Air freight at GSL – an interview with Katharina Schwolow
Our air freight specialist discusses her career and what she finds particularly fascinating about the air freight sector. It also covers GSL as an employer and Katharina’s dream travel destinations.
Interview on 02/08/2021
Bastian: You’ve recently become responsible for air freight at GSL. We have already received a large number of enquiries. Which regions are we currently dealing with the most frequently?
Katharina: Yes you’re right, I’ve been working for the company since May and am really pleased to have taken this step.
At the present time, most of our enquiries actually come from the Persian/Arabian Gulf region, with some customers increasingly requesting consignments to Mexico and Latin America.
We are able to serve virtually any destination. Our network also allows us to pick up consignments in other European countries and then export them to the respective recipient country. Conversely, we also import from overseas to Europe upon request.
We cover every stage of the process; from pick-up to transportation via plane, all the way through to customs clearance in the recipient country. So our customers don’t need to worry about anything at all in this regard.
Bastian: So you’ve spent your entire career to date in logistics. What has your career been like so far, and what do you like in particular about air freight?
Katharina: I completed a combined programme of study at the BIHV (Bremen Institute for Trade and Transportation) in Bremen whilst also being trained as a forwarding merchant at the same time.
I found air freight to be particularly appealing and a lot of fun during my training. That’s because the length of transportation is much shorter than it is for other modes of transport, and you need to respond much faster when customers are threatened by assembly line stoppages or delivery delays. It’s great fun processing consignments in such a way to ensure they arrive on time without being charged penalties, even though it can be stressful sometimes! I’d also love to see a plane being loaded live in real time, that’s something that is still on my to-do list.
After I’d successfully qualified as an Economist in Transport and Logistics, I then wanted to continue my studies in the field of logistics and corporate management, which I achieved by completing a part-time Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree in Utrecht, the Netherlands, alongside my job. Now that I’m 24, I feel as though I’ve been pretty well trained as a freight forwarder having followed this path. During my training, I was able to acquire plenty of knowledge in various specialist departments, which I can also use on a daily basis too.
Bastian: What is the longest route so far that goods have been dispatched under your responsibility?
Katharina: One time I had to pick up a consignment in Canada and route it via Frankfurt as a box had to be separated there to inspect the goods and then sent to the client. The consignment was then processed ready to be exported to Hong Kong. I found it really interesting, particularly the import into Frankfurt to separate the single box from the consignment in order to allow the remainder to be exported.
Bastian: You said you feel at ease in the logistics industry. Why did you choose GSL?
Katharina: I chose GSL as the opportunity to accompany a specialist department from the outset and utilise my knowledge and expertise to help develop it really appealed to me. I’m looking forward to what the future may bring!
Bastian: In your view, what sets us apart from other providers?
Katharina: I think the main advantage we have is that we are part of a fantastic network. We work together with other freight forwarders and agents in order to be able to offer as many destinations as possible. One such example is Iran, which many of our competitors are unable to serve due to the supply embargo in place.
Bastian: Last but not least, is there a country or a city that you’ve always wanted to travel to?
Katharina: I’d absolutely love to travel to New York, San Francisco, Mexico City and Latin America in general, I’m fascinated by the culture and friendliness of people there. Other than that, I’d love to fly somewhere that takes as long as most of my consignments! ?
Bastian: Thanks a lot for your time! I’m looking forward to the next interview.
Katharina Schwolow was interviewed by Bastian Gohr.