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Staying Ahead Of The Curve

By: Samantha Tham and Contributor

Interview with Andre Delarue

Rhenus COO Airfreight Asia, Andre Delarue, has been actively involved in a number of initiatives to streamline processes and bolster the company’s presence in the APAC region. In this interview, he offers a glimpse into his life, and shares his views on how the logistics industry has changed faster than anticipated, and how he thinks Rhenus is poised to meet these new challenges.

About the man

Andre Delarue strikes others as a person one warms to easily.
Approachable yet direct, he offers his perspective without wasting his words. Having led the Airfreight Asia team for more than 8 years, he counts being open-minded and honest some of the key factors to his success.

Andre, who is now based in Singapore, has worked in Frankfurt, Hong Kong and Shanghai. Despite having spent more than 15 years in the industry, he is as passionate as he was when he first started.

“What attracted me in the first place was the dynamism and the level of interaction the job exposes you to. Whether it is interacting with customers, colleagues, agents or sub-contractors, you have maintain a delicate balance between being as open as possible and being able to think on your feet.”

The APAC landscape

In recent years, the business and economic landscape of the APAC region has undergone a massive transformation: from being the low-cost manufacturing go-to of western businesses to a provider of high-value services and digital products for the world.

“The APAC region is definitely an area of growth Rhenus is keeping a close eye on. With many developing countries in the region, changes happen more rapidly than compared to the past. Take for example Japan, which emerged as a manufacturing giant in the 1980s, only to be surpassed by China within the span of a decade. In the meantime, new countries such as Vietnam and India rise to the fore and attempt at overtaking the market because their emerging economies seem full of promise.”

While Andre is confident about Rhenus expanding its footprint in APAC, he is also cautious. A bigger and more open APAC region, with its diverse, yet complex, supply chain networks across several countries and increasing cross-border traffic, brings new challenges.

“Weak infrastructure, in terms of the construction of warehouses, roads and traffic, is one concern. Many developing Asian countries are still struggling to keep up with the increased demand as transport routes from warehouses to the airport or to manufacturing sites and vice versa, are not properly planned out. Inadequate infrastructure puts a lot of constraints on the competitiveness of logistics service providers as shrinking delivery time has become a major service differentiator.”

What sets Rhenus apart?

In terms of how Rhenus is poised to meet other challenges in the future, Andre feels that the shift to automation and digitalisation is where Rhenus will make a huge impact and differentiate itself from its competitors even further. 

“We are definitely well-positioned for the future. Our systems will be integrated into one global solution so that we can offer our customers more value. I am confident that our international presence and reach will ensure the success of this initiative.”

Andre also believes that the Rhenus culture is what sets the company apart from others.

“What I feel makes Rhenus a great place to work in is that the owners are very close to the business, which highlights their commitment towards augmenting the overall success. It certainly is gratifying to work for a company which is forward-looking and willing to invest not only in the right resources and people to accomplish a shared goal, but also in the appropriate technical solutions, countries and trade lanes to stay competitive.”

Samantha Tham, Marketing and Communications Manager (APAC) at Rhenus Logistics Asia Pacific, edited this article. To contact her about this or other articles, email blog@ap.rhenus.com

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