Logistics & Beyond: Interview With Peter K Mathew01. September 2021
In this edition of Logistics and Beyond, we speak to Mr Peter K Mathew from Fleet Line Shipping Services (FLS), our founding member in the United Arab Emirates. Being in the industry for over two decades, his remarks on the current global shipping challenges are thought-provoking and worth reading.
In conversation with Peter…
PL-Alliance: Fleet Line Shipping Services is an end-to-end logistics provider known for its service quality, and you stand out amongst project and heavy lift cargo handling players. With an experience of over 16 years in the market, we would like to learn more about how Fleet Line Shipping was established and the journey so far?
Peter K Mathew: I started FLS in early 2005 with over 10 years of local experience in the logistics industry. I had identified a window of opportunity in the Middle East market for a reliable service provider to provide a one-stop solution for project and heavy lift cargo handling. I also recognised a lack of logistics companies that could reach cargo to CIS countries with ease. I decided to take on the challenge, and so FLS was born with a mission for 'Speed, Accuracy and Assurance'. Today, we have organically grown to now employ over 50 staff and are proud to be a leader in project cargo handling in the UAE and beyond.
PL-Alliance: Peter, your career in the industry spans over two decades with plenty of accolades and accomplishments along the way. Can you elaborate on some defining milestones?
Peter K Mathew: In 2019, I was honoured to be one of the first recipients of the Golden visa in the UAE. The initiative is part of the UAE Government's continuous effort to create an investor-friendly and stable economic environment. The long-term visa acknowledges the contribution of long-term investors and professionals who make their mark in their respective fields and pave the way for newcomers.
FLS is also proud to have been awarded for our volume business from premium shipping lines and airlines for several years. We take immense pleasure in our successful association with all carriers, where we continue to grow in our partnership with honesty and integrity, always safeguarding our customer's interests first.
To me, these accomplishments are a recognition of the contribution of Team FLS, our customers and vendors who have accompanied us on this journey from the beginning of FLS, to whom I am deeply grateful.
PL-Alliance: Dubai has shown dramatic growth in logistics in recent years and, as a result, has become a strong player in international trade and transport logistics. This also means a lot of logistics companies are being set up there. How does Fleet Line Shipping tackle the growing competition?
Peter K Mathew: The UAE certainly deserves the growth they have achieved over the past couple of decades, all thanks to the decision of our visionary leaders to invest heavily in infrastructure such as ports and airports, which is the backbone of our industry.
We have a fantastic retention ratio with our customers; that is our USP. Winning the customers confidence through our innovative ideas, expert teamwork, in-house ISO&QHSE certified lashing and packing services, along with the cooperation of carriers and well-established overseas network partners who are regional experts in their respective fields, is a driving force in making us the company we are today.
PL-Alliance: The UAE plays a pivotal role in managing the inbound flows into the GCC region. Given the strategic role of controlling the main logistics infrastructure for the overall economy, various projects are being developed along the region, for instance, Saudi vision 2030 etc. How do you perceive this latest development? Do you think they will impact local businesses?
Peter K Mathew: As the saying goes, "Rome was not built in one day". The UAE has earned its reputation as a regional business and tourist hub for over 3 decades due to meticulous planning. The trust and ease of the business environment over here is not so easy to replace. Rather the regional friendly competition and peaceful co-existence can be mutually beneficial to all the stakeholders towards a larger goal of building a stronger Middle East.
PL-Alliance: The recent events in the world have had catastrophic effects on the supply chains, from equipment shortage and lack of space to the workforce shortage and its spilling over to affect the overall economy. Has your country or region got affected? What's the strategy to mitigate, and how long it will last, in your opinion?
Peter K Mathew: This is a global phenomenon brought forward by Covid-19. The lockdowns halted global supply chains and were a massive hit to carriers and airlines everywhere, which is now rippling into high freight prices as the economy picks back up. This benefits ship owners and operators as it helps them shed off their liabilities and reap profits to invest in new builds. However, the steep prices trickling down to the general population and the inflation caused by governments printing easy money to roll the wheels of the economy is perhaps an economic recession in the making.
Since our industry is the backbone of the supply chain that directly impacts economies at large, we have a responsibility to ask ourselves how much is enough in terms of ever-growing freight levels. I am sure our industry colleagues who run the ships and assets understand the situation and will come to a win-win situation for all.
PL-Alliance: Finally, what does a typical day look like for you? And what are your prospects for the company in terms of goals and developments?
Peter K Mathew: Weekdays for me are a typical 9 to 5. I like the old-fashioned ways of attending to daily matters. On weekends, you can find me at the golf course trying to improve my handicap. I enjoy playing a card game of Bridge with my friends and family. I also find some time to serve the community as a member of the Lions club.
At FLS, we will continue to nurture our talent and cultivate an environment of openness so they can perform to their potential. We are also currently boosting our high performing verticals such as our airfreight division while also providing a platform to our team to explore new verticals. We aim to constantly improve and strive for excellence in all that we do.
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