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Lighthouse - February, 2021.

ANITHA DISPLAYS HER PROWESS AT CUSTOMER SERVICE


cssWith 25 years in the logistics industry, I have had the privilege of covering almost every aspect of this industry. Operations and customer service to sales, special projects, and developing network partnerships – I have handled everything. The cumulative experience has shaped me to be the “right fit” for my current role. The best part is that I have hands-on experience from within the CSS Group itself.  

Customer Service – The Very Heart of Logistics

My current area of focus will be managing and developing the Customer Service division at CSS. My responsibilities will also encompass building relationships with our network of partners along with Special Projects. Critical and time-bound shipments across all industry segments, Special Projects require on-time completion and a keen sense of discretion, given the moves’ sensitivity.

Strategizing for Our Path Ahead

While we have a whole range of tactics and strategies planned for the way forward, the primary one is to increase my team’s strength. Secondly, we are keen on deepening the commitment with our partners worldwide. Engaging with our network partners will help us spread our wings, and in turn, this symbiotic relationship will fuel our partners’ growth.

 The management team has extended their full support to our plans and ideas, which helped implement them without much ado.

Africa and the Far East – The New Frontiers

There is a rising potential in the African and Far-Eastern markets. Working in tandem with our network partners, we can fuel growth in these regions. The signing of the landmark Abraham Accords has eased diplomatic relations between the Middle East and Israel. This strategic move has opened up a large market for the logistics industry. We are indeed living in exciting times!

We intend to expand our portfolio by including more challenging projects in remote areas, thereby further extending our footprint across the region.

Leading by Example

I work by the diktat, “Work Hard, Play Hard.” I believe in leading by example and letting my work and methods be a source of insight and motivation for my team. 

I want to empower my teammates to reach their maximum potential. Be fearlessly ambitious, be ambitiously productive, and productively positive. We can take CSS to the pinnacles of success!


PETER BELAVENDRAN PILOTS THE AIR FREIGHT VERTICAL


cssWith an innate ability to handle multiple tasks at a time, I also possess the capacity to pursue long term goals with focus and dedication. The past year has been a great learning experience, and I am excited about contributing to the CSS vision in the years to come. 

Handling the Air Freight vertical, our team holds the responsibility for import, network development, consolidation, regional air freight, product development, air freight, export sector-wise volume development, Aircraft on the Ground/Dangerous Goods (AOG/DG) product development along with charter and project cargo.

The Way Ahead

We intend to build our agents network for greater synergy, which will enable us to provide competitive product solutions in both imports and exports along with cross-trade to drive volumes. We will also be implementing the new in-house product called Courier/DG/AOG & Perishable movements.  

The world is our oyster concerning the air freight industry. By integrating UAE and Middle East with a greater focus on CNSL and respective airfreight products within the CSS Group, we are confident of conquering this buoyant market segment. 

Vision for the Future

We plan to develop the airfreight division across all CSS locations to offer the airfreight product solutions to our overseas partners and local clients. This initiative will help us enlarge our footprint, thereby increase the airfreight volumes both regionally and internationally.

We foresee that MNC forwarders and major courier companies will approach clients offering heavily discounted rates to fulfill their capacity due to the present situation. The hour’s need is to develop CNSL to convert + 100 Kgs shipments cost-effectively to provide door-to-door service to our clients.

As we finetune the product offerings, we will drive in more airfreight volumes and achieve more than budgeted targeted volumes of 2021. With a long-term vision of setting up a separate CSS Airfreight Division within CSS Group, I believe that positivity combined with the right mix of dedication & teamwork will help us win this game.


FIDA ASGHAR SPEARHEADS THE NVOCC DIVISION


cssHaving completed more than two decades with the CSS family, I can proudly affirm that I am a true-blue CSS-ian, through and through! My jovial and friendly nature has allowed me to enjoy every second of this incredible journey. 

Our team handles sea freight and is mainly into LCL shipments. This vertical has been the backbone and the very bread and butter of the organization. Though we are neutral in the market, this year we intend to concentrate on exports. As for the plans for the coming year, we have many in the offing and will be revealed in the days ahead. 

We look forward to 2021 for greater opportunities as the world opens up slowly after the pandemic and things have started moving. The New Year has brought in the good news of the Gulf countries opening up Qatar’s borders. We have set our targets high for the year ahead, and we will work at achieving the set target of 40,000 cbm in 2021. Our vertical has set our eyes to achieve this target and promote more KSA activity to increase LCL export volumes. 

We operate in an increasingly competitive market with more consolidators coming in every year. However, we believe that with the excellent rapport we build with our clients and our superlative services we provide, that exceeds expectations, we are here to stay and be on top of our game.    

CSS’s greatest strength has always been with the open-door policy, making it easier to communicate with the management and the teams. I look forward to sharing my experiences with the team to lead them on the right path to success. 


RENJITH CAPTAINS CSS ABU DHABI


cssTwenty years of unstinting service! Not everyone knows that I’ve been working here for such a long time. When I look back, I realize that it has been two decades.

 I began my career started with CSS Chennai as an Operations Trainee. I was young and full of expectations. I worked very hard that year and was promoted to Sales Executive. Later on, I had opportunities to work in CSS Mumbai, Delhi, Bahrain, Dubai. And now, I am in Abu Dhabi for the past eight years. 

 My experience with CSS has taught me that progress is never stationary. It has allowed me to evolve according to the situation. My passion for this profession and my dedication to work drives me to achieve both career and personal goals. 

The Logistics Industry – Intimidating yet Exciting

Logistics is both an exciting and intimidating profession. As the saying goes, “No pain, no gain.” However, success makes sacrifices worthwhile.  

Young and Vibrant CSS Abu Dhabi

Our young, vibrant team works with a keen focus on building up the Abu Dhabi portfolio and across the UAE, Muscat, and Oman. Opportunities abound in this region, especially in the logistics sector. We need to strike when the iron is hot and make most of the prospects that open before us.    

 To achieve our targets, we need to upsize the sales team with a dedicated team for Projects (Oil and Gas). This will help us foray into the Oil and Gas project business in Abu Dhabi and tap into the Oman market and contribute to financial outcomes. 

Working Shoulder to Shoulder

The friendly working culture at CSS coupled with the top management’s unstinting support motivates us to perform at our optimum levels. I believe that communication is a two-way street, and we should make sure that there is a constant flow of communication between the teammates. When we appreciate and praise employee efforts and show respect and admiration for their work, it always works out for the company’s best. While people want to know they are respected, we must establish the ground rules for respect.

 I am committed to fulfilling the larger vision for CSS by putting aside personal gain for the group’s well-being.  

 As the great Chinese thinker and philosopher Confucius said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” 


MIDHUN GEORGE MOTIVATES CSS ABU DHABI


cssIt takes a conscious effort to build and maintain a workplace where every employee feels like their work is meaningful. CSS is truly such an organization. 

I joined CSS in September 2013 as a Sales Manager. My main role was to develop individual sales and deploy a new sales team for CSS Abu Dhabi. CSS has provided me with a platform to grow professionally and has given me endless opportunities. 

Today I hold the post of General Manager – Sales (AUH), Network Europe & Scandinavia. My learning curve has always been progressive with CSS. I acquire new skills and knowledge every day with my exposure to value-added services and project cargo shipment. My portfolio includes an additional responsibility to develop the agency network (Europe) of CSS Group. 

 

Team CSS Abu Dhabi

Our branch in Abu Dhabi is strategically located amid the industrial hub. We have good access to airports, seaports, customers, and government departments. The highly dynamic team comprises a group of motivated and driven sales personnel. The operations team is well versed with all procedures, documentation, and other operational technicalities. Tackling hurdles and troubleshooting problems here is quicker, thanks to a team of experts with whom I collaborate.

Present and Future Trends 

The hiatus due to COVID-19 has thrown the industry out of gear. Sales figures have not reached desired targets. Apart from this, we face cutthroat competition from other competitors in the market. Slim margins and an increase in the bargaining power of customers has been the trend in the industry. In such an environment, one needs to stay relevant. We need to explore and focus on niche clients to create newer markets. Now is the time to display the art of selling and customer service.

In the year ahead, we intend to get registered with major government entities for their RFQ. One of the key focus areas for us will be the oil and gas business. If we secure a footing in the oil and gas sectors, the branch will benefit much. Another direction we need to take is to invest in moveable assets.

Once we emerge from this pandemic, the global economy will surely improve. Many positive trends are already underway in the global economy. Many pending projects will open up, and there will be greater prospects in commodity trade and e-commerce. At CSS, we should be well equipped to rein in these positive trends into our business.

Determination and Hard Work – The Way Forward

Hard work is the essential key to success. The focus needs to be on our key responsibilities to exceed expectations. We need to stay motivated, sharpen our skills and keep high standards for ourselves. 

Over the years, the top management at CSS has always been approachable and supportive. Most of all, they have displayed themselves as the epitome of optimism. With their uncompromising sound counsel, CSS Abu Dhabi can achieve


THOMAS IN CHARGE OF CSS KINGSTON


cssI stepped on Dubai soil in 2004, and I was lucky to land a job as a sales coordinator with CSS. It was indeed a steep learning curve as I did not have any experience in freight forwarding. However, with the support extended by my seniors and departmental heads, I quickly learned the ropes.  

I moved into sales and then into Key Account Executive’s role and was further promoted as Manager – Key Information Desk. 

Today, I handle the responsibility of overseeing the CSS Kingston’s SAIF Zone Branch and Hamriyah Freezone Branch

CSS Kingston 

CSS Kingston Logistics (CKL) was opened predominantly to tap into the freight forwarding and 3PL opportunity in the northern emirates of the UAE. We have further extended our reach to Hamriyah FZC with our freight forwarding and 3PL services. 

With a total capacity of 110,000 sq. ft covered facility, we can store approximately 13500.00 cbm. We also have an 8000 sq. m open yard facility.

Riding the wave in 2020

No one predicted that a pandemic would have the world reeling under its aftermath. CKL made it an opportunity to expand by helping our customers cut their operational expenses by utilizing our service and expertise.  

Tapping into Opportunity

CKL intends to capitalize on the opportunity based on the current market situation. By expanding our reach to each customer, we can help them cut costs by partnering with CSS Kingston. 

The next on the books is to expand our presence with more branches in northern emirates like Fujairah, Ajman, Ras al-Khaimah, and Umm al-Qaiwain. Enlarging our footprint across the northern emirates will enable our customer base to reach all UAE parts. This will support our customers to expand their reach with our cost-effective offerings with high levels of service.

With an increased requirement of 3PL opportunities in the SAIF zone, we foresee CKL emerging as a brand name to reckon within, especially at strategic locations in northern emirates. 

CSS – Unlike Any Other 

The values and the culture that CSS inculcates is what sets it a notch above the other players in the industry. At CSS, we care for each other, identify talent by enabling people to grow. With a focus and clear vision to achieve the highest level of customer satisfaction, we have provided cutting-edge yet cost-effective logistic solutions.

Our customers are our greatest assets, and this is the maxim that drives each employee at CSS. As we increase our assets, we keep growing


AMITH HEADS THE OPERATIONS AT CSS QATAR


Having started my logistics career with CSS in Dubai, today I am placed in Qatar. CSS has provided a platform for me to learn and dabble in all aspects of the logistics spectrum over the last decade. 

CSS Qatar – Surmounting the Odds of the Blockade

CSS Qatar started in 2016 with a limited number of employees. A crisis was just around the corner with the diplomatic crisis in the year 2017. Initially, the aftermath of this crisis was felt by the entire market. Although the market slowed down in the early days of the diplomatic crisis, Qatar soon rolled out ventures with various production units. It further strengthened the market and reached a status of independence. The major strength behind these operations was starting of Hamad Seaport.

Having started CSS Qatar with minimal staff strength, we realized the market changes and moved step by step. In the years that followed, we built a stronger team, increased the sales team strength, and built up our entire team. Every employee of CSS QATAR helped in taking CSS Qatar to what it is today.

FIFA 2022 – A Driving Force

CSS Qatar has been growing along with the growth and development of the nation of Qatar. The government of Qatar has taken several steps for the country’s development by investing in its economy. The prime focus is the 2022 FIFA World Cup and advancements in medicine, electricity, oil and gas, tourism, construction, maintenance, food, and other industry verticals. The government has also announced Vision Qatar 2030. There might arise the opportunity to host Asian Games in 2030. CSS Qatar envisions the strategic role that the company can play during these massive events. 

CSS has made a name for itself in the Qatar market during this period. In the years to come, the team will continue to strengthen itself, devise new strategies, find more business opportunities by understanding each sector’s business potential and setting up separate teams for each of them and will strive to achieve our goals.

Conquering the Credit Challenge 

Timely payments from creditors have been a deterrent for our growth in the past year. Some of our competitors and other new players have been offering credit facilities to their customers with open credit options, without too many formalities. But this can pose a threat to their business growth if they do not realize their payments on time. 

 At CSS, we have decided to effectively tackle this situation by filtering the clients and conducting detailed research into clients’ financial health and track record. If the client clears our benchmarks, we will request them to submit a guarantee cheque as security or PDC against the cargo release. 

2021 – The Year Ahead

The year ahead can be rife with challenges. With the diplomatic blockades having been withdrawn, invariably, there will be a boom in trade, increasing demand for logistics support. This also means a mushrooming of competitor companies in this small market. We are confident that CSS Qatar will score much better results than the year that went by, especially with the opening up of trade linked to the GCC region.

Working Together for Victory

CSS Qatar is glad to be part of the larger CSS family. As we align ourselves to the CSS Group’s vision, we are confident that we will reciprocate the management’s trust. We work together as a team to become one of the major shipping and Forwarding companies in Qatar and spread our footprint across other trade lines. 


AMAL LEADS CSS BAHRAIN WITH A RENEWED VISION


cssHave started with CSS in the year 2010 as Coordinator in Projects, Oil & Energy Department, I have seen my career progress. I later moved on to become the Operations Manager at CSS Abu Dhabi. Currently functioning as the Branch Manager of Console Shipping Services W.L.L, the Bahrain branch of CSS, my 11-year career at CSS has awarded me with opportunities galore. 

I was privileged to work at CSS locations across the region and beyond. From Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah to Oman and Kochi, I have been entrusted with various responsibilities and roles, which has enhanced my skills and experience in all aspects of Logistics.

Surmounting the Odds at CSS Bahrain 

CSS Bahrain branch was restructured and launched as a new branch in October 2019. The challenges ahead are many – we need to bring in new clients and raise and build up a whole new team. The limitation of being a small market with increasingly high competition, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the ensuing problems have added to our challenges. 

But despite these concerns, the Bahrain branch has shown stellar performance above expectation in the year 2020. It was indeed a remarkable year for CSS Bahrain. My heart swells with pride as I lead a dedicated team along with the full support from the top management, the wind beneath our wings.

Strategies Ahead

The way forward for CSS Bahrain is simple and straightforward.

First and foremost on our strategic plan, we aim to increase the reach of CSS Bahrain to new customers every day, without compromising the services we extend to our existing customer base in the island nation. We will strive hard to maintain the high standards of excellence in service levels. Continuing the CSS Group’s legacy, we have committed to doing business with utmost dedication to Fair Business Ethics. 

Last but not least, we will work together to keep up the morale of all the employees and team members at CSS Bahrain

Looking Past 2020

The year 2020 brought a downturn to every industry and affected general trade the world over. But with the vaccination drives being rolled out across every nation, we can expect a resurgence in the market in 2021. CSS Bahrain intends to venture into upcoming project movements and tap into the potential clients amongst government entities in Bahrain. 

Our five-year plan includes our vision to be an NVOCC market leader in Bahrain, providing competitive rates and excellent service by maintaining Fair Policy Business Ethics. We also see ourselves as a Freight Forwarder par excellence with the capacity to handle general forwarding and project movements in the region.

Onward and Ahead

Though we face the imminent threat of targeted competition, underquoting, volatility, and rate increase due to the impact of COVID-19, there is plenty of opportunities as well. A huge untapped market is actively on the lookout for a freight forwarder with market-leading logistics solutions. 

Maintaining good relationships with our existing client base will enable us to get accurate feedback. We have also decided to go by the fair policy. No matter what, we will adhere to not under quoting whatever the competitor strategy might be.

With the CSS Group’s focus on the GCC region, the newly started Bahrain branch will contribute to the NVOCC and Forwarding business of the CSS Group by building on the network partners. Our aim remains to: 

  • Ensure 100% customer satisfaction
  • Ensure 100% employee satisfaction
  • Achieve the company targets

 

We look forward to finishing the year in flying colors by repeating and outperforming the excellent performance we displayed as we opened our innings at Bahrain.


SUSANTH SHEKAR MANAGES HUMAN RESOURCES & ADMINISTRATION WITH FLAIR


cssPeople are the most valuable asset of any organization. It is the workers in the lowermost rungs who contribute to their employer’s sustainability and profitability. That’s why human resource professionals take on various roles and tasks that can affect organizational outcomes. 

 My career started with the CSS Group in the year 2009. It came with several opportunities and challenges to manage Human Resources for the GCC’s entire CSS portfolio. 

Human Resources – the Cornerstone of an Organization 

Effectively managing this human capital and recognizing that human resources need to be both administrative and strategic has built up Team CSS. The most challenging duel was to sustain people in the long run with the best talent management. All members of a person’s resources team or department connect the worth of human capital to the company’s bottom line. 

 That’s where Human Resources becomes so crucial. I have been dedicated to nurturing a team that is adept at dealing with people from all backgrounds and levels of experience, knowledge, and skill. Some of the specified attributes to achieve HR efficacy include flexibility, patience, attention to detail, outstanding communication and listening skills, negotiation skills, and professional discretion.

 In the wake of recent developments around world markets, new challenges are evolving, involving collaborating with project teams and employees based outside the office. Remote working culture has become a necessity and is only bound to increase. Technology and online resources have become pivotal in the onboarding, training, and development of employees.

Data-Driven Decisions

Data analytics provide HR departments with the long-term perspective chances to become more empirical. It provides hard evidence for their opinions, thereby gaining much-needed credibility at the business’s very best levels.

One cannot structure and resource an organization as before, as organizations of the future will look radically different. Instead of pushing resources and people based on forecasted demand, fast-paced organizations may instead enable a broad range of resources and people to be pulled on an as-needed basis in response to events in real-time and where they’re going to have the foremost impact.

 We have always viewed individuals as a series of fragmented parts like a neighborhood that must be recruited, learn and progress. Henceforth, we’d like to specialize in every employee and their related needs, which encompasses the extended workforce. Only then can we ensure that this increasingly important resource stays just as motivated and high performing as the traditional employee. 

Transforming for the Future 

The employee experience begins at the talent acquisition phase and especially with the onboarding process that follows. If we get this wrong, they’re going to not be engaged early. The employee journey must add up to it and meet their changing needs, and that’s where digitization is vital.

 Key experiences that have to change significantly are that of the performance and development process. Companies have been experimenting with new performance management approaches that emphasize continuous feedback and coaching, reducing the appraisal’s focus.

 Talent ecosystems are now a reality. Companies cannot consider their workforce to be only the workers on their record but must include freelancers, “gig economy” workers, and crowds. We have to create an integrated employee experience to makes sense to all involved in our organization. 

 Therefore, HR needs to fundamentally reshape itself to become a critical driver of agility and be a leader in digital transformation.


MENUSHA STEERS THE COURSE FOR CSS, SRI LANKA


cssThe two years at CSS have been challenging yet colorful!  

 With so many ups and downs in global trade, CSS has enabled us with the freedom to make decisions as leaders. We have established CSS Colombo as a rock-solid arm of the CSS Group in the Indian Sub-continent. 

CSS Lanka – Our Capabilities

CSS Lanka started in the year 2018 with just two employees. Today, we have full-fledged operations with a very young and vibrant team of seven. Within six months of our inception, we were able to have our staff inside Colombo port to do our stuffing and de-stuffing. 

 As for consolidation, we have proved ourselves to be strong in exports to the Indian Sub-continent and imports to the Far East. From the very onset, we have been handling all kinds of freights (FCL, cross trading, projects, reefers) from and to anywhere in the world.

Backed by CSS’s capability to provide 360° degree logistics solutions covering the entire Gulf region and the Indian sub-continent, CSS Colombo can function as a transshipment hub. Being strategically aligned with the Malship group in Colombo, one of the pioneers in Sri Lankan logistics, lends us a better edge over the other players. 

Anyone Can Sell!

I have always believed in the ‘Anyone Can Sell’ concept. With a background in operations and customer service, I have worked my way up from being a salesperson as I was passionate about giving back to the place I work. I always motivate my team to have their client base, and I have implemented this concept for the Colombo branch. I believe that each of us has a salesman within us. You need to have faith in yourself and bring him out!

Vision for the Future

E-commerce will be the path-breaking frontier, and we could position ourselves as a single platform for bookings, communication, tracking, and tracing. 

Due to the current situation, things can be a tad slower than how it used to be, but from mid or end 2021, the trade will pick up speed in Colombo. Our primary intent at the moment is to maintain sustained growth. With a vision to be on the list of finest freight forwarders in Colombo, this is the season to do the necessary groundwork.  

The Sri Lankan market is still not aware of the CSS Group’s strength, which has proved to be a deterrent in increasing the volumes from Colombo. Regular engagements with clients and carriers can help us in boosting transhipments via Colombo in the future.  

Team CSS

With sound leadership at the helm that extends timely guidance and friendly counsel, CSS is driven by its people. Even though the branches are many, I believe that we are one big family and want to instill that same passion and dedication in my teammates.


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