Aleksandar Milin, General Manager At Express Cargo:

Pionires OfCritical Express

This master of agricultural engineering, top man at a transport company specialised in delivering sensitive shipments, pioneer of dry ice transportation, owner of a distillery and co-owner of a restaurant, considers that work must have various forms in order for life to be high quality

Company Express Cargo d.o.o. (Ltd.) was founded in 2002 and deals with the transportation of parcels around the world. It offers clients a top service in the field of international air, water and road transport, complete import-export services, customs brokerage and door-to-door delivery, as well as offering some other specific services…

Your company is recognised in Serbia as a leader in its field, which is also supported by the award received from the Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Serbia. Since the company’s establishment 15 years ago, how long was required for you to reach the high market position you hold in your field today?

– We are very proud of the recognition from the Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Serbia for SMEs that we received on the occasion of our anniversary, but alongside that it should also be noted that in 2013 we received recognition from Quintiles Laboratories. This award is presented for the high-quality delivery of services, and we received it because we have been dealing successfully for 15 years with the specialised transportation of sensitive shipments and easily perishable goods.

Market position is something that’s built upon every day, and after many years, or after our 15 years, we can say that we are satisfied with our status, but that we are going further. It is particularly important to point out that, in addition to the basic work, we also set some new standards in cooperation with scientific institutions, impacting on the positioning, for example, of cold transport chains, which is increasingly in demand, while in addition to that we also improve our activities generally.

We could realistically say that we are also pioneers in “cold transport”, a special type of goods transport under strictly controlled conditions, to which we pay great attention, working in an extremely professional and high-quality way, and in all of that we cooperate to a great degree with scientific institutions. Apart from that, we are also the first to transport goods using dry ice

How much have market conditions changed in the last decade and a half, including when it comes to increased competition?

– As in any other business, market conditions change, globalisation continues at an unbridled pace, with working also diversifying in our area. Through diversification giants are created, which conquer markets in different ways and fight with the competition, through truthfully not always in a fair and professional way. Nevertheless, I consider that quality is the only argument and the only proper way to fight with the competition, and thus earn the market one deserves. As for expansion, for now I don’t think that my company should become big, because alongside this business I also want to develop in some other directions.

Your work is practically connected to the entire planet. To what extent do political changes, instability, serious crises and even wars pose a challenge to transport works, regardless of type and scope?

– It is true that transport is like the flow of the bloodstream, that it moves everywhere, and that literally the entire planet, or at least a major part of it, is our market. Changes have become ever more frequent over recent years, such that you never know what can happen and disrupt the completion of a job you’ve started. These constant obstacles are indeed a challenge, but believe me when I say that there used to be more of them. After a certain period on the job we can all say “I’ve seen it all and it all happened”, but that’s often not the case. We are always surprised by some new problem, but it is also a challenge to resolve it and move on. All in all, the great experience we have, coupled with quality staff ready to work under pressure and to deadlines and obligations, ensures we always find a solution.

If you had to note your company’s top asset, whether that’s a particular type of service or transportation, what would you say and why?

– We were pioneers in the transport of blood and blood plasma samples under special temperature conditions and samples for research in the pharmaceutical industry, and we still deal with that very successfully. Our activities fall under the category of “critical express”, and in order for us to deal with this area we had to obtain a series of licenses and permits that are issued by state bodies. Furthermore, the equipment we possess and the vehicles we work with are also specific and specially equipped, and it is also mandatory for us to have specially trained staff.

Express Cargo has just been granted a license for a public customs warehouse, so it will operate via a public customs warehouse that will be registered to accept and dispatch medicines, with a special temperature regime – and that’s what makes our company attractive to clients, because we are constantly introducing innovations, offering something we think they will need. We constantly strive to gain some new licenses, because for us they also mean new markets, new clients and new jobs. The continuous improvement of services and working methods is definitely something that distinguishes us from others.

Express Cargo has also spent the last four years working as a ground cargo handling agent for Cargo Lux, for which we transport goods by road throughout the region from a hub in Budapest, in the hope that we will be able to “relocate” it to Belgrade

If we focus on clients, could it be said that certain types of services attract the most interest?

– When it comes to our clients, we are happiest that we have many permanent ones, who have cooperated with us for many years, which testifies to the fact that they are certainly satisfied with our work. The greatest interest is certainly in critical services or dedicated transport. However, I think that we achieved our comparative advantage the most in this way, because we do not rely absolutely on domestic clients and most of our portfolio comprises foreign clients.

As the head of the company, are you among those people who delegate obligations and have trust in your colleagues, or do you belong to the other group of managers who believe in themselves the most and have a need to control even the less important details?

– Before I opened my own company, I worked at a German firm and there, like everyone else, I had to pass through every position, in order to oversee the entire process and see the difficulties and specificities of every workplace in the whole company. So, I set up the same concept when I founded my own firm. I pay a lot of attention to rewarding and motivating people, for them to progress and move forward, but everyone must start from the initial courier position. As for me personally, the idea is that I do not need to participate in all operations and every process, but rather my main role, as the general manager, is to bring work. And it is the duty of operatives to do that work efficiently and effectively.

It is less known that you have broad interests that also encompass some other spheres. In addition to managing your company, you also deal with rakija brandy production and are the co-owner of a restaurant. Is that an additional business, a hobby or a form of relaxation?

– No matter how satisfied and successful I am in this transport business, I didn’t want to neglect my basic education in agricultural technology, which is why I opened my own distillery six years ago, where I convert my newly acquired knowledge from my master studies into high-quality brandy.

Thanks to my work taking me around almost the entire world, I have enjoyed culinary specialities everywhere. Due to my desire to bring those flavours to Belgrade, I became the co-owner of a restaurant. I consider that it’s better to have something you can enjoy besides work, which exhausts us all, so I think I would recommend this kind of hobby-business to everyone.