cssMy CSS career began as I stepped into the hallowed portals of the CSS HQ in the year 2010. Since then, every year has brought in new challenges and opportunities, and I have seen myself do several mantles to reach where I am today. 

 As I handle the LCL Consolidation division along with my able teammates, we have come to realize this vertical is purely dependant on the mutual and strong cooperation with our partners and relentless local sales service. If the right synergy is not maintained, the consolidation will cease to thrive. 

A Season of Shifts & Changes

Over the past decade of my tenure with CSS, I have seen a dramatic shift in consolidation behaviors and patterns. Who would have guessed that a primarily prepaid market would turn into largely an import market? 

 We would have never predicted that congestions and void vessels would make customers consider LCL movements to ensure that their cargo reaches the destination. Today, the buyer has full control over building a successful import consolidation box. Today’s customers demand more direct services rather than having their shipment being re-handled at a transshipment hub.

With several factors to consider, from local and overseas compliances, LC requirements of our customers, carrier policies, customs policies, our checklists have become endless. We have often found ourselves stretching our limits by being creative, having to jump over the innumerable hurdles to avoid the business’s pitfalls. 

Having taken many calculated risks by introducing new strategies and out-of-the-box thinking, we have grown the consolidation business despite the many variables that came in our way. 

Our Outlook for the Future

Not for a moment should you consider that this is a message of negativity, instead, by understanding that our ever-evolving environments, we should work together as a team to follow the stratagem to success.  

With the Israeli market opening up with the landmark Abraham Accords’ signing between the UAE and Israel, we can predict a surge in trade ties between the two nations. The revival of trade ties with Lebanon also presents a positive outlook for the future. 

With plans in the anvil for UAE to become a manufacturing hub, we can naturally expect an increase in export consoles. As the GCC region’s nations thrive, it translates to the Jebel Ali Port’s growth, a win-win for all!

A free-market economy, the business culture of UAE enables ease of business, which in turn leads to the mushrooming of other players in the field who offer ludicrous prices to capture the market.  

The congestion might linger on for the first quarter of 2021, but it should ease from then on. We will continue to offer our clients flexible solutions that cater to their specific needs and requirements. 

Even though the “invisible enemy” wreaked havoc in 2020, we succeeded in achieving the same business volume as in 2019. In 2021, we hope to double the current volumes and service unique sectors. 

The 3-point strategy for the year ahead will be to:

  1. Sell smart
  2. Refine our customer service 
  3. Build up the network synergy

Nurturing a Culture of Positivity

At CSS, we practice an open-door policy. We encourage our colleagues to talk to each other. If the manager or team leader has caught the vision, the teammates are bound to follow suit. As a practice, we will not wait for our teammates to reach out to us, but we will communicate the vision to them to see it come to fulfillment. 

The inception of the CSS business was with consolidation. We have to strive hard to ensure that this division will continue to remain the very heart of CSS and drive growth for the company. To achieve this goal, CSS will move ahead by making path-breaking decisions out-of-the-ordinary and not always the norm. 


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. 


CSS is one of the leading players in the NVOCC market in the MENA region. With NVOCC activities centered around the CSS headquarters in Dubai, we have established a strong base in Bahrain and Oman.

What is an NVOCC?

A Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC) is an ocean carrier that transports goods under its own House Bill of Lading, or equivalent documentation, without operating ocean transportation vessels. NVOCC leases space from another ocean carrier, or Vessel Operating Common Carrier (VOCC), that they sell to their customers.
In layman’s terms, an NVOCC can be described as a shipper to carriers and a carrier to shippers. While NVOCCs do not usually own their own warehouses, many own their own containers and often operate as a freight forwarder as well.

CSS as a Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC)

Rated among as one of the top customers by major shipping lines operating in the region, CSS’s repute allows us to offer our customers the best rates in the industry along with the guarantee of space on the major ocean liners for regular movement of consolidated shipments.
CSS offers both licensed and bonded NVOCC services through its extensive global network. Representing reputed freight companies and agents, CSS provides gateways to major ports worldwide. This allows us to provide our clients with highly cost-effective shipments and faster delivery routes. With the operational base in Dubai, we can deliver to the most remote and challenging regions. Our strategic network spans across the continents of Asia, Africa, and Europe, which allows us to connect businesses across multiple locations.


The NVOCC service offered by CSS has LCL services to an impressive 1,650+ destinations with plans to add more in the offing. Representing many NVOs globally, we have scheduled weekly arrivals & departures on reputed carriers. With a dedicated sales and customer service team, we assure our clients of unstinting support throughout the shipment process.
With an incredible track record of handling shipments across a broad range of industry verticals from fuel and energy, heavy machinery, automobiles, perishables, hospitality, and more, we can efficiently handle client shipment challenges, regardless of size, content, port of origin, or destination.

NVOCC Capabilities at CSS BAHRAIN

Founded in 2019, Console Shipping Services W.L.L Bahrain is the subsidiary of the CSS group in the island nation of Bahrain. A neutral NVOCC with its service offerings in the areas of Air & Sea Freight, Land Transport & Projects, Console Shipping Services W.L.L Bahrain is a preferred partner with strategic relationships with leading carriers. Our NVOCC service portfolio in CSS Bahrain includes:
Ø Direct Console Service from Spain to Bahrain (special console)
Ø Destuffing at APM Terminals at Bahrain port with cargo being ready for delivery within the next day of arrival
Ø 9 days free time from ETA Bahrain and very nominal storage tariff even after the free time
Ø Assurance of 24×7 customer service with the uncompromising quality of service

NVOCC at CSS Muscat

Operating in Muscat, Oman, for more than 20 years, CSS Oman boasts of an outstanding network of partners around the world. Offering cutting edge services in every segment of its service portfolio, CSS Oman’s NVOCC division enjoys a strong market position with its specialized services.

Today, CSS Oman NVOCC offers the following services:
Ø Shanghai/Ningbo: Direct console to Sohar
Ø Rotterdam: Direct console to Sohar
Ø Mumbai: Direct console to Sohar
Ø Regular weekly consoles from Jebel Ali to Sohar
Ø Direct LCL consoles to Jebel Ali Ex USA, Europe, Far-east, Ind-Subcontinent
Ø Weekly connectivity vessel from Jebel Ali to Sohar port
Ø Direct LCL consoles ex Rotterdam/Nhava Sheva/Shanghai to Sohar port
Ø Speedy de-stuffing of LCL containers at Sohar CFS, within 48 hours
Ø LCL Cargo track and trace for convenience
Ø Direct LCL export consoles from Sohar to Hamad port, Transit time: 38hrs

There is Something More in NVOCC Business


Being a renowned and reliable name in the NVOCC business Caro Trans over the years has earned a respectable position both in business and in the minds of their clients. Lighthouse team had a brief chat with Mr. Chris Wilson, the President of Caro Trans, wherein he spoke about the current trends, the future and prospects of NVOCC business.

Chris was optimistic about the current trends and what it leads to the future growth when he shared his views on the business outlay and forecast of the NVOCC business.

“The NVOCC business is increasingly competitive and we must continue to deploy technology in the most innovative and efficient means possible. Our clients demand accurate and timely information delivered instantly across the supply chain. However, it is dedicated and passionate Team members delivering exceptional service to our clients that will become our greatest differentiator.”

CSS Group enjoys an in-depth relationship with Caro Trans. They both have been working together for many years and has remained trusted partners supporting each other in their respective regions. Chris continued, “Caro Trans is with CSS Group for 7 years now and we are quite keen to continue developing our services throughout the Middle East. Our goal is to become the number one NVOCC between USA and Middle East.”

Focused approach and time bound strategies will define the future prospects of the NVOCC business. Customer centric approaches and personalization has great role to play in developing a meaningful business model. “We need larger customers and we need to explain to the largest LCL clients how an NVOCC – a true LCL consolidator can add significant value to their supply chain,” said Chris.

Various new IT solutions are being implemented by NVOCC companies to increase efficiency, reliability, and security of operations by reducing operational costs. But one must understand that, the NVOCC industry is still slow to develop and deploy interesting technology. As a result, our industry is ripe for a thoughtful and passionate disrupter, Chris added.

While saying goodbye, Lighthouse requested a message from Chris for the CSS family:
“Thank you for always supporting our efforts to grow our business. It has been a very strong partnership and we look forward to expanding our business and growing our services throughout the Middle East.Thank you and Wish you a much prospective 2019!” Commented Chris.

Networking Opportunity During Breakbulk


Breakbulk Middle East provided opportunities to interact on several platforms, for the participants. The event was well attended by CSS delegates and participated at the networking dinners. One such was organized by Höegh. Head of Country (UAE), Finn Roden from Höegh invited for a presentation of their Breakbulk cargo handling initiatives, followed by a Customer Appreciation Dinner at the -“Bliss 6” Restaurant-The Conrad Hotel Dubai on the 11th of February.

The Global Head of Breakbulk Sales – Stian Omli from Head office in Oslo started off with the opening speech. CSS Group was represented by Midhun George, General Manager, Abu Dhabi and Angeli Sudheer, Manager Pricing & Customer Service, CSS Dubai.

“It was a well-organized gathering by Team Hoeg opening up the opportunity to interact with the industry partners and meet some old friends from the Industry. Such gatherings help to personalize and strengthen your relationship with your partners.” Commented Angeli.

Leif Höegh & Co is an international shipping company, founded in 1927 by Norwegian Leif Höegh (1896-1974). Since 2006 the company has been structured as two separate entities, Höegh Autoliners and Höegh LNG, with Leif Höegh & Co acting as a common holding company.

NVOCC- The Flagship Service of CSS Group

Consolidated Shipping Services Group, has attained a reputable position in the industry with specialized operations in cargo consolidation (LCL), both in Ocean export and import. The reliability of world class transcontinental partnerships qualifies CSS Group to be amongst the leading NVOCC service providers from the GCC and the South Asia. Personalized client handling and global standards in cargo management has made CSS the most trusted partner in consolidation activities in the region where they operate, that too made possible with an enviable global network of partners.

Past two decades we have been aggressively selling our NVOCC activities along with our overseas agents across the globe. We provide our clients with coherent and reliable LCL solutions through our trusted counterparts in Far East, Europe and the Americas. Our relationship with our agents has extended beyond business over the years and CSS Group is grateful for that. From this edition onwards, Lighthouse will be walking alongside, our network partners discussing and debating issues interesting to our readers

Walking The Extra Mile with CSS


Commencing in 2003, the combined efforts of both CSS Group and FPS Rotterdam has made them the market leaders today in the NVOCC industry. Mr. Jean-Paul van Munster, the CEO of FPS Rotterdam, spoke with Lighthouse on more about the mutual relationship. “It started when Mr. Kala and I visited Mr. Alvin Tan that time director of FPS Singapore at the same time. It was Mr. Alvin Tan who knew me since 1995 and figured that CSS and FPS Rotterdam had a lot to offer to each other, and he was absolutely right!”

Not only in business that Jean- Paul shared the same momentum with Kala, it flourished so well into the family matters as well gradually. “We both never missed the opportunity to be in each other’s family functions and over the period of time, we shared the joy of being like a single family and we continue the relationship which has grown in the past 15 years to become not only business partners, but something more valuable in this world; “United Friends”.

While discussing about the industry and business, Jean-Paul mentioned about the beginning and growth of FPS Rotterdam. He was full of excitement when he narrated the story. “FPS, Famous Pacific Shipping B.V. originated from the 1992 founded forwarder TOP Trans Ocean Pacific forwarding. With the growing consolidation activities within TOP it was in 2001 when we decided to separate the consolidation activities from TOP and continue fully independently as a neutral consolidator under the name of FPS Famous Pacific Shipping Rotterdam, successfully led by its present director Ms. Saskia de Jong. During the past 17 years FPS Rotterdam has grown from its humble start to one of the leading consolidators in Rotterdam”.

Jean-Paul paused for a moment and continued to say that he is obliged for the accomplishments, whatever achieved so far, to the support of their strong world-wide partners like the CSS Group. Besides its strong worldwide network, the keynote of the growth and quality of FPS Rotterdam is a professional and reliable team and the ongoing IT investments.

“Rotterdam, the centre from where we make cargo movement more efficient than ever, is the ideal gateway to and from the hinterland of Europe. Connecting the world with our direct services. The movement of cargo is closely monitored every step of the way. Track and trace, online booking and EDI systems make it easy to keep an eye on every shipment. Our state-of-the-art warehouse offers an IMO and non-IMO separated area. Last but not least our friendly service makes us gladly walk the extra mile. We believe in a friendly long-term relationship with our customers and worldwide partners like CSS!”


DUBAI – The Consolidated Shipping Group’s NVOCC (Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier) division has been active in the Middle East for 23 years, going on 24. It will not be considered presumptuous if this particular LCL and FCL facility was to be regarded as the flagship service offered by the Group, locally and internationally.
The CSS Group’s NVOCC – whether it be inbound or outbound Middle East – based – all have one port in common; JAFZA, where the headquarters is located. CSS began offering inbound direct services wherever possible in the Middle East, an import market at the end of the day. The company wanted to ensure quick cargo turnarounds, connecting their final destination to Jebel Ali, the hub for all cargo Middle East. Opening up operations in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, KSA, India and Pakistan have cemented this directive in the industry.
When it comes to the Group’s employee loyalties, there are those that have been with the company – or dare we say division – for 19 years, and counting. CSS prides itself with seeing the right opportunity and potential, taking it forward to no end.
CSS Group’s NVOCC division is penned to keep growing, be it through LCL, FCL, Air Freight or any other method of transport and logistics. Advancement in technology will play a key role in ensuring the Group stays on point with their competition, introducing online platforms for our clients to reduce process time.
Being a freight forwarding company – undertaking movement of goods from point A to Z on behalf of the cargo owner – NVOCC services would never be possible without its dedicated staff members and reputation it carves out for the company in the market. With services extending to six continents, as well as partnerships with renowned companies such as C.H.Robinson and more, the CSS Group intends to hold on to its reputation as a one-stop solution provider.

Take A Break

Team NVOCC took a break from its busy schedules and joined together for some fun activities recently. A get together was organized at the residence of CSS Group Director for Operations and Ocean freight, Chandrakala (CK). The party saw some interesting team building activities, music and games which were followed by a dinner.

Even though the event was hosted in a simple way, the team members had an invaluable time sharing and discussing various matters and thereby cementing a solid bond amongst themselves. “Celebrations are recognitions for the staff and we believe that it is more important than anything to keep the life at work moving. Such get together provides room for personal interaction as well which is necessary for people to work as team” commented CK about the function.