Romania is a critical and growing market within the European continent and along the New Silk Road. As part of the 16+1 cooperation with China, Romania is emerging as a significant player within the Belt and Road Initiative. To get a deeper perspective of SMEs in Romania, we spoke with Florin Carmaciu, Business Network Developer and Sales Manager at Dream Cargo Services, a New Silk Road Network member.
With the head office based in Bucharest, Romania, Dream Cargo Services offers valuable insight into the region, its growing connections with China, and the thriving markets in the country. In the interview with Mr Carmaciu, we also learn about the strategies used by their company in a fluctuating logistics industry, the philosophy that enables them to provide quality services and the plans in the pipelines.
In conversation with Mr Carmaciu…
NSRN: Dream Cargo Service was established in 2013 with the aim to create solutions for any logistics needs, in particular time-critical and complex projects. This is a broad claim and also a huge challenge. What were the motivations to establish a company like Dream Cargo? And what have been some significant achievements over the years for the company?
Florin: The company started eight years ago with only two employees and back then we only provided road transport services. Then over time, we saw various opportunities on the market and decided to venture into airfreight, sea freight, rail freight, and logistics. From the beginning till today, we have remained the kind of company that offers customised solutions bearing in mind that our customers are generally from complex industries requiring utmost precision and attention to detail, such as automotive, pharmaceuticals, perishable goods and high-value goods.
When it comes achievements, our company's journey speaks for itself – now we are 40 people in Romania, we have a warehouse of 5600 sqm and 4500 pallet locations, and this year we will reach a revenue figure of 10 Mio USD. We are also the first company in Romania to provide trucking solutions from China to Romania.
NSRN: Dream Cargo's has strong expertise with a handful of niche markets, such as automotive, high-value goods, perishables, artworks and pharmaceuticals. How did you venture into this diverse base of products? And what do you see as the key philosophy that enables you to provide quality service in all these various aspects?
Florin: We have always been motivated to do unusual, complex or challenging types of transport. This appetite has driven us towards demanding industries where every shipment is a bit different from the previous and requires careful management and transportation of the cargo.
We also try to keep up with the pace of development and changes in the markets and industries. We are adept at switching our approach from one industry to another, making sure we gain more opportunities. We never settle with what we know or do at the present moment; rather we are learning new things and approaches to enter novel markets. For this very reason, we have also joined New Silk Road Network (NSRN).
NSRN: Apart from forwarding, Dream Cargo Services also has strong warehousing capabilities, which is only growing as next year you are expected to move to a bigger warehouse. What are some of the highlights of the current warehouse, and what can we expect from the new one?
Florin: Presently, we have a 3200 sqm warehouse and can accommodate around 1500 euro pallets. We also have a license to store food products (non-animal origin). Besides storage, we also offer additional services such as inspection of goods (quantity and quality), pick and pack, labelling, special wrapping, and e-fulfilment. We strive to provide end-to-end services, so we can manage the whole supply chain – bringing the goods from overseas, preparing them in our warehouse and delivering them to the customers.
At the start of next year, we will move to a brand new warehouse of 5600 sqm, which can accommodate 4600 euro pallets location since we are at full capacity at our current warehouse. The new warehouse is an investment for the future as we see an increased demand for logistic services, especially from the electronics industry and from e-fulfilment.
NSRN: Dream Cargo Service also has an office in China; what kind of cargo do you generally handle between China and the EU? What are some of the focal points of your business with China, and what was the motivation to start a new chapter in China?
Florin: We decided to open an office in China since it is a significant part of our leading trade lane. Bearing in mind that we work in a time-critical industry, we needed quick replies from China regarding solutions for transports and prices (due to the time zone differences, we get a lot of requests in China even when it's close to midnight). We also saw China as a starting point to develop along the New Silk Road – with this reason in mind, we have also started trucking service from China. From China, we ship all kinds of goods from general to automotive, to raw materials, electronics, fashion and even pharma (temperature controlled).
NSRN: As the Sales Manager, Business Network Developer and a Rainmaker, it is evident that your job involves a lot of networking on a daily basis. What are some of your essential duties and responsibilities in these positions at Dream Cargo? How does your day to day pan out, especially in the light of the upheaval in the logistics industry?
Florin: Here in Dream Cargo, we function informally or spontaneously. Therefore the duties may vary from day to day. Essentially, I handle the business development with customers and partners, but when the case arises, I do get involved in purchasing, office rental negotiations or when needed, I help my colleagues in the warehouse when we are short-staffed. This applies to all my colleagues. We do not stick to our official roles; we can switch our energy wherever needed depending on the daily situation.
You mentioned upheaval in the logistics industry – this is something that we try to always be prepared for; that's why I mentioned earlier that we never settle to what we know or do at a particular moment. To be honest, this state of mind and flexibility have proved to be great assets in our company success so far.
NSRN: The past year has been challenging for many in the logistics industry, notably due to the container crisis, growing freight costs and, of course, the pandemic. How did this impact Dream Cargo, and what were the measures taken to safeguard against these forces? What are your expectations for the coming year? And are there any new developments planned for Dream Cargo?
Florin: It may sound odd, but, in times of crisis, we have done our best in terms of revenue. Of course, the increase of tariffs has impacted us, and we all felt the changes that happened in the market. But again, being flexible gives us the freedom to adapt our strategy very fast, which has significantly helped us during these hectic times. Last year we also witnessed decreasing volumes from the automotive industry. In response, we managed to switch tracks very quickly towards shipping and storage of PPE equipment. Therefore, in the end, we managed to make this our best year ever. Regarding our quick switching, last year we also opened a trading company that helped us a lot in terms of improving our figures.
For the next year, besides our regular services, we will focus on optimising our warehouse by acquiring new customers and at the same time improving and developing our services related to e-commerce fulfilment. Another critical point in our agenda is possible partnerships with companies that wish to enter and grow within the Romanian market.