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Member Spotlight: 5 Minutes With Peter Pluess, Managing Director, Fracht

ACBC ( NSW ) Member Spotlight: 5 Minutes With Peter Pluess, Managing Director, FRACHT
Tell us about your business and how you've leveraged your Australia-China connections to build your success in China?

Fracht operates in all major gateways in Australia and provides a comprehensive range of international and domestic logistics services by air, sea and land. This includes customs clearance, warehousing and distribution. The worldwide head office is located in Basel/Switzerland. In China Fracht has its head office in Shanghai and offices in 8 other locations. Fracht specialises in complicated and challenging transports including heavy lifts, over dimensional cargo and project transports with a strong commitment to outstanding customer care and personalised service. China is one of our main trade lanes and we constantly achieve nice growth in this market. Our clients range from SMEs to very large multinationals. I guess the fact that Fracht has a reputation for delivering quality (Swiss) services has been a major contributor to our success in the China business because we receive a lot of referrals from existing clients.

What does a typical day look like for you and what are you currently working on?

Even though Fracht has more than AUD 130 million turnover in Australia I still have the pleasure of being involved with quite a few clients, which means quite regular meetings, phone conversations etc. I have an open door policy and there is quite a lot of interaction with my team in Sydney and interstate which in turn allows me to be up to date with all levels of developments in our business. Obviously I’m also involved with short and long term planning and senior management issues in all our Australian companies. We have very competent directors and managers in all our companies. They work quite independently so that I can limit my interstate trips to around half a dozen per year. Every MD is also an ambassador which in turn involves a lot of net working within Australia and overseas.

What would you say are the five key elements for starting and running a successful business in/with China?

  1. Quality products / services
  2. Good contacts/partners in China preferably own offices
  3. Keep your promises!
  4. Long term view/plan
  5. Patience






How do you go about marketing your business in Australia/China and what has contributed to this success?

We have well over 500 competitors in Australia and unfortunately advertising usually doesn’t work. That’s why we rely on well trained business development executives with extensive experience in our industry to grow our market share. This of course also involves a lot of networking and the ACBC membership is a very valuable tool for networking. The most important contributor to success is a top quality product or service because this will automatically generate many word of mouth recommendations and referrals.

You have been very successful to date, but there have no doubt been challenges - what's been your biggest challenge that you have overcome in your business journey with China?

In the first few years after the opening of Fracht offices in China there was quite a lot of resistance from Chinese shippers or consignees to work with Fracht because it was a foreign company.  Meanwhile this is not an issue any more and Fracht China is well recognised and respected in China. The fact that Fracht employs hardly any expats in China of course helps. Even the Fracht China MD in Shanghai – Leila Duan – is a very experienced and capable Chinese lady, not an expat.

What's your motto/mantra?

“Fracht” is actually the German or Swiss word for freight but quite a few Australians don’t know that. That’s why we chose ‘FRACHT MEANS FREIGHT AND CUSTOMER CARE” as our mantra.