|▲ Royal GLS / CEO Hwanyong Kim|
The pandemic has contained ships and airplanes for 2 years while we are still struggling to counter-contain it. The cost has jumped to three fold for those who desperately need to ship the goods. South Korea’s economy depends hugely on export and therefore channeling the goods to the world is very important. The World Trade Organization reports that South Korea ranked 6th in export volume and 9th in revenue last year. However, South Korea’s logistics competitiveness ranked 25th according to the World Bank. It is a rather shameful report considering the nation’s economic power in the world.
History tells us that heroes rise in turbulent times. While many logistics companies were struggling to find channels to send and receive goods since the pandemic broke out 2 years ago, South Korean logistics company Royal GLS used most of its global logistics network to ship Korean quarantine goods all over the world. South Korean government and health care industry joined hands and moved fast to respond to the needs and wants of global shortage of quarantine goods and Royal GLS made most of its logistics network in the Middle East and Europe to ship the goods flawlessly. As a result, Royal GLS racked up record-high 32.6 billion won ($27 million) sales in 2020. This year, the company expects more than 40 billion sales.
Hwanyong Kim, CEO of Royal GLS, started his logistics career at DHL and built extensive knowledge and knowhow for 29 years until he retired as a director of the board. In 2011, he took over Royal GLS despite poor financial standing but the IATA license attracted his eye. The IATA approved forwarders receive Agent’s IATA Code with which the companies trade directly with airlines in the world. The companies also can issues AWB (Air WayBill) on behalf of airlines. While the benefit is huge, obtaining the license is very difficult and the companies must go through screenings on capital, experience in the field, credit rate and surety insurance to obtain it. It is notable that only less than 5% (around 100 mostly foreign-affiliated) have the license among 4,500 forwarders in South Korea. Those without the license must swing by those with license. In this respect, Royal GLS having the license is but a great advantage in doing business. Apart from the license, CEO Kim’s perseverance was praiseworthy that despite unfavorable political, economic and medical factors, he pushed business forward without a hesitation and no matter how much penalty he had to pay due to the lack of quota. But he knew how to turn crisis to opportunity and as a result Royal GLS has expanded its service scope to India and Central Asia over Europe and the Middle East alongside obtaining Excellent Logistics Enterprise issued jointly by the Korea Customs Service and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. Moreover, Kim has pushed up Royal GLS into top 20 forwarders in the nation. Recognizing his capability and passion, entrepreneurs with keen eye encouraged him to make contribution to Korean SMEs and in 2019, Kim was inaugurated as 4th President of the Seoul Entrepreneurs Association.
[SME Support and CSR]
Many SMEs are having difficulty in channeling their goods and products to markets home and overseas. This requires not only money but also marketing skills. Knowing this very well, Kim, as the association leader, has rolled up sleeve to provide systematic support for logo and brand design, production marketing and software solutions for working at home (due to social distancing) in connection with the Seoul Credit Guarantee Foundation nestled upper floor of the association building. Also in order to fulfill Corporate Social Responsibility, Kim is leading social contribution in cooperation with member companies of the association. Money has been donated every month to 10 non-profit organizations and goods such as air fryer, first aid medicine, dental mask, collagen ramen, dried laver, teas and health supplement were also sent last August. Boasting around 4,000 member companies of the association however, Kim points out lack of budget and government support as a problem and has asked persons in charge of the department to provide necessary and systematic support for more effective and efficient SME support and promotion.
[2022 FIATA Busan]
The 2022 FIATA Busan is held in October next year. FIATA stands for International Federation of Freight Forwarders Association. As an organizer of the festival next year, Kim emphasizes that logistics is an important part of trade regardless regions as goods and products must be sent and delivered according to its needs and wants and therefore no matter which political parties and politicians are in power of the period, the government should provide necessary support without a stop. (PowerKorea)
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