There aren’t many people in the Suisse Romande who do not know PESA. The Lausanne Chavornay-based company is set to expand its forwarding, customs clearance and warehousing services. Christian Doepgen spoke to director Thierry Dornier.
Thierry, how did PESA develop in 2019 with this new distribution of charges?
I could not have asked for more. The logistics firm PESA, in business since 1973, is deeply rooted in the French-speaking region of Switzerland and has a strong team of experienced employees. Our reliable position in the market is based on annual sales of more than CHF 16 million.
How did you learn the ropes?
I had an intensive six-month introductory period. I got to know our regional headquarters in Chavornay, PESA’s branches in Geneva, Valais and Ticino and our sister firm PESA AG’s offices in Pratteln, St Louis (France) and Weil (Germany). I learnt about interesting activities such as ‘quali-night’ in the post-express segment and got insights into Planzer’s international subsidiaries, including Groupe Ritschard, Decker in Achern and Maier in Singen (both southern Germany). Niche player Helveticor, active in the market for security logistics, is also very interesting. So now I know all the most important contacts in the conglomerate.
What career did you have before PESA?
I originally dreamt of becoming an independent lorry operator, having completed my studies at the Ecole de direction du transport et de la logistique (EDTL). I did work at the wheel as a driver for two years; then I gathered some experience as a customs clearance agent for a year; spent three years in the international overland transport segment; and four years in the sea and airfreight sector. From 2005 to 2018 I was a member of the executive management team at Ziegler Switzerland.
What is PESA’s profile?
We’re traditionally strong in overland transport and customs clearance services – in Chavornay alone we have 14 customs clearance agents at work. Around 60 employees cover Switzerland; they are also based in Geneva La Praille, Bardonnex, Martigny and Balerna (near Chiasso). Our daily France shuttle from Paris is a trump. We have many years of experience clearing fruit and vegetables, textiles, foodstuffs and alcohol through customs.
What other transport niches does PESA specialise in?
We have established strong in-house expertise in the containerised transport of personal items to Africa; our proximity to the Terco intermodal terminal in Chavornay is very handy in this context. We dispatch around 25 teu a month to various African countries – a complex but interesting segment.
What goals do you have for the future?
We’re well known, but we can improve yet further PESA’s position as a recognised brand in the market and bring the broad range of our activities to the fore. We’re an accredited Iata airfreight agent, we run our own maritime transport department, a customs-bonded warehouse and an interim storage facility for SME’s part loads.
Does that leave any time for your commitment to the industry as a whole?
As a member of the board of Spedlogswiss Romandie, I represent our section in the central committee in Basel. I’m also the regional president of the overland transport section.