Heavylift / Breakbulk
Holleman keeping up the pace
The Romanian heavylift specialist, which was founded in 1997 with the established Dutch Holleman Holding as its majority shareholder, has come a long way in Eastern and Central Europe. George Nita, who purchased the Dutch shares in the firm ten years ago and found a German investor, is still at the helm of the company. ITJ editor Andreas Haug spoke to him about the course for the future.
Mr Nita, what exactly does Holleman do?
Our main business concerns heavylift and oversized cargo transports. We work for the machine industry and help with things like moves and the installation of wind farms. We also offer a wide variety of trucking services.
Can you give us a few figures that demonstrate how your business is developing?
We employ more than 200 people in Romania in all of these segments, and have an annual turnover of EUR 20 million. In Romania alone we operate a fleet of 76 trucks with a very diverse spectrum of capabilities.
How internationally oriented is your group beyond Romania?
The Holleman group is a Romanian-German corporation, in which we and P. Schwandner Logistik + Transport each hold a 50% share. Our headquarters are in Romania, but we also incorporated a company in Bulgaria in 2006 (Holleman Bulgaria) and a Moldovan company in 2007 (Holleman East). In 2008 we added three more international branches: Holleman Transport in Serbia, Holleman Special Transport Hungary and Holleman Ukraine. On top of that we are members of global networks such as GPLN, THLG, WWPC and CEE.
Those are not exactly easy markets to do business in. How is your company faring in these individual countries?
We are the market leader in Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia and Ukraine.
The situation in Ukraine in particular is rather tenuous at the moment.
Developments there have had a negative influence on our business. In 2013 our Ukrainian office had still created quite a stir when we were in charge of transporting 39 wind turbines with 54 m long rotor blades and 105 m long tower sections. But this year life has been rough. Although there have been fewer goods to transport, we’re trying to maintain our structure. We hope that the situation will improve and that our business results stabilise.
Why should a potential customer select your company over one of your competitors’ services?
We consider ourselves lucky to be the market leader for oversized and heavylift transports in the countries where we’re active. But in order to stay on top we have to continue to work hard.
We want to build long-term loyalty with our existing customers. To do that, we offer complete transparency as well as flexible services, fair prices for top service quality and professionalism, and a high standard of communication.
Where do you see growth potential for your company – will it be purely organic or will acquisitions play a role?
We’re active in both directions. This year we’ve entered the field of grain transport. We’ve purchased and commissioned ten new trucks specially designed for this segment. We’re analysing whether heavier or lighter transports promise better margins, and we’re making our investments based on these analyses. The decision will be influenced in part by emissions standards. In most European countries it is more expensive to operate older trucks, and we have to maintain our high standards.
You personally did not enter the industry until you were 29 years old. Before that you were an army officer. What is it that draws you to heavylift transport?
The scope of the international projects. While we’re on the subject, I should mention that we have two teams based in Western Europe that install 2 to 3 MW onshore wind turbines. This is an attractive erection service that we offer our customers in the wind power industry in different countries. It requires a great degree of technical expertise and high safety standards.
I’d also like to draw attention to our capabilities in industrial handling. When we position transformers, generators or similar equipment, we use our gantries, which have 1,000 t lifting capacities.
Mr Nita, thank you very much for this interview.