Fast and accurate steel logistics transportation!
Global Steel Logistics Team

The Global Steel Logistics Team transports heavy steel products around the world quickly and accurately. As a freight forwarder specializing in steel, the team is highly cohesive and takes pride in their work, as it requires more expertise than other cargo at Hyundai Glovis. Let’s meet the Global Steel Logistics Team, as they expand their reach around the world.

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Steel products are heavier, higher-risk cargoes compared to automobile transportation, but the Global Steel Logistics Team specializes in them. In addition to overseas steel logistics of Group companies, Global Steel Logistics Team is also committed to expanding non-affiliated import and export transportation.

The Global Steel Logistics Team is composed of 23 team members divided into the Long-distance Bulk WG, Short-distance Bulk WG, and Container WG to create complementary and synergistic transportation processes. The Long-distance Bulk WG is in charge of long-distance steel bulk export and import transportation in the Americas, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East, the Short-distance Bulk WG is in charge of short-distance steel bulk export and import transportation in East, Southwest Asia, and Korea, and the Container WG is in charge of container and air steel export and import transportation.

The concept is that the Container WG transports urgent products that cannot be handled by the Bulk WG. Team Leader Lee Byung-hee emphasizes that as a forwarder specializing in the import and export of steel, the company has the basic ability to handle all modes of transportation, including bulk carriers, container ships, and airplanes, as well as know-how specialized in the transportation of steel products.

(from left)Senior Manager Kim Jung-hoon, Senior Manager Lee Chae-eun, Senior Manager Choi Jae-hyuk, Senior Manager Hwang Sung-jin, Senior Manager Noh Jung-gon, Manager Lim Hyung-bin, Manager Lim Soo-jin, Manager Heo Sung-kyun

“There are many forwarders that import and export containers, but there are not many forwarders that specialize in steel. This is what the Global Steel Logistics Team aims to do. Since steel products are mainly transported by bulk carriers to take advantage of economies of scale in bulk transportation, we need to first become specialists in bulk contracts and operations, and eventually become a team that produces specialized steel forwarders that can provide intermodal transportation of various steel products.”

Team leader Lee Byung-hee says that the team has responded to overseas issues such as the drought in Panama and the canal traffic congestion caused by militant attacks on merchant ships in the Red Sea with the know-how they have accumulated over the years.

(from left)Manager Lim Kyung-jun, Manager Bae Ok-hyun, Manager Hwang Jeong-bok, Manager Jeong Sung-ho, Lee Byung-hee (Team Leader), Manager Kim Eun-seong, Manager Kang Eun-ji

“Whenever there is an external issue, we respond quickly in consultation with our customers, and we are still on track. In addition to sales logistics, our team also transports automotive coils to HMG’s overseas factories, which we define as procurement transportation, and we are always managing it and working to create alternatives.”

Steel products require more specialized expertise than other cargoes at Hyundai Glovis due to their heavy weight and high risk. In order to secure expertise and quickly understand and execute tasks, we have established a unique operating system for the Global Steel Logistics Team.

“First of all, you need to know the characteristics of the steel products you are handling, and what additional requirements are needed for transportation compared to other products. We share the know-how we have gained through trial and error with each new person who joins us through mentors. By focusing on this quality control, we can say that the frequency of accidents in transportation itself is lower than for other items.”

(from left)Senior Manager Kang Hyun-gu, Manager Kim Sang-gu, Manager Lee Jung-min, Manager Kim So-yoon, Manager Choi Yu-ri, Manager Kwon Jae-young, Manager Kim Young-han

Communication between each WG group is also very important as all the modes of transportation are complementary. Last but not least, Team leader Lee Byung-hee gave the team a one last reminder.

“If I had to describe our team in one word, it would be ‘quiet and close-knit’, so when someone first joins the team, they may find it harder to adjust to the quieter atmosphere than they expected. I think this may be due to the fact that we are juggling sales and responding to steel customers, where each individual is very assertive. Our team is a team that adds value only with manpower, without any assets and investments, so the ability and development of each individual is treated with great importance. I hope you can take this pride and do your best to advance your career.

This year, the Global Steel Logistics Team’s goals are to contribute to cost reduction for customers and to stabilize the non-affiliated revenue structure. “The affiliated transportation part is focused on contributing to reducing logistics costs for customers through continuous operational efficiency proposals, while the non-affiliated transportation part is currently focused on SPOT transportation, so we are focusing on finding and winning fixed transportation cargo to stabilize the revenue structure.”
In 2024, the Global Steel Logistics Team will continue to sail the mighty ship.

hello. Please introduce yourself.

Hello. I’m Senior Manager Noh Jeong-gon in charge of the Long Distance Bulk WG of the Global Steel Logistics Team. The Long Distance Bulk WG is responsible for the bulk export transportation of affiliated and unaffiliated steel products to the Americas, Europe, and the Middle East.

My name is Hwang Jeong-bok and I am in charge of the WG Leader on behalf of colleagues. Short-Haul Bulk WG is in charge of short-haul bulk transportation of steel affiliates of the Group and non-affiliated transportation in Southeast Asia, Southwest Asia, etc. for business expansion. We are also in charge of affiliated and non-affiliated transportation in Canada.

I have been a member of the Global Steel Logistics team since 2019. Currently, I’m a member of the Container WG and I’m in charge of container exports for the integrated part of the group. The Container WG literally means that when we import and export steel, we use containers or air as a means of transportation. Since steel is a heavy cargo, you might think that it can only be shipped in bulk, but we use containers or air for cargo with urgent delivery dates or cargo that is difficult to ship in bulk.

What is the characteristic of the work of each of the WG?

In the case of bulk steel exports to the Americas and Europe, Long Distance Bulk WG have to plan our schedules according to the quarterly local quotas for each region. Sometimes, we have to use maximum ship speed and even change the route to meet the quota. We are also highly affected by international politics, so we are affected by international issues such as the Red Sea and Panama.

Short-distance steel import and export is characterized by low entry barriers compared to the long-distance steel bulk market, and the number of voyages is high due to the short distance. In order to be competitive in the short-haul bulk market, we are making great efforts in cargo sales.

For container and air import and export, we often transport steel items that are not in bulk, such as rolls, midsections, and hot stamped parts. Cold rolled steel is transported in both bulk and containers, but it is often transported in containers that are moved on a fixed schedule every week to meet the delivery deadlines of Hyundai and Kia Motors plants. Therefore, it can be said that the nature of our business is slightly more sensitive to delivery than bulk.

What are the latest issues in your field?

I mainly export for overseas companies to countries such as the United States, Mexico, Turkey, Slovenia, and Brazil. I used to be in charge of a specific area for bulk business, but now I’m in charge of both the Americas and Europe, so there are often several issues that arise at the same time. For example, the Panama Canal issue at the end of last year and the Suez Canal crisis at the beginning of this year were really hectic, so I’m actively sharing the situation with our customers and finding and suggesting alternatives.

I have been affected by the international situation such as Panama and the Red Sea crisis. In order to meet the delivery date of our customers’ cargoes, I’m striving to provide optimal transportation solutions for shippers and carriers by securing alternative routes and making plans to minimize additional costs.

First of all, we are thinking about standardizing and improving our work in the affiliate business. To this end, we are working with colleagues to simplify time-consuming tasks such as aggregation as much as possible. In addition to the stable affiliate business, we are also focusing on expanding the non-affiliate business, and fortunately we have made great progress both qualitatively and quantitatively.

What do you care about most in your job?

The Long Distance Bulk WG is responsible for the business unit’s overseas steel import and export sales, so all team members strive to secure unaffiliated sales in addition to affiliate sales. Finding and selling new customers in the limited steel market is the most challenging and nerve-wracking part of the job.

I try not to lose sight of basic tasks such as securing responsible vessels, pre-checking cargo information and checking the status of shipments. We also keep a close eye on the commodities and bulk trade to respond to rapidly changing markets.

We often receive cases with urgent delivery dates by container and we try to reassure the shipper as much as possible. In particular, steel is a heavy material, so even if there is a delay in delivery, there are significant limitations to shipping by air. Even if it’s not financially feasible, it’s physically impossible, so we’re a little more cautious about delivery issues.

What are the checks to ensure smooth loading and unloading of hot rolled, internal combustion, etc. transportation?

Loading and unloading is one of our most important safety concerns. Our long-distance vessels rely heavily on shipboard cranes, and we make sure there are no safety issues by obtaining ship-specific safety checklists in advance. We also communicate in real time with our customers’ shipping personnel to ensure that cargo is loaded according to the ship’s docking schedule.

For short-haul bulk shipments, we check the basics, such as checking the condition of the main line, checking the size of the cargo, checking the release status, and checking the berth.

Steel shipments are heavy, so we are sensitive to the weight of the cargo in the container. We are also careful to ship in rainy weather to prevent rusting, which is the most vulnerable claim for steel. In one case, the consignee (importer) made a claim for rusting of the cargo, and we even watched the workshop CCTV for hours to see if it rained at any point.

How do you manage a major domestic steel company?

The bulk steel import and export market is strictly driven by freight rates. No matter how good we are at providing additional services, it is difficult to continue trading without competitive freight rates, so we always strive to secure the right freight rates that reflect the market. Of course, we also improve service satisfaction through regular sales visits and listening to VOCs.

We have a wide range of customers, but Hyundai Steel, which is part of the same group, is the most important, and we have gotten to know the people in charge of Hyundai Steel as they often change regions and meet again. In terms of business, I have found that if I suggest a direction to reduce logistics costs from the customer’s perspective and proceed, I can flexibly overcome any problems that may arise.

Rather than having a specific management style, we try to be clear about our intentions and be sincere when communicating by email, IM, or phone.

As a forwarder between shippers and owners, it must be important to keep things running smoothly. How do you do it?

I’m doing a lot of thinking to go beyond just forwarding. In order to negotiate smoothly with shippers, we are sensitive to the bulk market and the raw materials market, and we are also trying to increase our bargaining power with shippers by maximizing the collection of non-affiliated cargoes in addition to affiliated cargoes. I don’t think there is a specific way to sell to shippers. For shippers, competitive booking is the first priority, so we secure competitive booking through our advantage in shipowner negotiations.

I think all freight forwarders are similar, but if you show that you care about their position, they will be able to trust you even if there is a problem. By increasing trust in Hyundai Glovis as a forwarder, I can make them believe that I have the best solution for them.

Although I don’t know all the internal circumstances of the shipper and shipowner in charge, I quickly understand their current challenges, identify our role, and provide appropriate solutions.

When has your work been most rewarding?

Isn’t it time to get a big job done, like renewing an annual contract with a key customer, and smile with them afterwards?

I feel most rewarded when I complete scattered tasks.

I remember being touched by the praise and encouragement I received from shippers and suppliers when I changed my management responsibilities. Even though we met through work, I was proud of the fact that we exchanged a lot of professional help.

How did you solve problems at work when they arose?

In the second half of 2023, the cost of transit through the Panama Canal due to congestion exceeded $1 million per voyage. We had identified the problem in the first half of the year and responded through regular meetings with our customers, but when the costs were incurred, it was difficult to allocate the costs among the various shippers and carriers. We were able to quickly negotiate cost sharing for this voyage, establish and propose criteria for handling future occurrences, and prevent further disruptions.

There aren’t many big issues or surprises in the near term, so we stick to the basics and rely on the relevant contracts such as charterparty and the charterparty confirmation.

I tend to think of a solution first and ask my manager and team leader for their opinion. They have a lot of experience, so no matter what the problem is, they are able to make a calm judgment and suggest a way forward.

What are your plans and goals for 2024 in terms of work?

First of all, achieving the business plan sales is the biggest plan and goal. To achieve this, we will secure a more competitive partner network and take various measures to propose reasonable logistics costs to customers.

Personally, I am investing a lot of time in growing our business in Canada and the Great Lakes region, which I hope will yield good results. For the Nearshore Bulk WG, we are working internally on business standards and simplification, and externally on attracting new shippers.

If there are inefficiencies in my work process, my goal is to find the most efficient way to work with my colleagues.

What are the advantages or competitiveness of the Global Steel Logistics Team?

Our team has many strengths. We are a stable team with a team leader who takes the initiative to set the direction in difficult situations, and quiet but responsible team members. But we are also a passionate team that goes all out when the whole team gets together, such as at a company dinner. It is with this strength that we continue to grow our business.

I think it’s a great place to work with people who are free-spirited but have basic manners and are very focused on their work. I also think there’s a lot we can do in the future beyond just forwarding, such as securing bulk commodities through asset investments and trading bulk commodities.

Yes, we have a big team, so sometimes it’s a little disappointing that we don’t get together more often, but when we do, we have so much fun that we don’t want to go home. The best thing about our team is that we have a sense of urgency. Like Steel, when I see everyone pulling their weight, even when things are tough, I think, ‘This team really lives up to its name. Because of these strengths, we are able to remain steadfast in times of crisis, which is the competitive advantage of our Global Steel Logistics Team.

By Editorial Department