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An Introduction   Twenty – eight thousand and forty – two.

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2021.03.03

An Introduction

 

Twenty - eight thousand and forty - two.

 

This figure is the total number of the business cards that I received at the companies I have visited over the last 22 years. The total number of the companies I have contacted is 11,778 companies (as of July 5, 2001).

 

Currently, I manage a small international logistics company with about 30 employees. This year our company celebrated its  22nd anniversary. We mainly handle containerships and we are transporting various kinds of items from shippers to various parts of the world. The human connections with more than 20,000 people are a great asset. For a small scaled company like us, such human connections help to stabilize wild fluctuations within the shipping industry.

 

Our company is headquartered in Nagoya city, one of the three major cities in Japan. There is a big difference in the number of the companies that exist in Nagoya, compared with that of the companies in Tokyo. Nagoya is not necessarily a blessed environment to a company like ours that needs to have relationships with numerous other companies.

 

Nonetheless, the Chubu district (Aichi, Gifu and Mie prefectures) where our headquarters is located is a collection site in Japan's manufacturing industry. In the past, Chubu prospered in the ceramics and textile industries, and many products were exported. After the WW II the automobile industry took their place.

 

Nagoya Port serves as a gateway for exporting such industrial products. The total cargo volume handled at this port is the greatest in Japan for 15 consecutive years (as of 2017). It is the greatest international trade port in Japan even in terms of total export value and trade surplus value. In that sense, I believe that having a headquarters in Nagoya as an international logistics company is very helpful.

 

It was in 1995 that our company was born in Nagoya, starting  with only three employees. At first, I had very few business opportunities for a while and suffered from a deficit. I tried to approach almost every export company in the Chubu district to obtain orders. Those were the days when I had to carry out daily sales efforts by visiting new companies every day. In those days, there was no name recognition of our company. In the third year, our company finally turned to a surplus. Thus the management of our company began experiencing a profit.. Since three years had elapsed, our customers in the Chubu had been exhausted. As our next challenge, we opened a branch in Tokyo. We also started to develop new businesses in Kansai and Kyushu regions by taking trips to visit these regions.

 

As a result of these efforts, in the twenty first year of our establishment, we were able to become recognized as the world's sixth place leader in forwarding material to Japan from North America. I think that everyone in the industry can understand what we accomplished. On the other hand, a lot of people, who are general readers, may wonder, “In the first place what is a forwarder?” Explaining Forwarding in a word, it is an international shipping company that does not have a ship. I will explain this matter in detail in this book, but this word *forwarder” is also an important theme of this book. Please keep this word in your mind.

 

By the way, shippers are not the only ones that I have deepened relations with. We have developed exchanges with everyone in the industry, such as customs brokers, shipping companies in Japan and other countries, logistics companies, forwarders, etc. They were various forms of encounters that happened during visiting export-related companies across the country for developing new businesses with various companies ranging from major listed companies to a small company operated by one individual.

 

Perhaps nowhere else in Japan are there sales representatives who have approached the amount of export companies as I have. Because many companies, including major companies, divide their responsible areas in the region, it is extremely rare for a salesman to travel all over the country. Of course, it does not mean anything if we only boast of the number of the people we met. Our relations are worthwhile only when we can maintain our ties and make use of them in business.

 

While interacting with a lot of people, I learned about the various truths, which  cannot be obtained from the mass media alone, with regards to all kinds of problems facing many businesses and their actual challenges in conjunction with the issues of distribution and shipping. At the same time, I have witnessed the facts of the shipping industry. This actual information is also an important asset for me.

 

The book entitled Science of Optimal Logistics (Saiteki Butsuryu no Kagaku) is a product of this vital asset. In this book, I will introduce the reality of the international logistics based on the information I have obtained so far. However, we will focus on the shipping containers that are most frequently used in Japan as a means of transporting general cargo. Furthermore, I would like to talk about the standard of how to select logistics companies, and what is "optimal logistics". Also, let me share my view on the prospect of the shipping industry in the future.

 

This book is the first book I have ever written as a person with the self-proclaimed record of "number one export company visit in Japan" that I established in developing new businesses for twenty-two years in the turbulent shipping industry. I may sound awkward here and there in this book, but I intended to explain the shipping industry as logically and objectively as possible. However, there may be subjective descriptions as well. Please understand that this book is not meant to a “manual” book of general logistics. Please take what is written here as a collection of the voices of the "warrior" who fought at the front lines of the international logistics. I would like to extend my appreciation to those who are planning to engage in the international logistics work, those who are trade-in management and business people, and even those who are so very slightly interested in the shipping industry.

 

 

Tetsumasa Suga

 

 President and Chief Representative

 

Japan Trust Co., Ltd.

 

December 2017

 

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