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Lighthouse - July, 2018.

WHAT MAKES NVOCC SO SPECIAL?

The Lighthouse editorial team sat down with Fida Asghar – Manager, NVOCC – to know more about the impact the current economy has on the maritime industry, his 19 years of experience with the CSS Group, and more.

Can you please summarize yourself in two minutes?
I am jovial, challenging and loyal. My job portfolio at the CSS Group includes handling all LCL cargo [imports and exports] by way of specifically managing the NVOCC division. I also help in product development for the CSS KSA branch offices (in Riyadh, Dammam and Jeddah).

How did you first get involved with the NVOCC industry?
That is really a good question – I was not a shipping guy before! I came to Dubai in 1993 and after a few years I was asked by the Chairman [T.S. Kaladharan] to join CSS. I came from the ground up, learning at every stage. I was in operations initially, then moved to the Customer Services department – in telesales – where my performance spoke for itself. I began heading the call center and it grew to what you now see as the NVOCC division at the CSS Group.

How long has it been since you have been with CSS? What has motivated you to stay?
I am in my 19th year at the company now. I joined CSS because I was looking for a better career – this industry is vast and you learn everyday. What keeps me here this long is the open door policy – you can meet the chairman, you can meet anyone that you want and it is a friendly atmosphere. As long as you perform well, you can go to great heights [with the CSS Group].

How can you keep brushing up, or adding, on your knowledge of the industry?
We meet a lot of people in this industry, including our peers. Through listening, you learn. There will not be any daily trainings but you do end up learning through [observation]. It is fair to say you gain knowledge through networking, your colleagues and your superiors.

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In your time with the CSS Group, what have you seen it to become?
It has expanded really fast – when I came in first to the CSS Office in 1995, there were only 3 employees. When I finally joined in 1999, there were 80-90 employees – you can imagine the amount of growth in 3 years. Within 10 years, we were at the top. I will not say we have reached our peak yet – we are still going higher and breaking more barriers!

What is the average day like for an NVOCC operator?
It is mostly a lot of phone calls. This industry is based on creating and sustaining relationships. In my 19 years of experience, I have learnt that you need to have good relationships in order to get yourself that cargo and volume. Just keep working on your people skills!

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