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April 12, 2024

Forwarder Heroes – Hauke Langert, Skyline Express 

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Every month, we chat with a talented freight forwarder in the cargo.one community, touching upon their ideas, experiences, and advice. We’re kicking off our Forwarder Heroes series with Hauke Langert, CEO Airfreight at Skyline Express in Germany. 

What aspect of your job do you love most or find most rewarding?

There are very few jobs where you get to interact intensively with people, cultures, and industries from across the world. That’s exciting to me.

From the outside, it looks like we just ship things around the world, which we do, of course; there is no hiding that, but what we ship could range from everyday products such as branded t-shirts and mobile phones to life-enhancing medical equipment and vaccines, to Porsche motorcars competing in the GT Cup! The world is a fascinating place, and I get to learn about products and industries that I would most likely never have unless I was in this job. 

What are the most important skills needed to succeed in freight forwarding?

For sure, you need to be flexible, open-minded and able to communicate well. You’re dealing with the world daily with differences in languages, cultures, and ways of being and working. You can’t leave instructions or communications open to chance; you need to be able to get it right the first time, as messing up a shipment could not only mean loss of business or money but could impact the well-being of individuals.

When making a shipment, sometimes it can be as simple as booking from A to B. Still, other times, you need to think of a million and one other potential factors, such as the shipment's size, whether it requires multiple stops, temperature control, onward services, fragility, carrier changes, political issues, import/export laws, etc.

And, of course, there are often complications, so you need to be open-minded about different solutions and ideas and keep comms open between all parties so that everything flows and moves to where it needs to be on time. 

If you could advise your younger self, what would it be?

Do something different, perhaps? No, joking aside, I love this industry, but forwarders could benefit from a little more fame and fortune. When shipping a product worldwide, we are responsible for everything. It’s no easy job: there is often a lot at stake, with many variables, and it’s never as straightforward as one might think. 

What's your favorite object on your desk?

Ha ha, well, it's definitely my pot of coffee. Freight forwarding is a 24-hour business; we definitely need a little fuel for the fire!

And, dare I say it, a bottle of rum; this was a gift from a client we had to ship glue from MUC to ADL. It was challenging because it had a tight deadline, it was incredibly fragile Cargo Aircraft Only (CAO), and over 1,000 kilograms. I couldn’t find a single carrier to get the shipment from A to B, so I needed to be flexible and find two different carriers, landing at a further away airport and then organizing onward travel. We did it; the shipment arrived on time, all in one piece.

So, I keep the gift on my desk as a testament to what we can do here at Skyline Express and to know that you can make anything happen with a little ingenious thinking. And, occasionally, we may enjoy a celebratory tipple at the end of the week.

How has digital air cargo booking improved your life?

Booking air cargo is only one part of the job we have to do as forwarders, and the digital tools are a welcome relief because they give us more time, allowing us to focus on other more or less important aspects of our jobs, such as regulatory requirements or sales activities. It’s reducing the amount of work and stress involved in sending shipments. We can instantly see the pricing, quote the customer and book within seconds.

We can actually operate 24/7 without having to work 24/7 physically, so it's a great help. Now, we need all partners to be on board and work digitally, and life will be even better! 

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Forwarder Heroes – Hauke Langert, Skyline Express 

Published
November 2, 2023

Every month, we chat with a talented freight forwarder in the cargo.one community, touching upon their ideas, experiences, and advice. We’re kicking off our Forwarder Heroes series with Hauke Langert, CEO Airfreight at Skyline Express in Germany. 

What aspect of your job do you love most or find most rewarding?

There are very few jobs where you get to interact intensively with people, cultures, and industries from across the world. That’s exciting to me.

From the outside, it looks like we just ship things around the world, which we do, of course; there is no hiding that, but what we ship could range from everyday products such as branded t-shirts and mobile phones to life-enhancing medical equipment and vaccines, to Porsche motorcars competing in the GT Cup! The world is a fascinating place, and I get to learn about products and industries that I would most likely never have unless I was in this job. 

What are the most important skills needed to succeed in freight forwarding?

For sure, you need to be flexible, open-minded and able to communicate well. You’re dealing with the world daily with differences in languages, cultures, and ways of being and working. You can’t leave instructions or communications open to chance; you need to be able to get it right the first time, as messing up a shipment could not only mean loss of business or money but could impact the well-being of individuals.

When making a shipment, sometimes it can be as simple as booking from A to B. Still, other times, you need to think of a million and one other potential factors, such as the shipment's size, whether it requires multiple stops, temperature control, onward services, fragility, carrier changes, political issues, import/export laws, etc.

And, of course, there are often complications, so you need to be open-minded about different solutions and ideas and keep comms open between all parties so that everything flows and moves to where it needs to be on time. 

If you could advise your younger self, what would it be?

Do something different, perhaps? No, joking aside, I love this industry, but forwarders could benefit from a little more fame and fortune. When shipping a product worldwide, we are responsible for everything. It’s no easy job: there is often a lot at stake, with many variables, and it’s never as straightforward as one might think. 

What's your favorite object on your desk?

Ha ha, well, it's definitely my pot of coffee. Freight forwarding is a 24-hour business; we definitely need a little fuel for the fire!

And, dare I say it, a bottle of rum; this was a gift from a client we had to ship glue from MUC to ADL. It was challenging because it had a tight deadline, it was incredibly fragile Cargo Aircraft Only (CAO), and over 1,000 kilograms. I couldn’t find a single carrier to get the shipment from A to B, so I needed to be flexible and find two different carriers, landing at a further away airport and then organizing onward travel. We did it; the shipment arrived on time, all in one piece.

So, I keep the gift on my desk as a testament to what we can do here at Skyline Express and to know that you can make anything happen with a little ingenious thinking. And, occasionally, we may enjoy a celebratory tipple at the end of the week.

How has digital air cargo booking improved your life?

Booking air cargo is only one part of the job we have to do as forwarders, and the digital tools are a welcome relief because they give us more time, allowing us to focus on other more or less important aspects of our jobs, such as regulatory requirements or sales activities. It’s reducing the amount of work and stress involved in sending shipments. We can instantly see the pricing, quote the customer and book within seconds.

We can actually operate 24/7 without having to work 24/7 physically, so it's a great help. Now, we need all partners to be on board and work digitally, and life will be even better! 

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