Christopher Sandler, Managing Director, EUROTAINER
"Many of our containers are fitted with telematics technologies, not only for tracking the equipment, but also to measure temperature, pressure and impacts to the container during the supply chain."
How has Eurotainer dealt with supply chain disruptions to meet demand in the Americas?
A lot of our equipment is built in China, so getting products to customers has been a big challenge. Working with third parties has really helped in this regard, and we have been able to keep up with deliveries. With the higher oil prices we have experienced increased demand for Eurotainer’s oilfield products, which we had previously forecast and prepared for so we could meet the supply requirements. Another area which has seen significant growth is the food segment for which Eurotainer has dedicated food fleets.
In Latin America we have seen particularly robust demand from Mexico, Colombia, Brazil and Uruguay. The company’s diverse fleet of over 150 types of tanks and customized solutions has been a big advantage during challenging times.
To what extent is the topic of sustainability impacting the logistics industry and Eurotainer’s business?
Our equipment, rail cars and tank containers fit perfectly into this green vision as we have very little carbon impact in what we do, and the containers are 100% reusable. The Ermewa group has received a gold rating from EcoVadis for sustainability, and we are also part of the NASDAQ Sustainable Bond network, which provides transparency to investors about our long-term sustainability strategy.
Eurotainer is working on new developments in lighter weight materials, working with suppliers on safety components, and we are responsible for the end of life practice of all of our assets. This is a collaborative focus with customers and suppliers to reduce carbon footprints.
Where is Eurotainer investing in smart logistics solutions and technology?
Many of our containers are now fitted with telematics technologies, not only for tracking the equipment, but also to enable customers to measure temperature, pressure and impacts to the container during the supply chain. The aim is to connect a lot of what we do into our customers’ full supply chains. We are also investing internally in software that enhances the way in which we can share information with customers and suppliers.
Can you give examples of Eurotainer’s work in Latam in recent years?
Due to the challenges faced in the last three years, we have not only used our containers for transportation, but also for the storage of buffer stock in case supply chains are not meeting the critical demands they have. For the chemical sector, which supplies raw materials to so many industries, this is crucial. Eurotainer was also pleased to be able to help the medical community in South America by supplying oxygen tanks during the pandemic, as well as getting food products into areas where they were most needed.
Logistics disruptions have characterized the last three years. How has the situation evolved in 2022, and when do you expect the situation to start easing?
It is still hard to envision supply chain bottlenecks and inflationary pressures easing anytime soon, including in the early parts of 2023. By the second half of 2023, I believe that we will see some governmental pressure on the container lines, increased focus on easing port congestions, and maybe some easing of logistics pricing.
Where could infrastructure investment in Latin America be directed to make the most tangible difference?
I would say investment into rail and into building port to rail infrastructure is key. In places like Port of Santos in Brazil, if you had better connectivity you could avoid the treacherous roads going up and down the mountains, it would be safer and more cost effective, especially as you are moving these cargoes long haul.
What is the company’s growth strategy in the coming years?
Organic growth is a big part of Eurotainer’s strategy, and we are evaluating expansion of our distribution areas in Latin America in 2023. The company recently opened an office in Dubai to support our Middle East, India, and Africa region, and opened an office in Czech Republic to focus on Eastern Europe. We are looking at opportunities to grow with potential acquisitions, where there is a strategic fit.