Interview with Gianluca Scalisi, ZIM’s Country Sales Manager
According to Farmindustria (https://www.farmindustria.it/english-content/), the pharmaceutical industry in Italy is a strategic economic asset with a production value of € 34 billion, growing over 150% in the last ten years. It is the biggest pharmaceutical producer in the European Union, officially overtaking Germany in 2018.
We met with Gianluca Scalisi to learn some more about the state of Italy’s exports and the role ZIM plays in this important segment.
What can you tell us about the changes in the reefers market in Italy and about pharmaceuticals in particular?
The reefers cargo market in our country represents 20% of the dry cargo market and a significant revenue for our customers.
Italy is the No. 1 pharma producer in the European Union for internal consumption and for export, primarily to the United States (18.6% of total exports). In recent years, pharmaceutical exports have grown considerably in our country compared to the EU, particularly thanks to academic and industrial research and top-notch technological developments. In addition, in light of the recent pandemic, demand for pharmaceutical products is on the rise, so the market is expected to increase in size even more.
What other commodities use reefers for export?
There are quite a few – food (fruits and vegetables, frozen products, and wine. We export produce primarily to Germany and France, in Europe, and thirdly to the United States.
How does ZIM fit into this booming market?
ZIM recognized the importance of Italian exports and how hot the market is, and invested a great deal in dedicated teams and resources to increase our market share in Italy. This includes modern reefers as young as 4 years of age, sales and support teams on the ground, and the latest monitoring technologies.
What sets you apart from the competition?
There are several key factors that differentiate us from other carriers. I can confidently say that we have the best people, service, and product available on the market today.
On the people side, we have a dedicated, very strong team of sales, service and support personnel that are available 24/7 to care for each and every one of our customers through their entire supply chain.
We cater for high-level customers that are looking for top quality service. Not many cargo lines offer that ‘personal touch and high quality. Our people understand our customers’ needs and work with them very closely from source to destination.
At the product level, ZIMonitor is a groundbreaking application that enables accurate tracking, monitoring and control of sensitive cargo like pharmaceuticals, and the market is very aware of its capabilities.
In short, we offer it all: optimum customer care, superior service, personal touch, and the best technology and equipment around. And our customers respond with their loyalty.
Can you give us an example of your personalized service?
Sure. Take fruit, for example, that needs very precise cold treatment. This is a seasonal, very delicate product that we export to the US. We start working closely with the customers from the very beginning when they book the shipment. Our logistics people also prepare forecasts with them to ensure we have inventory of reefers available and coordinate transportation and arrival to the ports of departure. In these turbulent times when there’s a shortage of reefers, these forecasts enable us to position equipment where needed, when needed.
We obviously monitor the shipments every leg of their journey to make sure there are no mishaps. But our work does not end when the cargo arrives at its destination – we send notifications to the customer when the container is released, and they also use our myZIM application to receive notifications and alerts about their shipment in real time.
Whether it’s face to face or digitally, we truly invest in customer experience.
Can you describe any particular challenge you had recently?
Our ‘normal’ is what makes us unique, and this means being ready for any challenge at any time. The fact that we manage to be wherever we’re needed, when we’re needed, with the right equipment is what distinguishes us. Our young fleet of reefers, our high availability, and our strong presence in different ports are definitely key differentiators.
Gianluca Scalisi, Sales Manager, ZIM Italy