“In the pharmaceutical sector, every day is a journey of discovery”

There is probably no other sector that imposes such high demands on the handling of goods as the pharmaceutical sector. Drugs and other medical products are particularly sensitive; even the smallest temperature fluctuation can impair their effectiveness and shelf life. The highest levels of quality, hygiene and safety are therefore crucial when handling pharmaceutical products – and logistics service providers who want to operate in the pharmaceutical sector have to prove that they meet the required EU standards as part of their GDP (Good Distribution Practices) certification.

Militzer & Münch Germany committed to achieving GDP certification in 2021 – with success: Last year, the country organization attained the certificate, with Charlotte Dürr, Group Project Manager Pharmaceuticals at Militzer & Münch, the leading force. We talked to her about the importance of the certification for the logistics provider, what opportunities it opens up, and about her personal passion for and further plans in the field of pharmaceutical logistics.

Ms. Dürr, the GDP certification is an important milestone for Militzer & Münch Germany. Would you please describe what this means for the national subsidiary and also for you personally?

First of all, one has to state that the certification process is very demanding and extensive. The hardest part was to create a basic framework of documentation and standards that covers all areas of the EU GDP directive. In addition, our carriers need to be thoroughly checked and assessed for their quality and compliance with the guidelines on their part.

With our quality system, we can ensure the responsible and competent handling of the sensitive goods – be it from Munich to Nairobi or from Berlin to Ulaanbaatar. This helps us now to continuously certify further locations of the group, as with the successful GDP certification of Militzer & Münch Germany, we have also aroused interest in other country units. As a result, we have a great working group of local GDP managers, sales experts, and quality managers. In Poland, we successfully passed the certification audit in March; in Georgia, we are currently planning the first audit.

Many country organizations already have experience in the various product categories and see great growth potential, especially in Southeastern Europe and Central Asia. The healthcare sector is of great importance for the entire Militzer & Münch Group, and developing this product opens up a whole range of new opportunities for us.

What exactly are the new opportunities for Militzer & Münch Germany that result from the certification?

Worldwide, the healthcare market is booming, and Germany is one of the market leaders. As a GDP-certified logistics service provider, we can now participate in this sector to a wholly different extent, open up new markets, and address a larger clientele.

The first sales initiatives we launched after successful certification showed quick results: We received many requests for quotations both for full truck loads by road, including numerous shipments to Central Asia and as far as Mongolia, and by sea and air to various destinations in Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia, as well as for imports from America. Within the Militzer & Münch Group, M&M air sea cargo GmbH is responsible for GDP compliant transports by air and sea freight, as well as by rail.

Moreover, we can support the medical supply of many war and crisis areas while maintaining quality standards. There is also great interest in refrigerated transports by rail. Here, we benefit above all from an increased interest in reducing emissions.

Can you give us some examples of projects that Militzer & Münch Germany is already handling in the pharmaceutical sector?

At this time, we are handling transports of pharmaceuticals and medical equipment to Africa, Asia, and Europe, as well as shipments within Europe. In addition, we have imports of raw materials, accessories and medical cannabis. The high level of customer demand indicates that certification was exactly the right step to take. We are convinced that it will enable us to significantly expand our activities in the field of pharmaceutical logistics, and we are looking forward to intensifying our cooperation with other Militzer & Münch country units in cross-border transports of pharmaceuticals and medical devices.

With your dedication and commitment, you have been instrumental in driving the pharma project forward. Where does your enthusiasm for this area in particular come from?

After my qualification as a forwarding specialist and subsequent studies in International Transport Management and Marketing, I started at Militzer & Münch in 2018, initially as Sales Coordinator, but then took over product responsibility for Aviation Logistics. With the onset of the pandemic, I was looking for a new task and started to develop the Pharma Logistics division – a decision I have not regretted to this day! The products with their specific requirements and transport conditions are certainly a challenge, but the market is absolutely viable, and working in this field is a journey of discovery for me every day, due to the wide variety of products and customers. And by the way, I have probably always had a penchant for special products: in my bachelor thesis, I devised a strategic market analysis for the transport of horses by air.

What are your plans for the future?

We want to further expand our pharmaceutical logistics network so we can offer our customers worldwide the best possible service and products. Where this is not feasible via our own Militzer & Münch network, we cooperate with local partners who, of course, have to meet our requirements and also the GDP standards. The search for such partners, which is not easy in every country, is currently one of our most important tasks.

We want to further expand our pharmaceutical logistics network so we can offer our customers worldwide the best possible service and products. Where this is not feasible via our own Militzer & Münch network, we cooperate with local partners who, of course, have to meet our requirements and GDP standards as well. The search for such partners, which is not easy in every country, is currently one of our most important tasks.

We generally see great potential in pharmaceutical shipments to Central Asia, as well as to Southeastern Europe and Africa. In Central Asia and Southeastern Europe, we are already operating our own organization in almost every country. And in East and West Africa, for example, we have just successfully found reliable partners. For our activities in the region, I benefit from participating in the Militzer & Münch Talent Development Programme in 2022: As an international team, we had the opportunity to analyze new markets – and with Africa, the focus was on a market that is now emerging as one of our core markets for pharmaceutical transports.



Thank you very much für your time!

Seasons greetings

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

As the Christmas holidays are drawing near, we wish you joyful, restful days among family and friends.
We would like to take the occasion to express our thanks to you for the good cooperation in 2022.
For the challenges of the upcoming year, we wish you good luck, success, health and personal contentment.

M&M Tajikistan: best of the year

Dushanbe. First prize for M&M Tajikistan: the team under Managing Director (MD) Aziz Sharipov won the official competition for best exporter of the year 2021 in the logistics segment. The competition is held every year by the Government’s Export Agency; the award ceremony for the country’s best exporting companies took place at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Dushanbe on November 28.

Proud of this honor is Aziz Sharipov: “It is a great reward for all the work the team has done this year, and it further strengthens the M&M brand name.” The picture shows the M&M Tajikistan team with MD Sharipov (third from left) with the trophy.

Militzer & Münch: growth in China

Militzer & Münch is stepping up activities in China – with more employees and new branches. Local sales are being strengthened, and services are being expanded, which offers more opportunities for customers.

After strong growth in China, Militzer & Münch is now adjusting its organization in the country: „We are internally splitting our activities into North and South China from now on”, explains Andreas Löwenstein, Regional Managing Director Asia / Far East. „At the helm of both, we have very experienced managers, to whom the North and South Chinese branches will report in the future.”

Regional Director for China South is Carl Gao, the former branch manager in Shanghai. Jeffery Guo, 45, took over as head of China North in October. He has been at home in the logistics industry for over 20 years, including more than ten years as branch manager with a renowned international logistics service provider. With his expertise, he will support the northern Chinese branches with immediate effect, and further expand business in the region.

A greater footprint in North China

“The new management appointment for North China is just one element in Militzer & Münch’s general growth strategy in the region,” says Elyar Sherkati, Managing Director of Militzer & Münch China. „This year, we are strengthening our presence also by taking on additional employees, for instance at our branch offices in Tianjin as well as in Qingdao, one of China’s most important logistics locations.” Moreover, the Qingdao team was recently able to move into new office premises, and in Zhengzhou and Changchun in the northeast, Militzer & Münch opened two new sales offices.

In Shenyang, also in northeastern China, the company recently began operating a new branch office. Branch manager Colon Sun, who has already been working in the international freight forwarding industry for several years and has a very good knowledge of the market in northeastern China in particular, is in charge of developing and running the new location.

„Shenyang is a major transportation hub in the north of the country. We are glad to be able to further expand our presence at this location and in North China in general, to win experienced specialists, and thus to offer high-quality logistics services to our customers,” says Andreas Löwenstein.

The network of locations is expanding

Another new branch office expands Militzer & Münch’s network of locations in Central China: in September, an office was opened in Wuhan, capital of the Central Chinese province of Hubei and an important transport hub in China for air, rail, road and sea transport. The aim: to offer customers the full range of transport and logistics services, and to boost local sales. Branch manager in Wuhan is Jacky Zhu, who previously worked as sales manager at Militzer & Münch China in Wuhan for almost five years, and is thus very familiar with the local market and customers. He still reports to Carl Gao as before.

With the two new branches in Shenyang and Wuhan, the Militzer & Münch China network now comprises a total of 13 locations: Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shenyang, Urumqi, Shanghai, Ningbo, Wuhan, Chongqing, Shenzhen, as well as the two sales offices in Zhengzhou and Changchun.

“Strengthening our activities in China is part of our growth strategy,” says Andreas Löwenstein. „We look forward to further driving this positive development with the new offices and employees on board!”

Highly motivated, ready for the future

‘New Markets’, ‘Industry 4.0 along the New Silk Road’, ‘New Risk Management’ – on October 10, online presentations on these diverse topics marked the end of the Talent Management Programme 2022, designed by TransInvest in cooperation with the Institute of Supply Chain Management at the University of St. Gallen.

In early summer, 21 young talents from various TransInvest companies had already convened in St. Gallen for the first teaching module of the in-service training course. In terms of topics, the three days focused on Strategy & Controlling, Supply Chain Resilience & Sustainability and Process Management. At the beginning of September, the participants met in Istanbul for the second, three-day module. In challenging, interactive teaching units, they gained in-depth insight into the areas of Leadership, Digitalization & Business Innovation, and Marketing & Sales, among others.

Alongside these tangible teaching contents, the Talent Management Programme also focuses on soft skills: thus, teamwork and the strengthening of the group spirit for example are decisive factors for living the TransInvest culture.

„In addition, the modules give the young talents the opportunity to expand their international network and experience the TransInvest culture first-hand by working closely with participants from other countries,” says Ralph Stadler, Head of Group Human Resources. „That way, our experienced experts and guest lecturers not only train our junior employees professionally, but also promote their personal development.”


A tried-and-tested, new support concept

Exclusive, science-based, practice-oriented: the Talent Management Programme was launched eleven years ago to provide precisely this kind of support for future managers from TransInvest ranks. The aim of the Talent Management Programme is not only to equip participants with logistics and management skills, but also to retain them in the company in the long run.

„Employee retention is extremely important for companies; it is a big challenge,” says Alexei Kovalenko, Chief Financial Officer, TransInvest and Militzer & Münch, and Speaker of M&M Group Management. „We are glad that we have been able to successfully meet this challenge with the Talent Management Programme for many years now. The young talents receive intensive training in all relevant areas and are offered the opportunity to develop individually – and we can fill top positions in the TransInvest Group with highly qualified and motivated junior staff from our own ranks. A win-win situation.”

In 2022, the Talent Management Programme met expectations in every respect – both on the part of the participants and those responsible around Ralph Stadler. With the impulses from the final teamwork presented, the participants are now creating a Personal Development Plan (PDP) with their superiors, a plan which will guide their development in the company over the next few years.

“Our team is the basis of our success”

This year, Paata Kacharava celebrates a very special anniversary: 25 years ago in June, he started as Managing Director of M&M Militzer & Münch Georgia and has been driving the development of the country unit with heart and soul ever since. We talked about his time at Militzer & Münch so far, changes in the logistics industry, and the appeal the business holds for him.

Mr. Kacharava, first of all congratulations on 25 years with Militzer & Münch! That’s a long time; how would you describe it in retrospect?
In summary, I would say it was a very exciting and, in the beginning, also challenging time for me personally. When I joined Militzer & Münch Georgia in 1997, I was the first and only employee of the country unit. Today, our core team consists of six employees, who take care of all projects in the fields of road transport, air and sea freight, as well as of our courier and express services with our partners. The past three years in particular, with the global impact of the Corona pandemic and the political events in Ukraine, have had a major effect on the Georgian economy, and also put our business to the test.

What was your professional career like before you joined Militzer & Münch?
Before switching over to Militzer & Münch and the logistics industry, I had worked in Georgian government institutions for many years, holding various positions in the foreign trade sector; among others, I was responsible for the management of foreign trade relations.

What were the biggest changes you experienced in the subsequent 25 years at Militzer & Münch?
The trade lanes as we know them today and the possibilities they offer, did not exist at all at that time. When I started at Militzer & Münch Georgia, people were dreaming of a Euro-Asian transport corridor and the manifold opportunities it would create – in the course of my career, I was able to witness how this very dream became reality, step by step. Today, the Caucasus and Central Asia are important trading partners for European countries; transports via road, rail, sea, and air to these regions are part of the Militzer & Münch core business. And we are seeing that the demand for products from and connections to these regions continues to grow.

Which industries do your customers come from?
Currently, our most important customers come from the automotive industry, the retail sector, and the pharmaceutical industry. In addition, we work for many local manufacturers who wish to ship their products to the European market.

What is the attraction of the logistics industry for you?
It is clearly the people who work in this sector. Our employees drive our business forward every day with full commitment and know-how; they are the basis of our success. They have significantly contributed to the development we have been able to experience with Militzer & Münch Georgia in the past years, and I am very grateful to them for their commitment. I would also like to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to the Militzer & Münch management, whose support my team and I have always been able to count on in the past. Cooperating with all these people is a great pleasure for me, and I am looking forward to the tasks and projects still lying ahead of us.

Mr. Kacharava, thank you very much for taking the time to talk to us!

Militzer & Münch Uzbekistan – 25 years of textile knowhow

Tashkent, August 30, 2022. Uzbekistan is the sixth largest cotton producer in the world, and when Militzer & Münch Uzbekistan was founded 25 years ago, cotton fiber transport was the main segment, a highly demanding special segment, as the cargo is self-heating unless packed and monitored correctly.

The 25 employees of M&M Uzbekistan nowadays handle all sorts and modes of national and international transports, and recently added customs clearance to the portfolio, too.

M&M Uzbekistan also has many years of experience in importing machinery and equipment for the cotton industry and has become a specialist in project transportation.

How is the market today, we ask Managing Director Khurshid Kasimdzhanov: “Customers appreciate our long presence in the country and our professional key staff, who have been with us for many year.”

CargoLine Quality Award 2021

The M&M organizations in Bulgaria and Latvia were honored with the CargoLine Quality Award 2021 for their excellent and reliable service in the CargoLine groupage network.

The picture shows, from left, Hristo Marinov, Deputy Manager M&M Bulgaria, Managing Director M&M Bulgaria Sacho Todorov, and Managing Director Cargomax Latvia, Dmitrijs Vorniku.

“We Are the Experts for Difficult Markets”

The Militzer & Münch Group aims to continue on its growth path in the coming years.  In an interview, Alexei Kovalenko, member of the Militzer & Münch Group Management, explains where the biggest growth potential lies. 

How would you describe Militzer & Münch in a few words?

Alexei Kovalenko: With a great deal of pioneering spirit, a small forwarding company, founded 140 years ago, was turned by the founders and their successors into an international logistics services provider that has become an expert especially in niche markets. Still family-owned and independent, we want to live this entrepreneurship also in future and open up further difficult markets for our customers. While, of course, bearing in mind trends and changes owed to political and economic developments, we at the same time bank on traditional values such as loyalty, integrity, and respect.

What are the strengths of Militzer & Münch?

Alexei Kovalenko: For a long time already, we have been regarded as one of the leading logistics services providers in Eurasia and North Africa. This geographic view, however, sells us short: We are the specialists for difficult markets, we create individual transport solutions for our customers also under difficult conditions.

What distinguishes Militzer & Münch from its competitors?

Alexei Kovalenko: In some respect we are indeed practically unique: unlike our competitors, we operate our own country units with local management in difficult markets, for instance in Central Asia. Often, our international competitors only send ex-pats abroad, and the local competition lacks the international knowhow. Thus, to some extent, our local expertise combined with international standards makes us unique in the logistics sector.

Which markets and regions do you regard as promising?

Alexei Kovalenko: For us as a flexible medium size enterprise, both the classic trade lanes like Europe-Maghreb and China-Europe as well as the emerging markets are promising. We recently started an initiative to extend our activities to include African countries. In North Africa, we have our own country units, some of them for decades – but we are seeing that Ethiopia, for instance, is a promising logistics market, too. Over the next few months, we will analyze markets in Africa and examine the market situation and demand on the side of existing and potential new customers.

Another example is Southeastern Europe. We have achieved a strong market position in Bulgaria, but not in the neighboring countries. In 2019, we had the opportunity to enter into a joint venture with Invictus, a logistics company in Serbia, and business is developing well.  We want to continue on our expansion course also in other countries of the region.

In which business sector – road transport, airfreight, sea freight, project logistics – do you see the biggest growth potential?

Alexei Kovalenko: We can’t generalize and limit this to one segment. Our maxim is, it must be worth it. We don’t aim for growth at any price, for we offer quality service; a fair margin for high-quality performance must be possible. We regularly check our activities: which of them are profitable, which aren’t? The strengths and weaknesses of the individual Militzer & Münch companies – we operate local units from Morocco to China – have to be taken into account. Thus, on some trade lanes and for some services, we cooperate with selected external partners, which allows us to remain efficient and profitable.

Especially on the China-Europe trade lane, we are aiming to further develop intercontinental overland transportation, i.e. rail freight. More and more, sustainability and economic pressure are inducing importers and exporters alike to opt for the train instead of the plane. With transit times of ten or fewer days on this route, rail freight might become interesting also for the e-commerce sector. We keep an eye also on further developments in the Belt-and-Road Initiative – over the next years, there will be big opportunities for our customers, and thus for us, too.

Today, all eyes are on China for other reasons. From China, the corona virus has spread worldwide and especially in Europe. The current situation is an extraordinarily challenging one for each of us personally and for our economy. It is sincerely to be hoped that the spread of the corona virus can be slowed down by the numerous measures taken and that the global economy will soon recover.

The focus is on customer satisfaction. What distinguishes Militzer & Münch in this respect?

Alexei Kovalenko: Our customers rely on our meeting their often challenging requirements: products with complicated handling, not-so-everyday destinations. Therefore, we bank on competence on developing our specialists, and on local market expertise. Our customers don’t contact the company headquarters, but our local branch offices. They want to work with one defined contact person who manages their project from beginning to end, who keeps abreast of matters and takes responsibility. We are therefore also keen on enhancing the knowhow of our teams; the relaunch of the M&M Talent Management Program ensures the competence of our junior executives. We support the expertise of our teams with our robust and flexibly adaptable IT processes. Our in-house IT company for instance designs individual tracking and tracing solutions for our customers.

“Unlike our competitors, we operate our own country units with local management in difficult markets, for instance in Central Asia.”

Alexei Kovalenko
Member of the Militzer & Münch Group Management

Could Militzer & Münch intensify the cooperation between the individual country units and increase growth that way?

Alexei Kovalenko: Our country units generate their business locally and “live” from their local customer base. At the same time, they can benefit from the strengths of other Militzer & Münch companies, without being forced to cooperate, on the basis of the “right of first refusal” principle. There are cases in the Group where this works well.

At this time, the Militzer & Münch Group is led by Group Management. What are the plans for the coming months?

Alexei Kovalenko: The Militzer & Münch Group is run on a decentralized basis – this has developed over time and is part of the corporate culture. The operational responsibility for results and success lies with the country units and the regional managers, who together form Group Management, i.e. the extended management of the group; together with the Board of Directors they lead the Militzer & Münch Group. In charge of coordination and alignment between the regions is the Speaker of Group Management. (Editor’s note: at the beginning of the year, this task was assigned to Alexei Kovalenko.)

Topics concerning the entire Group such as business development and digitization regularly feature on the agenda of the joint meetings of Board of Directors and Group Management.

This modus operandi has proved successful over the past few months – and we will continue working that way also in the coming months.