The logistics business reports increased demand for warehouse space and higher interest from investors.

An increased demand for logistics services and bigger investments in new logistics parks and hubs is reported by the logistics industry. “The difficulties in cross border transport due to the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 epidemic has forced many producers to stock up on more raw materials, storing them in warehouses that are closer to the production sites, thus providing faster deliveries during the lockdown,” says Boyan Boyanov, Logistics Manager at Gopet Trans. “This has increased the demand for warehouse space and filled up the capacity of many warehouses.”

For 2020, the warehouse of Gopet Trans in Sofia recorded an increase in turnover of 9.3% compared to 2019. After the first lockdown in the spring of 2020, during which the logistics as a whole suffered losses, the logistics company reported an increase in the volume of stored goods and nearly 90% fill-in of warehouse capacity. Daily the warehouse of Gopet Trans processes about 40 trucks (entry/exit) and fulfils about 180-200 requests from over 30 regular 3PL customers. In addition, over 200 pallets are loaded and unloaded on average per day through the cross-docking terminal.

“Regardless of the crisis, the logistics market is evolving and there is an increasing demand for warehouse space,” says Boyan Boyanov. “A number of global analysts in the sector refer to this trend as an opportunity for our country,” he added. The fact that Bulgaria is at the crossroads between Europe and Asia, creates requisites for building large transport and logistics hubs in our country, supplying the rest of Europe. “As everyone knows, the largest quantities of raw materials come from China, and there is a chance if we build a reliable transport connection with this Asian nation our country to become a kind of supply hub for Europe, which will drive an economic growth in the region,” adds Boyan Boyanov. Toward achieving this Gopet Trans recently started a large-scale project to develop the container transport from China and the Far East.

According to the expert, the current market situation is extremely dynamic and unpredictable, and the COVID-19 crisis has led to a number of changes in consumer attitudes, which is reflected on the market. The physical stores give way to virtual ones and consumers are turning more and more to shopping online. Supporting this trend is the fact that the logistics service with highest demand at the moment is the “fulfilment” – the management of the process of servicing online stores. This includes warehousing of goods, acceptance of orders through various channels (phone, email, web platform), order processing (consolidation and putting in proper packaging), shipping by courier at the request of the customer and management of complaints and returned goods. “This comprehensive service allows our customers to pay more attention to the development of their business and the promotion of the products they offer, without engaging in any logistics operations,” says Boyan Boyanov. He adds that recently the e-commerce has grown significantly and it now covers more and more sectors and industries. In particular, since the beginning of 2020 as a consequence of the pandemic, some sectors show a large increase in sales – these are mostly household goods of basic necessities – food, pharmacy, cosmetics and household items, while there is a reduction in the demand for clothing, furniture and appliances. Apart from these traditional sectors, there is also an increase in sales of auto parts, electronics, lighting, electrical materials and others through e-commerce channels. “Indicative is the fact that the courier business has grown in 2020 more than 30% compared to 2019, and online sales have increased 40 percent. Our statistics also shows clear proofs for the growth of e-commerce. We are seeing nearly triple increase in the number of customer web sales platforms, which we have integrated into ours, “said Boyan Boyanov.

The software used by Gopet Trans is a comprehensive ERP solution whose integration with external customer systems is thoroughly effective. The logistics company runs a dedicated system for data export and import to and from external systems. It offers also web services for real time communication with online stores and B2B portals. This actually means that the availability of goods is monitored in real time on the online merchant’s website. “We are aiming to achieve complete digitalization of the processes in Gopet Trans, following the latest trends in the industry. We have a significant experience and know-how in e-commerce and we approach each client individually. The knowledge that we have gained through the years gives us the confidence to consult our customers so we can give them the right guidelines for a smooth and optimal transition to e-commerce”, says Boyan Boyanov. The ERP system implemented in Gopet Trans supports tariffs, price offers to customers and subcontractors, specific requests for in/out orders of goods, functionality for inventories, planning, invoicing and financial management and more. The software allows full integration with other platforms and has numerous options for integration with various IT systems that customers may have.

Over the last 6 years Gopet Trans has been the largest company in terms of market share and turnover in the freight forwarding and logistics business in Bulgaria. It offers a wide range of services – all types of transport, forwarding, contract logistics, value added services, crossdocking, warehousing, inventory control, individual IT solutions, quality control and distribution.

Gopet Trans central warehouse is class A featuring a conventional shelving system. It is licensed by the Bulgarian Food Safety Agency (BFSA) to store packaged food products and raw materials for production and it also has a number of certificates, including ISO 9001 for quality management, ISO 28000 for supply chain security, SQAS – assessment for sustainability of safety and quality, IFC logistica food safety certificate, covering everyone in the supply chain – from manufacturers, through warehouses and distributors to retail consumers. Gopet Trans also offers a separate ADR warehouse for storage and handling of dangerous goods, as well as trained staff and all the needed permits. There are also separate warehouses dedicated for storage of industrial goods, and large machines/equipment, where the most advanced loading and unloading equipment is able to process parcels weighing up to 5000 kg.

One of the most important activities of the main warehouse of Gopet Trans is the cross-docking service. The transported goods remain in the warehouse only for a short period of time to be consolidated or reloaded on other vehicles for subsequent transportation. This service saves customers time, brings added value and offers a number of benefits, including reduced storage costs. It is particularly suitable for manufacturers and customers trading in FMCG, for whom faster delivery is of key importance, given the shelf life of the products. Crossdocking is bidirectional. From one side there is an import from abroad to Gopet Trans warehouse, division of shipments by destinations and their distribution in the country, and from other side there is an export abroad, where the shipments are grouped and sent to destinations in Europe and other parts of the world.

In addition, the location of the Gopet Trans logistics center and warehouse in Sofia is extremely attractive with its strategic positioning. Nearby pass the E79 and E80 international roads, as well as Sofia ring road, which allows quick access to all capital city areas, as well as to the whole country. The logistics company serves almost all industries, including food and textile, manufacturing and others, offering for them import, export, warehousing and domestic distribution. “We have successfully handled large corporate promo campaigns that require paying attention to the detail and consolidation of many resources. We are flexible and we can respond adequately and in a prompt manner to any customer request because we are aware that the business is extremely dynamic and volatile”, says Boyan Boyanov.

Gopet Trans is also a reliable provider of transport and logistics services for small and medium businesses, offering a wide range of services tailored for their needs. “Our main advantage for the customers in SMB segment is that we operate as One Stop Shop – one partner for all their logistics processes, experienced and responsive logistic teams, custom IT solutions that help accelerate their business and ability to keep full track of processes and goods in real-time,” says the expert.

The company also offers a full range of transport solutions – road, sea, air, and intermodal to and from Europe. One of the latest successful projects of the company is the development of container shipping by sea from China and the Far East. Gopet Trans serves more than 30 clients in the field of 3PL logistics and has established partnerships with local companies in many countries, including it has its own warehouses in Greece and Romania.

“Preserving the environment has always been one of our top priorities,” says Boyan Boyanov. “The development of intermodal transport has been a major step in this direction – boarding transport units on a train significantly reduces harmful emissions and at the same time reduces the road traffic.”

“Logistics plays an important role in all the processes taking place in a market economy, including the fast expansion of e-commerce that we are seeing now, or traditional sales that I expect to grow after the pandemic. These services will always be required, so they will evolve and improve further”, concluded Boyan.