Zoltán Szabó, Owner and Managing Director

Founded in 1996, Ghibli, named after the desert winds blowing from the Sahara to the north and north-westcoast of Africa, started out as a road haulage company, like the vast majority of transport companies. In this segment, the company still works with 250-300 subcontractors and fulfils more than 120,000 orders a year. Zoltán Szabó, the owner and Managing Director of Ghibli Kft., is proud that they have a 99.7% certification rate, meaning that the proportion of complaints is only 3 thousandths, one of the best results in the industry.

Over the years, however, the company’s freight forwarding potential has expanded considerably: in addition to road transport, it now also offers rail, sea and air transport, warehousing, customs clearance, logistics and even the relocation of entire factories.

“It’s a complexity that very few logistics and freight forwarding providers outside the big companies can match, and the pandemic has proved the advantage that these capabilities can bring more than anything else. Because, when it was almost impossible to get goods from one part of the world to another due to the lockdowns and the almost complete stoppage of air traffic, our group was the only one that was able to organise the delivery of medical protective equipment to Hungary from China with two cargo planes—and all this in 3 days”, Zoltán Szabó proudly recalls. Their newly acquired warehouse in BUD Cargo City and their extended customs clearance gave them a significant competitive advantage over other freight forwarders during this period.

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At the start of the pandemic, trains were used to replace lorries to Europe, replacing the road freight traffic paralysed by border closures and the quarantine of lorry drivers. So Ghibli, making a virtue out of necessity, sought and found workarounds to guarantee the delivery of the goods, and very few were able to do that in those weeks and months.

As a strong Central European logistics provider, Ghibli is now present on several continents: Europe, North and South America, Africa and Asia. They continue to target Italy, Poland, Germany and Turkey strategically, but now also South Korea and China.

Ten years ago, management recognised the growth potential of the Chinese economy and trade and decided to enter the Chinese market. Since 2011, Zoltán Szabó has been a board member of the Hungarian-Chinese Chamber of Commerce, founder and chairman of the Large Enterprise Logistics Leaders Club, and eight years ago he turned Ghibli into a company in which his partner is a group of companies with a Chinese background. Thanks to this relationship, already in 2018, they received more than 160 trains from China and then customs cleared and delivered their cargo to Europe. Currently, weekly trains and daily cargo flights are still arriving from the Asian country.

Ghibli is also a member of a Hong Kong-based and a US-based global freight forwarding and logistics network. This allows them to ship in complete safety to more than 100 countries around the world. Last year they were named European Road Freight Forwarder of the Year.

Road freight forwarding, which accounts for a significant share of the company’s turnover, is provided by multinational companies in the automotive, chemical and food industries, where punctual and reliable service and a high level of dedicated professional work are of paramount importance.

The owner and Managing Director is convinced that the success of Ghibli is due in large part to the quality of its workforce, which is backed up by the careful selection of its staff and the fact that the company, which currently employs more than 180 people, recognised the importance of training and supporting managers many years ago.

They have also recently become involved in the logistics of e-commerce of goods from the Far East to Europe. They see significant growth potential, as it is a dynamic growth market to which logistics has to adapt. “Today, it can take days for a product to arrive in Europe from China, but in the US there are already e-commerce platforms that offer delivery within 12 hours. This is only possible with intermediate warehouses close to the markets, so we will expand our more than 33,000 square meters of warehouses in the Csepel Freeport and at the airport,” the owner and Managing Director said, referring to the near future.

It’s a huge success that the exclusive Chinese freight forwarder of the largest e-commerce platform in China has chosen Ghibli as its partner among several logistics providers in several countries and, through a jointly developed IT system, they are able to perform hundreds of thousands of customs clearances for them every day, paving the way for their integration into e-commerce logistics. As a result of their successful collaboration so far, they expect a significant increase in turnover in the coming period.

Ghibli, which has been able to ride globalisation successfully, is doing its utmost to combat its negative consequences in its own territory and with its own means. It has already entered into a strategic agreement with the Clean Air Action Group, establishing an award for logistics companies that develop environmentally friendly logistics solutions. In his experience, efficiently organised logistics have a smaller ecological footprint, which is why the company’s managers are also trying to optimise routes, space utilisation and organisation, and offer their partners more sustainable transport solutions.

Zoltán Szabó also considers digitalisation and the use of new technologies essential for the future. They will also soon be launching a proprietary document management application that will provide any company that purchases it with an instant view of the certified delivery notes in their corporate management system.

At Ghibli, they believe in the power of professionalism and innovation, and that their business results will allow them to be listed on BSE Xtend within two years.