Gesellschaft für Mukopolysaccharidosen e.V.), received a donation of EUR 2,500.

Mucopolysaccharidoses, mucolipidoses and mannosidoses are rare, congenital metabolic diseases. Due to an enzyme defect – to put it simply – the “waste disposal” in the cells does not function properly. The constantly accumulating “waste” leads to steadily increasing, severe physical and mental problems. However, the diseases vary greatly in their progression – from relatively mild to very severe. Many patients do not grow up.

Photo: Thomas Winter, Managing Director of M&M Militzer & Münch GmbH and Antje Petersen MPS, at the handover of the donation

Our Active Role in Interest Groups: Holger Seehusen Joins the SLV Board

Frankfurt, 10th October 2023. M&M Militzer & Münch GmbH and M&M air sea cargo GmbH continue to pursue their proven strategy of actively participating in interest groups to promote the perception of corporate interests. The brand, Militzer & Münch, remains a well-known entity in the market even after 143 years.

Recently, the German subsidiary of M&M received significant recognition for its efforts. Holger Seehusen, Managing Director of M&M Deutschland, was appointed to the board of the Hessen/Rheinland-Pfalz Freight and Logistics Association (SLV) during their recent elections. This association represents 400 companies with a total of approximately 40,000 employees.

Daniel Hensel of Hensel Logistik assumed the role of Chairman of the Board, and the SLV board was further strengthened by competent members, including Christian Eichmeier of Contargo in Frankfurt, Michael Peters of Intertrans in Bobenheim-Roxheim, and Alexander Steinberg of Edgar Graß Spedition in Beselich.

“For us, it’s not just about raising awareness of our brand, but also about having our interests represented by the SLV in the market and in politics,” says Holger Seehusen.

“In the pharmaceutical sector, every day is a journey of discovery”

There is probably no other sector that imposes such high demands on the handling of goods as the pharmaceutical sector. Drugs and other medical products are particularly sensitive; even the smallest temperature fluctuation can impair their effectiveness and shelf life. The highest levels of quality, hygiene and safety are therefore crucial when handling pharmaceutical products – and logistics service providers who want to operate in the pharmaceutical sector have to prove that they meet the required EU standards as part of their GDP (Good Distribution Practices) certification.

Militzer & Münch Germany committed to achieving GDP certification in 2021 – with success: Last year, the country organization attained the certificate, with Charlotte Dürr, Group Project Manager Pharmaceuticals at Militzer & Münch, the leading force. We talked to her about the importance of the certification for the logistics provider, what opportunities it opens up, and about her personal passion for and further plans in the field of pharmaceutical logistics.

Ms. Dürr, the GDP certification is an important milestone for Militzer & Münch Germany. Would you please describe what this means for the national subsidiary and also for you personally?

First of all, one has to state that the certification process is very demanding and extensive. The hardest part was to create a basic framework of documentation and standards that covers all areas of the EU GDP directive. In addition, our carriers need to be thoroughly checked and assessed for their quality and compliance with the guidelines on their part.

With our quality system, we can ensure the responsible and competent handling of the sensitive goods – be it from Munich to Nairobi or from Berlin to Ulaanbaatar. This helps us now to continuously certify further locations of the group, as with the successful GDP certification of Militzer & Münch Germany, we have also aroused interest in other country units. As a result, we have a great working group of local GDP managers, sales experts, and quality managers. In Poland, we successfully passed the certification audit in March; in Georgia, we are currently planning the first audit.

Many country organizations already have experience in the various product categories and see great growth potential, especially in Southeastern Europe and Central Asia. The healthcare sector is of great importance for the entire Militzer & Münch Group, and developing this product opens up a whole range of new opportunities for us.

What exactly are the new opportunities for Militzer & Münch Germany that result from the certification?

Worldwide, the healthcare market is booming, and Germany is one of the market leaders. As a GDP-certified logistics service provider, we can now participate in this sector to a wholly different extent, open up new markets, and address a larger clientele.

The first sales initiatives we launched after successful certification showed quick results: We received many requests for quotations both for full truck loads by road, including numerous shipments to Central Asia and as far as Mongolia, and by sea and air to various destinations in Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia, as well as for imports from America. Within the Militzer & Münch Group, M&M air sea cargo GmbH is responsible for GDP compliant transports by air and sea freight, as well as by rail.

Moreover, we can support the medical supply of many war and crisis areas while maintaining quality standards. There is also great interest in refrigerated transports by rail. Here, we benefit above all from an increased interest in reducing emissions.

Can you give us some examples of projects that Militzer & Münch Germany is already handling in the pharmaceutical sector?

At this time, we are handling transports of pharmaceuticals and medical equipment to Africa, Asia, and Europe, as well as shipments within Europe. In addition, we have imports of raw materials, accessories and medical cannabis. The high level of customer demand indicates that certification was exactly the right step to take. We are convinced that it will enable us to significantly expand our activities in the field of pharmaceutical logistics, and we are looking forward to intensifying our cooperation with other Militzer & Münch country units in cross-border transports of pharmaceuticals and medical devices.

With your dedication and commitment, you have been instrumental in driving the pharma project forward. Where does your enthusiasm for this area in particular come from?

After my qualification as a forwarding specialist and subsequent studies in International Transport Management and Marketing, I started at Militzer & Münch in 2018, initially as Sales Coordinator, but then took over product responsibility for Aviation Logistics. With the onset of the pandemic, I was looking for a new task and started to develop the Pharma Logistics division – a decision I have not regretted to this day! The products with their specific requirements and transport conditions are certainly a challenge, but the market is absolutely viable, and working in this field is a journey of discovery for me every day, due to the wide variety of products and customers. And by the way, I have probably always had a penchant for special products: in my bachelor thesis, I devised a strategic market analysis for the transport of horses by air.

What are your plans for the future?

We want to further expand our pharmaceutical logistics network so we can offer our customers worldwide the best possible service and products. Where this is not feasible via our own Militzer & Münch network, we cooperate with local partners who, of course, have to meet our requirements and also the GDP standards. The search for such partners, which is not easy in every country, is currently one of our most important tasks.

We want to further expand our pharmaceutical logistics network so we can offer our customers worldwide the best possible service and products. Where this is not feasible via our own Militzer & Münch network, we cooperate with local partners who, of course, have to meet our requirements and GDP standards as well. The search for such partners, which is not easy in every country, is currently one of our most important tasks.

We generally see great potential in pharmaceutical shipments to Central Asia, as well as to Southeastern Europe and Africa. In Central Asia and Southeastern Europe, we are already operating our own organization in almost every country. And in East and West Africa, for example, we have just successfully found reliable partners. For our activities in the region, I benefit from participating in the Militzer & Münch Talent Development Programme in 2022: As an international team, we had the opportunity to analyze new markets – and with Africa, the focus was on a market that is now emerging as one of our core markets for pharmaceutical transports.



Thank you very much für your time!

Seasons greetings

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

As the Christmas holidays are drawing near, we wish you joyful, restful days among family and friends.
We would like to take the occasion to express our thanks to you for the good cooperation in 2022.
For the challenges of the upcoming year, we wish you good luck, success, health and personal contentment.

M&M Tajikistan: best of the year

Dushanbe. First prize for M&M Tajikistan: the team under Managing Director (MD) Aziz Sharipov won the official competition for best exporter of the year 2021 in the logistics segment. The competition is held every year by the Government’s Export Agency; the award ceremony for the country’s best exporting companies took place at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Dushanbe on November 28.

Proud of this honor is Aziz Sharipov: “It is a great reward for all the work the team has done this year, and it further strengthens the M&M brand name.” The picture shows the M&M Tajikistan team with MD Sharipov (third from left) with the trophy.

Militzer & Münch: growth in China

Militzer & Münch is stepping up activities in China – with more employees and new branches. Local sales are being strengthened, and services are being expanded, which offers more opportunities for customers.

After strong growth in China, Militzer & Münch is now adjusting its organization in the country: “We are internally splitting our activities into North and South China from now on”, explains Andreas Löwenstein, Regional Managing Director Asia / Far East. “At the helm of both, we have very experienced managers, to whom the North and South Chinese branches will report in the future.”

Regional Director for China South is Carl Gao, the former branch manager in Shanghai. Jeffery Guo, 45, took over as head of China North in October. He has been at home in the logistics industry for over 20 years, including more than ten years as branch manager with a renowned international logistics service provider. With his expertise, he will support the northern Chinese branches with immediate effect, and further expand business in the region.

A greater footprint in North China

“The new management appointment for North China is just one element in Militzer & Münch’s general growth strategy in the region,” says Elyar Sherkati, Managing Director of Militzer & Münch China. “This year, we are strengthening our presence also by taking on additional employees, for instance at our branch offices in Tianjin as well as in Qingdao, one of China’s most important logistics locations.” Moreover, the Qingdao team was recently able to move into new office premises, and in Zhengzhou and Changchun in the northeast, Militzer & Münch opened two new sales offices.

In Shenyang, also in northeastern China, the company recently began operating a new branch office. Branch manager Colon Sun, who has already been working in the international freight forwarding industry for several years and has a very good knowledge of the market in northeastern China in particular, is in charge of developing and running the new location.

“Shenyang is a major transportation hub in the north of the country. We are glad to be able to further expand our presence at this location and in North China in general, to win experienced specialists, and thus to offer high-quality logistics services to our customers,” says Andreas Löwenstein.

The network of locations is expanding

Another new branch office expands Militzer & Münch’s network of locations in Central China: in September, an office was opened in Wuhan, capital of the Central Chinese province of Hubei and an important transport hub in China for air, rail, road and sea transport. The aim: to offer customers the full range of transport and logistics services, and to boost local sales. Branch manager in Wuhan is Jacky Zhu, who previously worked as sales manager at Militzer & Münch China in Wuhan for almost five years, and is thus very familiar with the local market and customers. He still reports to Carl Gao as before.

With the two new branches in Shenyang and Wuhan, the Militzer & Münch China network now comprises a total of 13 locations: Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shenyang, Urumqi, Shanghai, Ningbo, Wuhan, Chongqing, Shenzhen, as well as the two sales offices in Zhengzhou and Changchun.

“Strengthening our activities in China is part of our growth strategy,” says Andreas Löwenstein. “We look forward to further driving this positive development with the new offices and employees on board!”

Highly motivated, ready for the future

‘New Markets’, ‘Industry 4.0 along the New Silk Road’, ‘New Risk Management’ – on October 10, online presentations on these diverse topics marked the end of the Talent Management Programme 2022, designed by TransInvest in cooperation with the Institute of Supply Chain Management at the University of St. Gallen.

In early summer, 21 young talents from various TransInvest companies had already convened in St. Gallen for the first teaching module of the in-service training course. In terms of topics, the three days focused on Strategy & Controlling, Supply Chain Resilience & Sustainability and Process Management. At the beginning of September, the participants met in Istanbul for the second, three-day module. In challenging, interactive teaching units, they gained in-depth insight into the areas of Leadership, Digitalization & Business Innovation, and Marketing & Sales, among others.

Alongside these tangible teaching contents, the Talent Management Programme also focuses on soft skills: thus, teamwork and the strengthening of the group spirit for example are decisive factors for living the TransInvest culture.

“In addition, the modules give the young talents the opportunity to expand their international network and experience the TransInvest culture first-hand by working closely with participants from other countries,” says Ralph Stadler, Head of Group Human Resources. “That way, our experienced experts and guest lecturers not only train our junior employees professionally, but also promote their personal development.”


A tried-and-tested, new support concept

Exclusive, science-based, practice-oriented: the Talent Management Programme was launched eleven years ago to provide precisely this kind of support for future managers from TransInvest ranks. The aim of the Talent Management Programme is not only to equip participants with logistics and management skills, but also to retain them in the company in the long run.

“Employee retention is extremely important for companies; it is a big challenge,” says Alexei Kovalenko, Chief Financial Officer, TransInvest and Militzer & Münch, and Speaker of M&M Group Management. “We are glad that we have been able to successfully meet this challenge with the Talent Management Programme for many years now. The young talents receive intensive training in all relevant areas and are offered the opportunity to develop individually – and we can fill top positions in the TransInvest Group with highly qualified and motivated junior staff from our own ranks. A win-win situation.”

In 2022, the Talent Management Programme met expectations in every respect – both on the part of the participants and those responsible around Ralph Stadler. With the impulses from the final teamwork presented, the participants are now creating a Personal Development Plan (PDP) with their superiors, a plan which will guide their development in the company over the next few years.

“Our team is the basis of our success”

This year, Paata Kacharava celebrates a very special anniversary: 25 years ago in June, he started as Managing Director of M&M Militzer & Münch Georgia and has been driving the development of the country unit with heart and soul ever since. We talked about his time at Militzer & Münch so far, changes in the logistics industry, and the appeal the business holds for him.

Mr. Kacharava, first of all congratulations on 25 years with Militzer & Münch! That’s a long time; how would you describe it in retrospect?
In summary, I would say it was a very exciting and, in the beginning, also challenging time for me personally. When I joined Militzer & Münch Georgia in 1997, I was the first and only employee of the country unit. Today, our core team consists of six employees, who take care of all projects in the fields of road transport, air and sea freight, as well as of our courier and express services with our partners. The past three years in particular, with the global impact of the Corona pandemic and the political events in Ukraine, have had a major effect on the Georgian economy, and also put our business to the test.

What was your professional career like before you joined Militzer & Münch?
Before switching over to Militzer & Münch and the logistics industry, I had worked in Georgian government institutions for many years, holding various positions in the foreign trade sector; among others, I was responsible for the management of foreign trade relations.

What were the biggest changes you experienced in the subsequent 25 years at Militzer & Münch?
The trade lanes as we know them today and the possibilities they offer, did not exist at all at that time. When I started at Militzer & Münch Georgia, people were dreaming of a Euro-Asian transport corridor and the manifold opportunities it would create – in the course of my career, I was able to witness how this very dream became reality, step by step. Today, the Caucasus and Central Asia are important trading partners for European countries; transports via road, rail, sea, and air to these regions are part of the Militzer & Münch core business. And we are seeing that the demand for products from and connections to these regions continues to grow.

Which industries do your customers come from?
Currently, our most important customers come from the automotive industry, the retail sector, and the pharmaceutical industry. In addition, we work for many local manufacturers who wish to ship their products to the European market.

What is the attraction of the logistics industry for you?
It is clearly the people who work in this sector. Our employees drive our business forward every day with full commitment and know-how; they are the basis of our success. They have significantly contributed to the development we have been able to experience with Militzer & Münch Georgia in the past years, and I am very grateful to them for their commitment. I would also like to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to the Militzer & Münch management, whose support my team and I have always been able to count on in the past. Cooperating with all these people is a great pleasure for me, and I am looking forward to the tasks and projects still lying ahead of us.

Mr. Kacharava, thank you very much for taking the time to talk to us!

Militzer & Münch ist zum modernen Unternehmen gewachsen

Katja Jooß betreut das Controlling sowie die SAP-Entwicklung in der MMcom-Niederlassung im bayerischen Hof. 2021 feierte sie ihr 25-jähriges Dienstjubiläum. Im Interview berichtet sie, wie sich die Arbeit im vergangenen Vierteljahrhundert verändert hat, und was ihr an Militzer & Münch sowie der Logistikbranche gefällt.

Frau Jooß, bitte beschreiben Sie kurz Ihren beruflichen Werdegang. Welche Funktionen haben Sie bei Militzer & Münch durchlaufen?

Ich habe zunächst eine Ausbildung zur Speditionskauffrau gemacht. Anschließend bin ich in der Verwaltung geblieben und war dann einige Zeit im Controlling tätig. Ich übernahm dann nach und nach die Verantwortung für die Entwicklung und Pflege unseres SAP-Systems. Dazu gehören die Benutzer- und Berechtigungspflege, der Anwendersupport in Deutschland und Dubai sowie Supportaufgaben im Controlling. Das ist seit über 20 Jahren ein ständiger Lern- und Entwicklungsprozess, da sich im SAP-Bereich immer wieder neue Projekte, gesetzliche Vorgaben und Herausforderungen ergeben.

Wie hat sich Militzer & Münch in den vergangenen 25 Jahren verändert?

Als ich 1996 anfing, waren Computer noch eine Seltenheit. Im ersten Ausbildungsjahr hatte ich wenig Kontakt mit einem PC. Damals wurde eher mit Akten gearbeitet. Ich war zum Beispiel dafür zuständig, die abweichenden Zeiten der Mitarbeiter, die sich mit Lochkarten im Zeiterfassungsgerät „einstempelten“, nachzupflegen. Das war ein großer Kasten mit einem Ziffernblock zur Eingabe und einem kleinen Bildschirm – heute ist das fast nicht mehr vorstellbar. Alles ist digitalisiert, und die Militzer & Münch-Landesgesellschaften und Büros sind weltweit eng vernetzt. Kunden können ihre Transporte in Echtzeit nachverfolgen. Militzer & Münch ist zu einem modernen Unternehmen gewachsen, aber trotzdem bodenständig geblieben.

Was schätzen Sie an Militzer & Münch?

Das Umfeld, die Arbeitsbedingungen, die Kollegen und die Chefs stimmen einfach. Es gibt neben den gleichbleibenden Aufgaben auch immer wieder neue Herausforderungen und Projekte. Ich kann selbstständig arbeiten, habe aber trotzdem immer die nötige Unterstützung. Militzer & Münch ist ein bodenständiges Traditionsunternehmen. Das passt zu mir.
Wir haben hier in Hof schon seit 25 Jahren Gleitzeit. Hinzu kommt die Möglichkeit, im Homeoffice zu arbeiten, für die ich sehr dankbar bin. Dadurch sind Arbeit und Familie auch während der Zeit im Lockdown gut vereinbar gewesen.

Was fasziniert Sie an der Logistik-Branche?

Ohne Logistik bewegt sich nichts auf der Welt. Es beeindruckt mich, wenn ich im Intranet unsere Sondertransporte verfolge. Wie zum Beispiel große Maschinenteile oder sogar ganze Anlagen von einem an das andere Ende der Welt bewegt werden und wie die einzelnen Militzer & Münch Gesellschaften dabei Hand in Hand arbeiten, finde ich faszinierend.

Was machen Sie in Ihrer Freizeit?

Ich bin verheiratet und habe zwei Kinder. Mein Mann und ich gehen gerne in die Natur, wandern und unternehmen viel mit den Kindern. Auch Reisen und Skifahren stehen ganz oben auf unserer Liste. Hier in Hof ist es sehr schön, wir können im Sommer im Mittelgebirge wandern und im Winter Ski fahren. Alles ist in kurzer Zeit erreichbar, es gibt einen schönen See und auch kulturell hat die Region viel zu bieten. Darüber hinaus bin ich seit vielen Jahren ehrenamtlich in der Leichtathletik tätig – früher aktiv und heute als Abteilungsleiterin, Trainerin und im Vorstand.

“Flat hierarchies give us space to implement ideas”

Holger Seehusen is a member of the Militzer & Münch Group Management and Managing Director of the German M&M air sea cargo GmbH. Thanks to his 30 years of experience in the logistics industry, he is particularly familiar with the market in Asia. In the interview, he explains why the Militzer & Münch Group’s business has developed well in the past months, and why he considers it a privilege to work in the logistics industry.

Mr. Seehusen, you are responsible for the Militzer & Münch Air & Sea business. How have the two segments developed this year?

Holger Seehusen: Since 2018, based in Frankfurt, I have been responsible for the Air & Sea activities in Germany. As a member of the Militzer & Münch Group Management, I am also responsible for the product development of the Air & Sea sector worldwide. We drive the product development in our de-centrally organized group of companies taking a joint approach and banking on a corresponding implementation, which also means a certain amount of persuasion work needs to be done at the individual country units. Currently, we are working on various projects in these business segments. In particular, the focus here is on sustainability. I must say this is a very interesting task.

Last year, after the difficult COVID-19 months in spring, business development in the Air & Sea activities, but also in particular in Rail transports, was very satisfactory. This extremely positive development has continued in the current fiscal year. Thanks in part to the restructuring measures implemented in previous years, we were already well positioned at the start of the pandemic, and able to master the temporary uncertainty in the industry.

In recent years, we invested heavily in our Trade Lane Management for the USA, Asia and India regions, and opened a subsidiary in Malaysia, thus laying important groundwork for further growth. Yet despite the generally positive sentiment in the industry, I believe we must not allow ourselves to be blinded by the currently good results. Challenges such as digitalization, junior staff, promoting young talent, reducing CO₂ emissions in transport handling and the resulting shift in procurement markets are topics that we have on our agenda. The answers to these issues are indicative of the future of our industry.

What distinguishes Militzer & Münch from the competition?

Holger Seehusen: Militzer & Münch is a family-owned company, and we see ourselves as a medium-sized enterprise. To me, this means that we have high social responsibility towards our employees – probably more than is the case with other large companies. Flat hierarchies give us the leeway to implement ideas. Our colleagues learn early on to take responsibility themselves and to simply try things out. Success and failure depend on open communication and constructive feedback, all of which serve to support personal development in leadership.

Customer satisfaction is Militzer & Münch’s top priority. Where are you in terms of customer satisfaction at the moment?

Holger Seehusen: Before the pandemic, we did a survey among our customers – and at that time, satisfaction was high. In view of the shortage across all modes of transport, the current situation is, frankly speaking, somewhat different. In supply chain management, the general conditions throughout the industry are not satisfactory at this time. It is important to inform customers at an early stage if a transport cannot be carried out as planned. Our customers in the textile industry in particular sometimes have tight contracts with their customers, with conditions where every day really counts. We enter into dialog with the customer very early on, and try to offer alternative transport routes and solutions. Often, we cannot influence whether, for example, a container arrives later, and at a different destination port, than originally planned. The subsequent hinterland transport has then to be rescheduled at short notice.

At some airport warehouses, there is a backlog of several thousand tons! Truckers sometimes wait 48 hours before they can load their freight. In the meantime, some trucking companies have stopped accepting orders that involve picking up goods at airports. In some cases, the shipments may have arrived on time, but it takes long to locate them in the crammed warehouses of airlines and handling agents.

In addition to transportation bottlenecks, we are also facing challenges in finding skilled personnel. Since the September 11 attacks, very strict rules have been in place for personnel at airports – and this also applies for the commercial staff at the transshipment warehouse. Anyone who wants to work there needs a background check as required by the Aviation Security Act.

Have there been any new products in the Air & Sea business in recent months?

Holger Seehusen: We have developed a relatively new product together with our Greater China Trade Lane Management in Frankfurt and our country unit in China: from China by truck via Kazakhstan to Europe, among other things to deal with the shortage of cargo space on other modes of transport. We can draw on our expertise and benefit from having our own country units in Central Asia here. We have been offering this transport alternative to our customers with growing success since the end of 2020.Another exciting project is in the planning stage, namely an air – road service between China and Europe. From Shanghai, goods are to be transported by air to the Kazakh city of Almaty, and from there on to Europe by truck. As a freight forwarder with particular expertise in niche markets, we are experienced in such alternative transport models. In view of high freight rates and a shortage of capacity for sea transport, this product is certainly an attractive alternative for our customers.

As a matter of fact, we can claim to have recognized and understood the potential of rail transport between Asia and Europe at an early stage. The new Silk Road still holds a lot of potential for the Militzer & Münch Group. Which is why, some time ago, we incorporated the Rail segment into M&M air sea cargo GmbH; a team of four coordinates all our rail transports from Düsseldorf.

From the Düsseldorf office, we have also further expanded our project logistics by sea segment. In Hamburg, we would like to continue growing in air freight, especially in AOG together with our colleagues in China. Moreover, the Militzer & Münch Group is striving for GDP certification, the certificate of Good Distribution Practice, so we can expand our service portfolio for pharmaceutical companies.

For some time now, container shortages and transport bottlenecks have been affecting the industry, and Militzer & Münch is feeling the effects, too. Have there been any shifts in transport modes?

Holger Seehusen: Oh, absolutely. To give an example, we had to fly 40 tons of steel from Europe to Mexico – a shipment that had originally been planned as ocean freight. Our great advantage is that we cover all modes of transport and can quickly offer alternative solutions. One thing applies here, however: we need to keep an eye on the liquidity of our customers and partners, who in turn depend on their own customers to pay on time. Some shipments were planned well in advance, but freight rates skyrocketed, and that’s not easy for every customer to shoulder. We always have to be beware of financial risks.

You’ve been active in the logistics sector for a long time. What fascinates you about the industry?

Holger Seehusen: I have been at home in the industry since 1991. Before I joined the Militzer & Münch Group in 2018, I had been with Rhenus Logistics for over 17 years in various areas of responsibility and working in different regions. This included Germany as well as interesting assignments in CIS countries, but especially in Asia and then for many years in Southeast Asia, before I decided to go back to Germany in 2016. After returning, I realized after a while that it was just not my “home” anymore, and that I wanted to try something new. Despite my long years in this industry, I have a lot of fun and am still learning every day. Frankly, I feel it’s a privilege to still have that fun and that daily challenge – that’s what drives me. I think I can transfer that enthusiasm to my colleagues with whom I work directly. At least that’s what I hope, but my professional environment is a better judge of that.

What advice would you give to young people who want to pursue a career in the logistics industry?

Holger Seehusen: The industry is very diverse and offers great development opportunities. What is particularly appealing is the internationality, which often gives us a different perspective on things. If you’re curious, you can make good use of the opportunities this industry offers – and that’s what I hope to convey every day with my management approach.

Our challenge as an industry is to improve the image and the multifaceted opportunities of the profession. For example, as part of our cooperation with the University of St. Gallen (HSG), we sponsor the annual Supply Chain Innovation Day and, in September 2021, were part of the panel. In my view, this is exactly the right approach to being visible as a company and getting more young people interested in logistics.

“Anyone who is content with the status quo will quickly be left behind”

Andreas Löwenstein has 28 years of experience in logistics. He has been working for Militzer & Münch since December 2019 – and in the position of Regional Managing Director Asia / Far East since April 2020. He studied sinology and has an affinity for Asia and China in particular. In this interview, he tells us what fascinates him about Asia, and what plans he has for Militzer & Münch in the eastern part of the region.

Mr. Löwenstein, you have almost three decades of experience in the logistics industry. What motivated you to become a logistics specialist?

Andreas Löwenstein: I studied sinology – Chinese studies – and during that time I spent two and a half years in China. Other countries and cultures, people and markets have always fascinated me – which makes the logistics industry a perfect fit for me. It also gives me the opportunity to travel a lot and use my language skills. In the course of my career, I have lived in China, Japan, Singapore, Thailand and the U.S.  – all in all, I spent 31 years in these countries.

Have you previously worked in industries other than logistics?

Andreas Löwenstein: Before that, I worked in the tourism industry. Incidentally, these industries have a lot in common. Tourism is also about working with agents, coordinating projects together with many partners, and selling products. In both industries, you need creativity and the ability to find new ways of doing things – they make the difference between success and failure.

How is the Militzer & Münch business in Asia going?

Andreas Löwenstein: Business in Asia is going well. The region is very dynamic. But that also means that conditions are changing at breakneck speed. Anyone who is content with the status quo here will quickly be left behind by the competition. It’s part of our daily routine to deal with special economic zones, tariff-free trade between defined subregions or bilateral country partnerships – and while this often presents us with challenges, it also holds many opportunities. There are currently many more opportunities for investment in Asia than in Europe. For example, new ports are being built to attract industry. Of course, this is also associated with risks, because political tensions, trade restrictions and sudden obstructions to the goods flow are typical of the region. In addition, there are fluctuations in exchange rates here the likes of which have not been seen in Europe for a long time. Thus, product development, network expansion, and legal and currency issues are the focus of our work every day.

What are the Militzer & Münch goals in Asia?

Andreas Löwenstein:
 In regions like Central Asia, Militzer & Münch is a nose ahead of the competition; in most of Asia, though, we are still at the beginning. We are working on finding the right partners, formulating prudent goals, and investing with foresight. In addition to our branches in China, which have been established for a long time, we only have a small country unit in Sri Lanka and a start-up in Malaysia. We want to further expand our network and our activities within Asia.

Which business units are most successful in Asia?

Andreas Löwenstein: Transports between Asia and Europe as well as intra-Asian transports are both largely carried out by sea and air freight. We work with numerous small and large as well as national and regional shipping companies and airlines. Road and rail transports within Asia are reaching their limits due to the geographical givens. There are still development opportunities here. However, due to the specific expertise of our Militzer & Münch colleagues and, of course, of InterRail, we have an advantage over our competitors, especially in rail transport between Asia and Europe – here, we see great potential to position ourselves even more strongly in the Asian market. The rail market is currently booming, and even road transports from China to Europe have recently become part of our portfolio.

How has COVID-19 affected Militzer & Münch’s business in Asia?

Andreas Löwenstein: Of course, the economic volume decreased, and the market slump in Europe was clearly felt here – especially in comparison to the past years. However, this applies to the entire logistics industry. In particular, we have seen a significant decline in the transport of spare parts for aircraft. This was particularly felt by our colleagues in Hamburg and Beijing, because less air traffic during the pandemic also means that fewer spare parts are needed. However, the Asian market is so dynamic that we were able to cope well with these declines. Even during the pandemic, a lot is happening in Asia and there are plenty of opportunities. In the meantime, flights within China are operating almost exactly as they did before the pandemic.

What has changed for you personally since the pandemic began?

Andreas Löwenstein: The pandemic showed me how much is feasible without traveling. Video conferencing has become established in recent months – it saves a lot of time and money. Nevertheless, logistics remains a people-to-people business. Personal contact with customers and colleagues is an essential part of it. I’m already looking forward to traveling in Asia again to maintain old partnerships and build new ones.

How do you spend your free time?

Andreas Löwenstein: I am very much interested in history and culture. Having lived in six different countries in my life and having traveled a lot, I have been able to indulge this interest extensively.

“We are able to react to a crisis fast and appropriately”

Alexei Kovalenko, Guillaume de Laage de Meux and Nikolaus Kohler – as members of the Group Management of M&M Militzer & Münch International Holding AG, they have a close eye on the business of the individual country units. In an interview, they report on how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the group so far, and how the demand for transport is developing in different industries.

The Militzer & Münch Group is active in 29 countries. The extent of the pandemic varies locally, as do government regulations. How are you dealing with the situation?

Alexei Kovalenko: The safety of our employees has top priority. With the exception of some warehouse space, we count among the asset-light companies. Thus, it was relatively easy for us to have many employees working from home. All things considered, we always act in accordance with local requirements and regulations. But of course, we notice restrictions and decreased transport volumes in international goods traffic. In the West, government support has helped us a lot, including in France and Germany. This has somewhat mitigated the decline in orders. In Germany, for example, we put some employees on short-time working when air traffic came to a virtual standstill and our freight could not be transported on board passenger aircraft.

Nikolaus Kohler: The Militzer & Münch management is struggling with the challenges in all 29 countries and is taking the necessary steps to master the extraordinary situation. Especially in Central Asia, governments have imposed rigorous measures in some cases. In these countries in particular, I assume that not all transport companies will make it through the crisis. However, the Militzer & Münch Group is well positioned – it remains to be seen whether the crisis will lead to a market shakeout from which individual logistics companies will benefit.

“We are a people’s business. We all had to adapt and use virtual means of communication to maintain contacts.”

Alexei Kovalenko
Chief Financial Officer, TransInvest and Militzer & Münch; Speaker of the Militzer & Münch Group Management



How did business develop when more and more countries announced the lockdown?

Guillaume de Laage de Meux: In France, the lockdown was a drastic experience for the entire industry. On March 16, the French government decided that the population should stay at home and restrict their mobility – in April and May our activities fell by 50 percent. At that time, we put our efforts into securing our unit financially. We were able to absorb the losses with the help of loans from French banks. In the meantime, we have managed to somewhat stabilize our turnover again. Since July we have had a good order situation – although not yet back to the level seen before the pandemic. How things will develop over the next few months depends, among other things, on the impact of the second wave of the pandemic.

Nikolaus Kohler:
 The pandemic has also had a major impact on our business in the Central Asia region. Some countries ignored the situation for a long time, others closed their borders immediately and with all the consequences this entailed. This not only led to an almost total social standstill, but also to a dramatic slump in exports and imports. In Uzbekistan, for example, imports from the Far East continue, but trade with Europe has fallen sharply. The government has halted infrastructure projects and is currently investing more in the healthcare sector. Turkmenistan closed its borders, with the exception of the railroad borders and the Baku-Turkmenbashi ferry. International trade and imports have almost come to a standstill. Due to this total lockdown, the international oil companies have also withdrawn from Turkmenistan – which caused our crane rental business to almost come to a halt. In Georgia and also in Azerbaijan, the buying mood of the population has fallen sharply, which affects domestic transports and thus also our order volumes. In Georgia, there are parliamentary elections this year, but at least the borders have been open again since October – imports and exports are running again. In Azerbaijan, COVID-19 is under control, at least for the time being, but the conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region has had a major impact on the country. Our teams in Turkey, however, are coping very well with the crisis. Despite the lockdown, they were able to close these past months with a positive result.

How has the demand of individual industries developed?

Guillaume de Laage de Meux: In the automotive and textile sectors in particular, we experienced a temporarily sharp decline in transports – especially in the South West Europe and Maghreb regions. Business is slowly stabilizing again, but has not yet returned to normal. It remains to be seen how the coming months will develop.

Alexei Kovalenko: China was the first country to “awake” from the lockdown. Together, the teams in Germany and China carried out several airfreight transports of protective masks etc. Demand from the chemical industry that produces disinfectants, detergents and cleaning agents also increased. These positive developments helped to at least somewhat mitigate the decline in orders from other industries. One thing is quite clear: international goods trade needs to continue to pick up speed. It might well be that some companies rethink their supply chains and go back to more local sourcing again as a result of their experience with the pandemic. But this is not going to happen overnight.

“The business of our unit EMEX in Kazakhstan is developing well, our customers have increasingly requested CEP shipments for e-commerce.”

Nikolaus Kohler
Regional Managing Director Middle East / Central Asia, Business Development Switzerland, M&M Militzer & Münch International Holding AG

How has the pandemic changed your daily cooperation with customers?

Alexei Kovalenko: We are a people’s business; we live from the intensive contacts with our customers. The fact that personal meetings with customers and potential customers are not possible or only possible to a very limited extent impairs business. We all had to adapt and make use of virtual communication tools to maintain contacts. In this field,  fundamental rethinking is surely required, as obviously this challenge is likely to remain with us for some time yet.

Nikolaus Kohler: 
In Kazakhstan, however, the limited contact opportunities have not prevented us from expanding our CEP business. The business of our EMEX unit is developing well, and our customers have increasingly requested CEP shipments for e-commerce. One reason is certainly that shopping centers are closed. This is what drives the online B2C business.

“All in all, our actions so far during the pandemic have strengthened my belief that Militzer & Münch is a truly agile company.”

Guillaume de Laage de Meux
Managing Director Militzer & Münch France, Regional Managing Director South West Europe / Maghreb and member of the Militzer & Münch Board of Directors

Is a cautious outlook on the coming months possible?

Alexei Kovalenko: At the end of the first quarter of 2020, our outlook for the rest of the year was pessimistic. However, this changed from June onwards, and July and August went reasonably well. Demand has recovered, and the volumes transported have increased. We have not yet recorded any significant payment defaults or even bankruptcies among our customers. But we need to remain vigilant. We are currently planning for 2021 – with the first three quarters of 2020 always in mind.

Nikolaus Kohler: The development in some countries confirms that our group is well positioned. Our still relatively young joint venture in Serbia, for example, has been on a growth course since it was founded last year. The opening of the logistics facility in Belarus is a positive signal, too. Dubai is also developing well – thanks in part to the substantial business volume of our main customer from the food and beverage industry.

Guillaume de Laage de Meux: All in all, our actions so far during the pandemic have strengthened my belief that Militzer & Münch is a truly agile company. The last few months have shown that we are capable of reacting quickly and appropriately to a crisis. That is why I am very proud of our team and look forward to the future with confidence.

“We Are the Experts for Difficult Markets”

The Militzer & Münch Group aims to continue on its growth path in the coming years.  In an interview, Alexei Kovalenko, member of the Militzer & Münch Group Management, explains where the biggest growth potential lies. 

How would you describe Militzer & Münch in a few words?

Alexei Kovalenko: With a great deal of pioneering spirit, a small forwarding company, founded 140 years ago, was turned by the founders and their successors into an international logistics services provider that has become an expert especially in niche markets. Still family-owned and independent, we want to live this entrepreneurship also in future and open up further difficult markets for our customers. While, of course, bearing in mind trends and changes owed to political and economic developments, we at the same time bank on traditional values such as loyalty, integrity, and respect.

What are the strengths of Militzer & Münch?

Alexei Kovalenko: For a long time already, we have been regarded as one of the leading logistics services providers in Eurasia and North Africa. This geographic view, however, sells us short: We are the specialists for difficult markets, we create individual transport solutions for our customers also under difficult conditions.

What distinguishes Militzer & Münch from its competitors?

Alexei Kovalenko: In some respect we are indeed practically unique: unlike our competitors, we operate our own country units with local management in difficult markets, for instance in Central Asia. Often, our international competitors only send ex-pats abroad, and the local competition lacks the international knowhow. Thus, to some extent, our local expertise combined with international standards makes us unique in the logistics sector.

Which markets and regions do you regard as promising?

Alexei Kovalenko: For us as a flexible medium size enterprise, both the classic trade lanes like Europe-Maghreb and China-Europe as well as the emerging markets are promising. We recently started an initiative to extend our activities to include African countries. In North Africa, we have our own country units, some of them for decades – but we are seeing that Ethiopia, for instance, is a promising logistics market, too. Over the next few months, we will analyze markets in Africa and examine the market situation and demand on the side of existing and potential new customers.

Another example is Southeastern Europe. We have achieved a strong market position in Bulgaria, but not in the neighboring countries. In 2019, we had the opportunity to enter into a joint venture with Invictus, a logistics company in Serbia, and business is developing well.  We want to continue on our expansion course also in other countries of the region.

In which business sector – road transport, airfreight, sea freight, project logistics – do you see the biggest growth potential?

Alexei Kovalenko: We can’t generalize and limit this to one segment. Our maxim is, it must be worth it. We don’t aim for growth at any price, for we offer quality service; a fair margin for high-quality performance must be possible. We regularly check our activities: which of them are profitable, which aren’t? The strengths and weaknesses of the individual Militzer & Münch companies – we operate local units from Morocco to China – have to be taken into account. Thus, on some trade lanes and for some services, we cooperate with selected external partners, which allows us to remain efficient and profitable.

Especially on the China-Europe trade lane, we are aiming to further develop intercontinental overland transportation, i.e. rail freight. More and more, sustainability and economic pressure are inducing importers and exporters alike to opt for the train instead of the plane. With transit times of ten or fewer days on this route, rail freight might become interesting also for the e-commerce sector. We keep an eye also on further developments in the Belt-and-Road Initiative – over the next years, there will be big opportunities for our customers, and thus for us, too.

Today, all eyes are on China for other reasons. From China, the corona virus has spread worldwide and especially in Europe. The current situation is an extraordinarily challenging one for each of us personally and for our economy. It is sincerely to be hoped that the spread of the corona virus can be slowed down by the numerous measures taken and that the global economy will soon recover.

The focus is on customer satisfaction. What distinguishes Militzer & Münch in this respect?

Alexei Kovalenko: Our customers rely on our meeting their often challenging requirements: products with complicated handling, not-so-everyday destinations. Therefore, we bank on competence on developing our specialists, and on local market expertise. Our customers don’t contact the company headquarters, but our local branch offices. They want to work with one defined contact person who manages their project from beginning to end, who keeps abreast of matters and takes responsibility. We are therefore also keen on enhancing the knowhow of our teams; the relaunch of the M&M Talent Management Program ensures the competence of our junior executives. We support the expertise of our teams with our robust and flexibly adaptable IT processes. Our in-house IT company for instance designs individual tracking and tracing solutions for our customers.

“Unlike our competitors, we operate our own country units with local management in difficult markets, for instance in Central Asia.”

Alexei Kovalenko
Member of the Militzer & Münch Group Management

Could Militzer & Münch intensify the cooperation between the individual country units and increase growth that way?

Alexei Kovalenko: Our country units generate their business locally and “live” from their local customer base. At the same time, they can benefit from the strengths of other Militzer & Münch companies, without being forced to cooperate, on the basis of the “right of first refusal” principle. There are cases in the Group where this works well.

At this time, the Militzer & Münch Group is led by Group Management. What are the plans for the coming months?

Alexei Kovalenko: The Militzer & Münch Group is run on a decentralized basis – this has developed over time and is part of the corporate culture. The operational responsibility for results and success lies with the country units and the regional managers, who together form Group Management, i.e. the extended management of the group; together with the Board of Directors they lead the Militzer & Münch Group. In charge of coordination and alignment between the regions is the Speaker of Group Management. (Editor’s note: at the beginning of the year, this task was assigned to Alexei Kovalenko.)

Topics concerning the entire Group such as business development and digitization regularly feature on the agenda of the joint meetings of Board of Directors and Group Management.

This modus operandi has proved successful over the past few months – and we will continue working that way also in the coming months.

“Logistics is an essential part of a company’s success”

As Managing Director of the courier and express service provider EMEX Kazakhstan, Tatyana Vorobyeva is familiar with the challenges and opportunities of the logistics industry. Since 2003 EMEX, a Militzer & Münch company, has been offering KEP (courier, express and parcel) services for particularly urgent shipments. The company benefits from the philosophy and global network of FedEx.

Ms. Vorobyeva, what was your motivation to work in the logistics industry when you started your career?

Tatyana Vorobyeva: To me, logistics is not just a necessary business tool – it is a real business driver. It is an opportunity to show not only professional skill, but also creative abilities. From shipment to delivery, the collaboration of many people is involved.  This can be compared to a living organism, which must constantly, clearly and harmoniously function – without ever stopping. Movement and achieving the desired results are my main incentive and motivator.

What are your tasks and biggest challenges at the head of EMEX? 

Tatyana Vorobyeva: For me, the main task of a manager is centrally managing  the employees’ mindsets. I want to motivate each employee and direct their energy so we can achieve our common goals.

EMEX employees at the winter sports company event “EMEX Asiada 2018“

What were the most important milestones for EMEX? 

Tatyana Vorobyeva: The most significant achievement for EMEX was the opportunity to represent both the TNT and FedEx brands in the Kazakh market. In connection with the merger of FedEx and TNT, we implemented many important improvements for a successful transition at a crucial juncture and in a short span of time. We successfully increased our scope and revenue, and improved our business processes and operations. The whole procedure was complex and time-consuming – nevertheless, our team at EMEX fulfilled all necessary actions and requirements. We can call the project “merger FedEx / TNT in Kazakhstan” a true success. EMEX hired more than 45 new employees after the merger of FedEx and TNT. Today the total EMEX workforce exceeds 105 specialists. The company has doubled in size during the transition period, which took approximately three months.

Why has Militzer & Münch implemented the courier and express service EMEX?

Tatyana Vorobyeva: EMEX was founded in 1998. As business became increasingly global, competitive, and rapidly changing, everyone from entrepreneurs to large companies needed accelerated delivery. So they turned to us for flexible and innovative solutions. To offer these became priority number one when the M&M Militzer & Münch Group express delivery service was established.

What services does EMEX offer?

Tatyana Vorobyeva: By now, we have compiled a unique portfolio of services – from express delivery, forwarding and customs clearance of cargoes to complex solutions that completely cover the needs of our existing and potential partners. We deliver more than packages. We simplify international transport by helping customers manage their imports and exports by sea, air, or land. Also, EMEX pays special attention to developing the cooperation with the E-commerce segment. For the convenience of online stores, we introduced a universal product designer that allows our customers to select additional options beyond the basic package of express services – for example cash on delivery or partial redemption.

EMEX is very successful in Kazakhstan. What is the secret of its success?

Tatyana Vorobyeva: One of the main attributes of the success of EMEX is the introduction of the FedEx philosophy into people’s day-to-day business processes. The philosophy focuses on people’s commitment and business success. The people-service-profit philosophy is based on the confidence that by creating a favorable working environment for employees, the company motivates the staff to provide better customer service. This leads to consumer confidence and increases the demand for EMEX / FedEx / TNT products and services.

What are the future goals for EMEX? 

Tatyana Vorobyeva: EMEX supports policies that promote the interests of our customers, team members, owners and businesses. The goals from the point of view of shareholders and the company as a whole are growth and profitability.

Top performance every day

Since 1996, Olivier Antoniotti has been responsible for M&M Militzer & Münch Maroc S.A. as Managing Director. He has substantially contributed to the successful development of the company. In this interview, he talks about how he joined Militzer & Münch 25 years ago, and provides insight into the Moroccan logistics industry. 

What was your motivation to work in the logistics industry?

I did not specifically plan to work in the transport and logistics sector. But when I did my civilian service from 1993 to 1995 as part of a cooperation program at Militzer & Münch Morocco, I knew this job is my vocation.

Thanks to the support of some managers at Militzer & Münch France, I was able to evolve and grow in the company. Every day, I look forward to going to work. With joy and passion, I want to deliver excellent results every day.

Career start at Militzer & Münch

Olivier Antoniotti completed four years of studies at a business school in Lyon, with an exchange year in Barcelona. Then, instead of doing his military service, he served two years at a French company abroad – at M&M Morocco, where he worked in sales from December 1993 to April 1995. After that, he was offered permanent employment as a sales representative.

In 1996, the then Managing Director wanted to leave the company. So, the Board of Directors proposed appointing Olivier Antoniotti Managing Director of Militzer & Münch Morocco. “Of course, I was happy to take on this challenge, looking forward to the tasks ahead”, says Olivier Antoniotti. “It’s a decision I have not regretted to this day – especially when I look at all the hard work we´ve done, and the success of Militzer & Münch in Morocco.”

What are your tasks as Managing Director M&M Militzer & Münch Maroc S.A., what are the biggest challenges? 

I firmly believe that the position of Managing Director comes with a very important responsibility towards the group, but also towards all its employees, customers, partners and shareholders. Not only do I have to ensure that our development is in line with the standards of the Militzer & Münch Group, I also have to provide the strategic framework to ensure a successful future for Militzer & Münch.

I think the best examples are the many investments since 1996 that turned Militzer & Münch Morocco into a renowned logistics services provider in the Kingdom of Morocco.

What were the most important milestones for Militzer & Münch Morocco? 

Apart from the fact that we have a great team of highly qualified employees, the history of Militzer & Münch Morocco history can be summed up in some important events: The opening of the first bonded warehouse in Morocco in February 2000.

  • The creation of our Spedimex transit subsidiary in 2001.
  • The construction of our Casablanca platforms in 2003, Tangiers in 2008 and 2016, as well as Sapino Nouaceur in 2012.
  • Recognition of our work by the Moroccan Transport Federation of the IRU (International Road Transport Union) with the “Award for Road Transport Managers 2013 – Morocco”.
  • The creation of a network of 20 weekly groupage lines in collaboration with the Militzer & Münch network and its partners.
  • The creation of our Air & Sea and Logistics department.
  • And finally, our recent AEO / Safety & Security certification, which places us among the leading group of operators.

All these projects, implemented entirely by Militzer & Münch Morocco, were very extensive, and today make Militzer & Münch Morocco a key player in the market.

The team of M&M Militzer & Münch Maroc S.A.

Militzer & Münch Morocco voluntarily commits to environmental protection and sustainability. What does this commitment look like in everyday business?

In November 2016, Militzer & Münch Morocco was indeed among the cosignatories of the first Moroccan Charter in favor of green logistics. In concrete terms, we have already implemented this commitment by incorporating the new standards into the construction of our Tangiers customs terminal, for instance by installing a solar water heater and glazed roof panels to use natural light. Moreover, we use a system to recuperate all the water on the premises. We upgraded all our trucks to Euro 5 and Euro 6 standards, the forklifts in our warehouses are 100 percent electric. To summarize, I can state that we put our commitment to green logistics into practice every day.

What are Militzer & Münch Morocco’s goals?

Over the past few years, we enhanced our infrastructure. In order to develop strategically, we had to upgrade our IT system. This is important to face such challenges as digitalization – also in relation to our documentation chain in accordance with the new regulatory requirements – or tracking and tracing. We also have to meet the growing demand of our customers in these fields. By modernizing our tools, we will be able to lead Militzer & Münch into a profitable future.

Militzer & Münch opened a new customs terminal in Tangiers in 2016. How is business developing here?

We see a very strong development of our business in Tangiers. This corroborates our decision to settle there on a long-term basis so we can meet the growing demand for transport and logistics.

How do you assess the potential of the logistics sector in the Maghreb region?

Morocco is currently experiencing a very important economic development, especially thanks to such sectors as the automobile and aeronautics industries. As we have been present in Morocco since 1986, we appreciate this progress all the more greatly. Thanks to the current modernization of the economy, including the administration, we see the economic development in the Kingdom in a very optimistic light. Morocco is and will remain a country where the economic climate is favorable to the development of Militzer & Münch Morocco.

“We’ve come a pretty long way”

Wojciech Łyżwiński has been with Militzer & Münch Poland for more than a quarter-century. This year will be his last as Managing Director of M&M air sea cargo S.A. Afterwards he will continue as Chairman of the Supervisory Board. In this interview he speaks about his journey with Militzer & Münch: the challenges, the achievements, and the future. 

What was your motivation to work in the logistics industry? And what did you do before you joined Militzer & Münch in 1992?

I worked as administration director at Warsaw’s School of Economics, the biggest economic school in Poland. The political transformation in Poland in 1989 gave the Polish people many possibilities. A lot in our lives changed: both in politics and in economy. It was a huge chance for us to develop, to move on. I asked myself: `Am I ready to reposition my life?´

I think change always offers an opportunity to achieve new goals. So after getting a phone call from my colleague at the academy, who proposed starting a new company in the logistics area together, it didn’t take me long to make up my mind – and I said `yes´.

I had to learn a lot of things from scratch. Studying these new tasks was very exciting. After a few days of training in Germany, I began to hire new employees to join our organization. The first of them was Marek Ziemniewicz – a newly promoted graduate in transportation of the Warsaw School of Economics. He still works in our company as a board member and operational director.

What are your tasks as Managing Director M&M air sea cargo S.A.?

I am responsible for the company’s development and for strengthening its market position. Our management team consists of two persons, who are also members of the board: Marek Ziemniewicz supervises the operational side of the company as well as the sales of our freight services.

I manage everything else: our branch offices in Poland as well as finance and HR issues. I also represent M&M air sea cargo S.A. in Polish organizations like the Polish International Freight Forwarders Association. In this organization, for example, I was a member of the Management Board until June this year. Marek Ziemniewicz took my place in the new term.

Wojciech Łyżwiński

Managing Director M&M air sea cargo S.A.

What are the biggest challenges in your position?

We’ve come a pretty long way in our history. A successful way. We started as a small team doing customs clearances. Today, in 2018, we operate in all areas possible: air, sea, rail and road freight. My biggest challenge was to create a team of great specialists and to keep them for many years. Because the most important asset of our company are the people and their know-how.

You can compare it to a football team that plays for the cup. If the team wins, the best players often want to change club colors. I managed to keep the basic players. Many of them have been working in our company for up to 25 years. They play an important role in the growing volume of TEUs transported and in the increasing sales figures of Militzer & Münch Poland.

What were the most important milestones for Militzer & Münch Poland in the last 25 years?

We built up a customs agency first. The next steps were an air freight department and afterwards a sea freight department, and then FTL transports. We opened new offices in Wrocław, Kraków, Pruszków near Warsaw, and Rzeszów. Militzer & Münch Poland gained AEO status and is ISO certified.

In 2017 we decided to move forward, launching the very successful road division under the management of Radek Brejnak. We also created a strong sales team managed by our Sales Director Artur Wojtczak, who helped us to increase our sales by over 30 per cent.

The team of Militzer & Münch Poland.

What were the most important logistics projects that have been realized in 2018 so far? What are the main logistics projects for the second half of the year?

If you follow this and last year’s issues of `Compass´ and `Team & Motion´, our internal employee magazine, you will come to the conclusion that Militzer & Münch Poland has become a rising star in the holding. We are definitely one of the most active companies in the group. I truly appreciate it, and I am so proud of my team.

We handle a lot of interesting projects and follow the trends of the Polish market – which sometimes can be difficult due to a fierce competition between all the global players in the logistics sector that are present in Poland. But we never give up – quite the opposite.

The volume of goods exported from Poland has increased rapidly. We are part of that development by, for example, handling milk, fruit and beverage exports. On the other hand, the increase in exports necessitated some additional regulations and restrictions. We had to move on and implement some new solutions to take care of our clients’ goods: therefore we applied for Regulated Agent status. With this certification, we can guarantee the security of the supply chain for cargo that is transported on passenger aircraft.

Are there any strategic changes at M&M air sea cargo S.A. planned for this year?

After 26 years with Militzer & Münch, I am retiring at the end of this year. Until then, we will have to complete the composition of our Board. But I will stay close to the company as Chairman of the Supervisory Board. So I will keep on supporting my colleagues and especially Marek Ziemniewicz, who will take over my position. I trust in his success with all my heart.

Earlier changes like promoting some colleagues upgraded the quality of our everyday work and pushed us to another level of development and management. For example Artur Wojtczak, who is extremely active in promoting the cooperation between the Militzer & Münch offices worldwide and establishing B2B connections – he now is our new Sales Director. Our Business Development Manager Paweł Szelest acts as Head of Procurement and Tender Manager, and Beata Antolak was promoted to Financial Director. I am a lucky person to be able to attract the best people from the Polish market.

For which industries is Militzer & Münch Poland mainly active?

We are active in all areas: starting from food and beverages shipped out by air or in reefer containers to air shipments that are temperature controlled. Our team also handles complex heavy weight project cargo, for example repositioning factories or transporting huge machines abroad.

What is the potential of Poland as a logistics location?

Poland’s potential is huge: the country is centrally located in Europe and we continuously record excellent economic development. Our country is a hub for rail freight, sea shipments – with direct connections from China – and has many logistics centers used by global companies. I see the future in bright colors. Let our success story continue.

Militzer & Münch Poland

  • Founding year: 1991
  • Member of PIFFA ( Polish International Freight Forwarders Association)
  • IATA Cargo Agent
  • ISO 9001:2015 certified by Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance
  • AEO (Authorized Economic Operator)
  • Employees: 65
  • 2 offices in Warsaw; branch offices in Wrocław, Rzeszów, Kraków, Pruszków
  • Products: air, sea, rail and road freight, customs service, project logistics
  • Among the main customers are companies from the automotive sector, from machine engineering, from the aviation, cosmetics and fashion industries, the electronics and food sectors

Deeply rooted in Eurasia

What are the current customs regulations between Belarus and EU? How to transport temperature-sensitive goods safely from Asia to Europe? Which is the fastest route from Ukraine to China? Don’t ask just anybody; ask the Militzer & Münch specialists.  Eurasia runs in their blood.

Each of the Militzer & Münch organizations in Ukraine, Belarus and Uzbekistan boasts over two decades of experience. “And this is what distinguishes our Group”, says Dr. Lothar Thoma, CEO M&M Militzer & Münch International Holding AG. “We have strong roots in Ukraine, Belarus and Uzbekistan, our managers and employees have created the organizations there.”

Be it the language, logistic challenges, laws or customs formalities – the Militzer & Münch teams are thoroughly familiar with all that. Giving proof of resilience and expert know-how, the Militzer & Münch country units have secured a safe position in the logistics industry of their country, each branch characterized by deep roots and individual strengths.

Belarus: Success with the company-owned fleet

25 years of Militzer & Münch Belarus: in 1993, with a five-member team, Simone Barch and Viktor Blazhukevich opened the first Byelorussian office in Minsk, the capital of Belarus. Today, SOOO M&M Militzer & Münch Belarus employs a staff of 400 at eleven locations and steadily follows its growth course. In 2017, M&M Belarus started construction on a logistics center in the northeast of Minsk, near the Minsk MKAD ring road.

“With our own fleet of 180 vehicles, we offer comprehensive logistics services, including hazardous materials and valuable goods transports as well as customs clearance”, says Viktor Blazhukevich, Managing Director Militzer & Münch Belarus.

In 2001, Militzer & Münch Belarus added national express services to its portfolio – the first company to offer this service in Belarus. Today, the team handles over 40,000 express shipments per month. The big sorting plant within the new logistics center is urgently needed.



Ukraine – a well attuned team

25 years of Militzer & Münch Ukraine: in 1992, Militzer & Münch Ukraine GmbH was founded in Kyiv; branch offices in Boryspil and Odessa were inaugurated  a few years later. “All in all, we now count a staff of 36”, says Viktor Korol, Managing Director  M&M Militzer & Münch Ukraine GmbH. “Many of our employees have been with us for over 15 years already. The often long-time cooperation within the teams generates efficient service and collaboration based on trust.”

The EU is the most important market for Militzer & Münch Ukraine, but growing trade between Ukraine and Asia causes rising demand for transports to Asian destinations, with especially sea transports increasing; but air freight, too, is highly popular at this time. “On demand, we handle complete transports including customs clearance”, Viktor Korol says. “For us, the customer’s satisfaction is always top priority.”


Uzbekistan transports pharmaceuticals, too

20 years of Militzer & Münch Uzbekistan: M&M Militzer & Münch Uzbekistan S.C., founded in Tashkent in 1997, offers the entire logistics service palette. Whether road transports or rail freight, airfreight or sea freight, the 15-member staff of Militzer & Münch Uzbekistan always finds the ideal transport solution for their customers.

“At request, we do complete transports from warehousing to customs management”, says Khurshid Kasimdzhanov, Managing Director M&M Militzer & Münch Uzbekistan S.C. “Apart from nationwide distribution, we also offer weekly groupage shipments from Europe to Central Asia. But for the majority of our activities, we focus on project logistics.”

Militzer & Münch Uzbekistan has also specialized in the transport of pharmaceutical goods. “With pharmaceuticals, an end-to-end cool chain is decisive”, Khurshid Kasimdzhanov says. “If the cool chain is interrupted even for a short time, the entire cargo is in jeopardy. Other strict quality standards have to be met, too, to protect the sensitive goods – our teams are well-versed in this field.”

“I am aware of my great responsibility.”

Russia is not only the largest country in the world by surface area, it also shares land borders with 14 neighboring states – unique factors that come with special challenges for the team of Militzer & Münch Russia. Marina Dshegrij told us how the employees master them, how the new US sanctions on Russia impact the business, and the objectives Militzer & Münch Russia is pursuing. Marina Dshegrij is Managing Director of Militzer & Münch Russia. She has been with the company since 2010.

What did you do before you joined Militzer & Münch? What made you choose the logistics sector as your profession?

I was with logistics services provider Schenker RUSSIA for 15 years. Directly after graduating from university, I began working there and was soon promoted from an employee position in operations to deputy director. I have always known what field I wanted to work in. My father was in logistics, too, so I could not have imagined myself working in any other job.

What is the biggest challenge in your position? 

One of the challenges is to accurately predict the market behavior. We have to keep an eye on the continually changing industry and develop a suitable strategy for our company. What is important today may be obsolete tomorrow. Doing business in times of stagnation or of sinking market activities is a challenge for staff and management.  We have to invest the profits we generate wisely in the future of our company.

Internationally, the logistics industry is more or less a male domain. What are your experiences as a woman in your position in this sector?  

I feel good. Nowadays, women hold leading positions in governments. Thus, women in management are not so exotic any more.

What are the main projects implemented in the 2017/18 business year? 

We are introducing new software. At this time, this is our top priority.
It will improve our attractiveness in the market and increase productivity.

“We regularly organize the complete delivery of big production lines – we offer our customers all services from planning to operative implementation.”

Marina Dshegrij, Managing Director Militzer & Münch Russia

What are the main industries Militzer & Münch Russia is working for? 

We are active in numerous sectors. Our most important customers come from the automotive industry, from consumer goods production, equipment goods and microelectronics.

Are there any unique selling points that Militzer & Münch can boast and that maybe even distinguish Militzer & Münch from the competition?

Apart from services in transportation, warehouse logistics and customs clearance, we are also highly active in the field of project transports. We regularly organize the complete delivery of big production lines – we offer our customers all services from planning to operative implementation. Moreover, we have many years of experience in the transport and storage of highly sensitive equipment in so-called clean rooms. For numerous sports associations, we transport equipment to competition sites. Another point that distinguishes us additionally is our internal travel agency. It allows us to offer our customers an almost complete service-portfolio – from one source from the transport of goods to arranging a business trip.

The USA has decided to impose new sanctions against Russia. In your opinion, does this impact the transport business of Militzer & Münch?

The sanctions impact the situation in Russia: investments from the West decrease, the share of investments from the South East increases, the market re-orients itself, for instance towards domestic production. Of course, all this affects diverse industries and also the transport logistics sector. We are aware of these changes and try to adapt quickly to the new conditions.

Russia is the largest country in the world by surface area and an extremely vast country. What challenges does this entail for goods transports?

The Russian Federation extends from west to east over 10,000 kilometers, from north to south over 4,000 kilometers. The entire country covers an area of more than 17 million square kilometers and spans eleven time zones. Advanced traffic infrastructure is not available at all locations, which creates differences in the goods flow in different parts of Russia. We have to always know exactly when, how and by which transport mode the goods can be transported to the region in question. This adds to the workload and impacts delivery dates and costs. The demands on logistics are constantly rising – yet those are challenges we like to meet.

Russia shares borders with 14 neighboring states, with China being one of them. Does this entail advantages for the logistics sector? 

The proximity to many other countries is of course propitious to goods exchange – our main focus however is on the further development of the transit goods flows through Russia. Owing to our infrastructure – the quality of ports, airports and roads as well as the complexity of border and customs clearance – we are not able to fully tap the potential at this time. But we are already registering positive developments.

What countries and regions does Militzer & Münch Russia have especially close business relations with? 

The largest goods flows come from Germany and China. This is also mirrored in the official statistics on the trade between the countries. Goods turnover between Russia and China accounts for 14 percent, between Russia and Germany for eight percent of the country’s entire goods turnover. Accordingly, our business relations with Germany and China are very intensive.

What are your objectives for Militzer & Münch Russia?

To me, it is important for Militzer & Münch to remain a successful, dynamically developing entity. I am aware of the great responsibility I have for our 300 employees. Our customers, but also our staff, are to feel well cared for and look to the future with confidence.

Militzer & Münch France in best hands

Guillaume de Laage de Meux (48) joined the Militzer & Münch Group twelve years ago. He is now Managing Director of Militzer & Münch France and Regional Managing Director South West Europe / Maghreb. We had the opportunity to talk with him to learn more about his area of responsibility and also to get to know him personally.

How long have you been with Militzer & Münch? 

I started at Militzer & Münch France in January 2006 as Deputy Managing Director. In this function, my responsibility was the restructuring and development of the organization. This gave me the opportunity to become more familiar with the structure of the Group. In 2009, I was appointed Managing Director. In 2014, I took over the position of Regional Manager for the South West Europe (SWE) / Maghreb region. At the same time, I was elected into the Group Management of M&M Militzer & Münch International Holding AG.

How would you define your function within the Group?  

My foremost function is to develop business in the SWE / Maghreb region in a profitable way and to guarantee the continuance of our organization also in view of occasional setbacks and a business environment that changes faster and faster.

On the other hand, it is of course also part of my obligation towards the shareholders every year to reach the financial targets defined for me – especially via the budgets, but also by my setting a steady course for profitability, stability and growth.

After all, I also bear considerable social responsibility towards the 400 Militzer & Münch employees in our region. It is my task to safeguard jobs, and to ensure the professional development of employees within the Militzer & Münch Group.

Can you tell us more about the start of your career and what made you go into the logistics sector?

After I finished the commercial college in Bordeaux, I completed my officers’ training at the French Army and obtained a diploma as a controller/accountant at the same time. I finished my academic studies after serval years of work experience with an MBA (Master of Business Administration) at Cranfield University, Great Britain.

It was a logical step to begin my professional career in the controlling and finance sector in the international transport industry. As I like working in this field, I was soon promoted to head the profit center in France and abroad.

What is the biggest challenge in your position?

The biggest challenge is mastering the balancing act between the requirements of daily business and the necessity to come up with clear and relevant ideas for the further development of Militzer & Münch in our region.

Another challenge is being present for the teams and cultivating the relations to all locations in the region. Here, I profit from having highly competent, hard-working and independent Country Managers within our organization who support me.

How do you divide your time between managing Militzer & Münch France and heading the SWE / Maghreb region? 

Taking into consideration my obligations as member of Group Management as well as the fact that I basically serve as an intermediary between the Militzer & Münch Holding and the countries of our region, the following allocation of my time applies more or less: 50 per cent for managing Militzer & Münch France, 30 per cent for the matters of the SWE / Maghreb region (Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Italy), and the remaining 20 per cent  for my obligations as member of the Group Management of the Militzer & Münch Group.

What are the most important projects to be realized in the 2017/18 business year? Can you name some specific examples for France, Italy and the Maghreb countries?

In France, we have set up our own customs agency to improve our customer service and to increasingly offer our customs management services. Another important project is the relocation of our Paris branch with the aim to prepare our growth for the next 15 years unhurriedly. The existing warehouse at the Paris location has become too small and has limited us both in the handling of the traffic and in the potential business with new customers. With the new location, our property is growing by 60 percent, and we double the number of our loading ramps. In addition, the location offers more space for office areas: if necessary, we can double the number of employees. Since it is only seven kilometers away from our present branch, our employees have no disadvantages.

In Algeria, we will have the opportunity to continue on our strong growth course in this country by founding our own location in Algiers.

Moreover we aim to greatly intensify our relations to India and Malaysia within the region – mainly with an extremely promising partnership that we are going to establish soon.

This list is of course incomplete, and we are thinking of new projects that we want to realize in France, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Italy all the time. The entire Group is extremely dynamic and prepared to reinvent itself every day.

Are there any specific targets you want to reach? 

It is our target to reach the budget goals agreed on, and I am confident our countries are on the right track.

“On average, I visit two locations in the region per week, and that is as it should be. We embrace a family-like business culture where all local managers are very active and serve as important role models.”


Guillaume de Laage de Meux, Managing Director Militzer & Münch France, Regional Managing Director South West Europe / Maghreb.

Emmanuel Macron won the presidential election. Are you anticipating a positive economic impact for the logistics industry in France and specifically for Militzer & Münch France? 

One thing is certain: the fact that he was elected president is good for the worldwide image of France, and we all hope that this fresh breeze will also have a positive effect on economy. From the standpoint of Militzer & Münch France, a reduction in corporate tax and a liberalization of the French labor law would certainly be welcome.

The trade with the Maghreb states gains more and more importance for Europe. In your opinion, what needs to happen for the trade relations to develop even faster? 

It’s really simple: we need economic and political stability in order for the close relations between the Maghreb states and France to develop. With its locations in the Maghreb, Militzer & Münch is an important and renowned player in the region; it meets all the requirements to become the market leader, especially in Morocco and Tunisia.

Do you travel a lot in your region? What role do these business trips play? 

On average, I visit two locations in the region per week, and that is as it should be. We embrace a family-like business culture where all local managers are very active and serve as important role models.

Summer is near – where do you like spending your vacation?

To me, summer vacation is the chance to relax in Charente-Maritime with my family and also to spend some days with my wife, just the two of us, as she doesn’t see me  a lot during the rest of the year.

Apart from your career, what is your biggest passion or your favorite hobby? What do you do to “recharge your batteries”?

In spite of the many business trips, I try to exercise regularly and to spend as much time as possible with my five children to see them grow.