Panalpina puts new focus on intra-Asia trade

Panalpina is set to reopen a regional office in Singapore not so much to remedy a currently tough air freight market but to move the company towards a more local, more Asian approach as it seeks to better tap the intra-Asian trade. Michael Mackey reports.


Panalpina puts new focus on intra-Asia trade


From the mindset point of view it is a major change” acknowledges Marco Gadola who will oversee the operation. Gadola is himself a key part of the change. Currently CFO Gadola will become CEO for the Asia Pacific region as of 1 July. The new office is to have top level management a change from the previous role it had as a communications post for the European headquarters. Ahead of taking up his new job Gadola is also clear about what his new job entails. “The first priority will be China. Actually the focus will be to generate pre-paid business in China,” he said in a late May interview with Payload Asia. The challenge the company has in Asia in general and China especially is to extend its customer base here. “Our Asian customer base is still relatively weak,” conceded Gadola. Keen on intra-Asian Keen to tap into growing intra-Asian trade as other trade routes either remain stagnant at best or are declining it wants to sell and generate more business out of the region especially China, that’s the pre-paid bit. Today most of its China business is either sold or generated in either Europe or the US. What it wants to do is get away from that towards a more balanced position. “What we are doing as we speak is hire highly qualified people,” said Gadola adding “it all starts with having a marketing and sales organisation in China.” Where the change will come, and it is a big one, is it will be concerned not so much with the westbound routes out of China to Europe but the regional ones and the Easterly ones. Panalpina is, it quietly admits keen to end its dependency on the traditional Far East–Westbound routes. “That’s actually the big challenge to end the Far East–Westbound (bias) and develop intra-Asia and the Far East–Eastbound or transpacific routes,” said Gadola. There is a twist in this a geographical one, although a twist still compatible with the company’s strategy of localisation: