1. The past year has been of great importance for Transfera, you marked the 10-year anniversary of successful business and strengthened the position of one of the largest and fastest growing logistics companies in Serbia and the region. How do you assess 2023 in terms of business and how did Transfera cope with the challenges during the crisis in the industry and globally?
In 2023, Transfera marked a decade of successful business, during which it developed into one of the regional leaders in the field of transport, customs representation, storage – handling operations and distribution, and it is truly a great honour to be part of that journey. When we faced the global economic crisis in the second half of 2022, which continued into 2023, it was clear that it would be a challenge for many industries around the world. However, Transfera has a wide range of business – the share of individual industries in our business is less than 5%, which makes us less susceptible to the direct effects of the crisis and provides us with stability, which is crucial in changing economic conditions.
Although there were challenges, we ended the year 2023 with the same level of income as the previous year, with an increase in the number of employees – from 381 to a total of 440, we increased the number of branches in Serbia to 26, expanded our operations to the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina by opening two new business units – in Sarajevo and Nova Gradiška, we implemented new solutions, advanced software and technologies, and our main focus was on rail and intermodal transport, which set the key segments of our development.
2. What does the company do to keep up with the current green agenda and how active is it in the area of environmental protection? How much do you invest in this business segment?
In the previous question, I mentioned the focus on intermodal transport that followed us throughout 2023, as an important part of Transfera’s strategy in the implementation and development of green transport. At the end of November 2023, we launched a new service – the first freight train from the intermodal terminal in Kruševac, whose final destination is West Germany. This step is aimed at reducing harmful carbon dioxide emissions during transport, as well as reducing costs in the international transport of goods.
The direct benefits of this service are reflected in the following – just one train of this type with 30 wagons on the above-mentioned route on an annual basis would result in saving the amount of harmful carbon dioxide emissions that would be produced by one truck traveling approximately 70 times around the planet Earth.
Another step towards the goal of greater sustainability is the fact that together with the company Green Energy 360, our long-term partner and member of the Comtrade group, we have started the project of implementing solar panels on the roof surface of the Transfer Logistics Centre (TLC1) in Novi Banovci, which enabled us to switch to sustainable energy sources.
3. Transfera has a tradition of cooperation with faculties in Serbia. How does it support young students?
Yes, our partnership with educational institutions in Serbia has been going on for many years, and I can freely say that we have a great, multifaceted cooperation. With the help of professors from the Faculty of Organizational Sciences, last year we started the analysis and mapping of all processes at the company level, but also of each sector individually. We are working together to optimize the current situation and implement new solutions, which will significantly improve all processes in Transfera. In addition, as part of the Transfera Academy launched in 2019, we organize regular lectures by professors from various faculties on subjects from the industry, but also on subjects related to leadership and management.
In addition, as a company we are dedicated to the professional development of young people – our HR department pays special attention to the recruitment of young talents without previous work experience, giving them the opportunity to start their career in logistics. In this domain, we also work closely with the Faculty of Transport and Traffic Engineering of the University of Belgrade and through various programs and practical work we strive to support them in learning and developing new skills. We are proud to have a young team of over 70 young engineers, and Transfera, like all of us, is here to guide and support them on their way to personal development and progress.
4. Corporate and social responsibility is another feature of your company. Tell us more about current humanitarian actions, sponsorships and other aspects of socially responsible business?
I can freely say that, in the last ten years, we have become recognizable as a company for our strong commitment to socially responsible operations, especially in the field of humanitarian campaigns, donations and sponsorships.
Since the beginning of our business, we have responded to, but also on our own initiative, helped numerous associations such as Children’s Shelter, Home for Children and Youth Without Parental Care, Mother and Child Institute, UNICEF, Food Bank, Association of Parents of Children with Malignant and Other Rare Diseases. Our goal is to support those who need it most and at the same time set a positive example and motivate other companies and individuals to get involved and together create a better world for those who deserve it the most.
As before, new humanitarian projects are planned for the coming period, in which the entire Transfera team will be involved; I am really proud to be part of a company that continues to provide assistance to the most vulnerable groups of society, among which the care of children is particularly highlighted.
5. How do you see your personal touch in the company and what was your path from the beginning of your career to a top management position?
My experience at Transfera was highly inspiring from the very beginning and shaped my career, but also me personally in different ways. Before graduating from the Faculty of Transport and Traffic Engineering, I joined Transfera in 2014 in the International Road Transport sector, where I spent the first two years. After that, my journey continues in the Customs Sector – this was followed by taking the exam for a customs agent, visiting customs offices and working directly with branches, where I had the opportunity to “first-hand” learn and master all customs procedures and processes.
From this point of view, changing roles and rotating through different sectors of the company allowed me to master the skills and knowledge necessary to understand the entire functioning process and learn how Transfera “breathes”. As I have been working with clients throughout my career, after the CEO and director of business development of our company formed a strong Client Service Sector, the logical sequence of events was for me to get involved in that aspect of the business. A few years later, through a lot of effort, work, commitment, new clients, business trips, a new step in my career followed – the position where I am today.
Transfera is one of the few companies where the initial team – the core of the entire business – has not changed. When you are surrounded by great people who share the same mission as you, want to make a change, improve the business, bring the business to a higher level, nothing is really difficult.
6. What are the company’s plans for the coming year? Do you expect business expansion and in which segments?
In the coming year, we will continue to actively work on improvement in all segments, and new collaborations, regional expansions, investments in advanced technologies and new software solutions are planned as well. We will focus on the further development of intermodal transport, the expansion of storage capacities, as well as the implementation of sustainable practices in all aspects of business. One thing is certain – we resolutely walk the “beaten path” that leads to new business victories!