Ashish Asaf, MD and CEO, S. A. Consultants & Forwarders interview to Logistics Insider

S. A. Consultants & Forwarders Pvt Ltd, India’s leading neutral wholesale freight forwarder Ashish Asaf, Managing Director and CEO, was interviewed by Logistics Insider.

“Bringing neutrality in business signifies growing together”

Incepted in 2000, the two-decade-old freight forwarder, S. A. Consultants & Forwarders Pvt Ltd brands itself as the nation’s leading neutral wholesale freight forwarder that moves everything. In a conversation with Ashish Asaf, Managing Director and CEO, S. A. Consultants & Forwarders Pvt Ltd, we take a quick recap of the company’s journey so far, explore the group’s neutrality stand, discuss the growing digital freight forwarding landscape, and talk about the company’s short-term  and long term goals. Edited excerpts:

You position yourself as India’s leading neutral air freight forwarding company. Can you explain the meaning of the term in this context?

I understand that neutrality is quite an unheard term in our sphere of business, but it’s time to bring neutral standards in place if we want to set standards of excellence in the air cargo business. Neutrality means giving other emerging forwarders a chance at market share. Bringing neutrality in business signifies growing together. With neutral standards in place, we empower emerging airfreight forwarders by proposing them competitive prices and a pan-India presence. This would possibly help develop innovative business models that will improve customer experience and operational efficiencies. We call ourselves the country’s leading neutral wholesale airfreight forwarding company because we provide services exclusively to freight forwarders, customs brokers, courier agents, and food product manufacturers. We maintain zero interest in value unit (cargo) intending to protect our customers and not compete against them. By maintaining zero interest in the value unit, we are giving access to great rates and services and no risk of ‘back selling’ which means we are not a threat to any freight forwarder.

When there are neutral standards in place, a platform prioritizes rate and client data security, benefiting all its participants. A platform must deliver customer value and with us functions like shipment tracking and digital document transmission are not at all a concern to forwarders.

Take us through the services and offerings of S A Group. And let’s try to reflect and quickly recap on the journey of the company since its inception in the year 2000.

We can proudly say that our more than the two-decade-old company is the country’s leading neutral wholesale freight forwarder. We are in the top 10 list of Indian freight forwarders issued by IATA. We move everything. There is no such commodity that we don’t move across the world, be it pharmaceuticals, live animals, perishables, dangerous goods, apparel, handicrafts, automobile  parts, general cargo, etc. We are India’s leading neutral wholesale airfreight forwarding company facilitating shipments via air and offering tailor-made packages for one’s forwarding needs.

Once your cargo is in our hands, all the documentation is done by us. Our experienced professionals have the requisite skills to offer a seamless custom clearance process right from verifying the documents to handing over the shipment to the airline.

Under our air cargo charter service, we facilitate the shipment of heavy and outsize items that can’t
be loaded onto scheduled services and requires critical precision to propose the most suitable
solution. From small jets to large freighters, we have an infrastructure to send any outsize cargo
anywhere in the world and within the deadline. We are providing tailor-made solutions to all over
dimensional cargo (ODC) requirements.

Last but not the least, we also offer air export consolidation service to various destinations. Taking advantage of reduced rates, adequate capacity, and reliable schedules, we enable our clients to  plan their consolidated shipments accurately. Individual consignments can get assembled at our origin warehouse and built onto aircraft units. We ensure that consolidated airfreight consignments are handled safely and loaded securely, to avoid the risk of damage or loss. We are now an exclusive partner of Aero Africa for air export consolidation and are now able to offer neutral scheduled consolidation with competitive rates from 7 India gateways to Johannesburg, South Africa. The services include capacity for dangerous goods, pharmaceuticals, and perishables from BOM, DEL, BLR, MAA, CCU, HYD, and AMD with simplified airport-toairport and airport-to-door services.

Coming to the second question, our history began more than 22 years ago, and since then we  have been growing in leaps and bounds. We have built our entire business on the foundation of honesty and integrity, and we strongly believe that these are the two most important pillars of building a strong, trusting relationship with employees, stakeholders, and customers. With strong presence across the nation, we have branches located in Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi-NCR, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, and Mumbai.

Logistics industry is currently undergoing rapid digital transformation. Kindly throw some light on the growth of the digital freight forwarding landscape in India.

Yes, we agree that our industry is undergoing the process of realigning business in the digital age, but a reality check is needed when we say at an extraordinary pace. The pandemic accelerated the pace of digitization, but a lot is needed to be done.

We believe whatever can be digitized should not remain manual. It’s time for airlines to digitize  their pricing and integrate with the IATA freight forwarders’ systems to bring uniformity and transparency to the freight forwarding community. Most freight forwarding companies already have ERP systems with which airlines can directly integrate their pricing and give the freight forwarding community an equal and fair chance of succeeding.

Also, most importantly there are instances when we had received wrong information (specifically service-related) from the digital platforms of the carriers as the actual situation is different than what is being served digitally to us. We believe that these system glitches are becoming an obstacle to doing business efficiently in today’s era of the internet.

However, a slow but steady start towards digitization has now begun. The logistics sector is already beginning to change, and organizations have also started helping employees prepare for the digital future by improving their skills.

Would you like to share the company’s short-term or long-term goals?

We aim to become the country’s wholesale partner of choice. And to achieve this, we are continuously expanding our network. Over the years, we have built a strong relationship with air cargo carriers and are serving one’s forwarding needs across the world at all times.

You may read S.A Consultants & Forwarders’ latest Newsletter here