This month I caught up with Torben Eskelund CEO of Centre Point Logistics. Torben is a dynamic 3pl leader who has an impressive and varied history of work experience in Logistics which stemmed from an early career in the Royal Danish Army’s Logistics and Supply Division, where he was eventually commissioned as an officer and given command of a heavy transportation and recovery platoon. That early entry into the world of logistics developed into a 20+ year career to date leading up to his current role.
Q: Tell me about your career up until you took over at CPL
After college, I completed 3 years military service before entering the private sector with DSV.
I worked all around the world for DSV with postings in USA, South Korea, China and UAE, advancing my career through internal promotions with each move. I was with DSV for 15 years before leaving them in 2015 to start my own Logistics Consulting company having secured a consulting contract for one of the largest UAE based maritime terminals and ports. Following this I took on the CEO role at CPL.
Q: What attracted you to Logistics in the first place?
Logistics wasn’t my first choice of career as I always wanted to be a certified accountant, but in Denmark we have compulsory military service for every adult male and part of this involves a lottery where you literally pull a number from a tombola. Pull a low number and you join the military, pull a high number you can elect to stay out. I pulled a low number, so after business school I joined the army and was posted to the Logistics and Supply Division. In the end I found logistics far more interesting than accounting and decided to seek out logistics opportunities after completing military service.
Q: What are your main goals at Centre Point Logistics as we approach 2020?
One of our key strategic goals is offering a new innovative product within e-commerce fulfilment. We see this sector and demand in the market taking off to such a high degree it will be outweighing the current capacity of even the most active players.
Q: Why do you think the e-commerce opportunity is so enormous?
This region has far less penetration in the ratio of online shopping versus bricks n’ mortar shopping than other markets in the world. This is despite the Middle East having among the highest percentage of people owning smart phones compared to other parts of the world. E-commerce will grow.
Q: What future challenges do you see for the logistics sector?
Challenges will continue to be consolidation and more and more companies will move into niche vertical areas of operating. I think we might see some MNC’s become more vertically focused than ever seen before, and likely the top 10 global forwarders will continue to battle and either eat or be eaten.
Q: What are your thoughts on technology innovations in the Logistics sector?
Disruption and technology are now part of the agenda on most board meetings, which wasn’t the case a few years back, but I definitely foresee that this will become even more important, so it’s imperative to have clearly defined strategies in this area going forward.
Q: What will be the outcome for the logistics industry globally considering on-going trade wars and dramatic changes in the foreign policies of certain countries?
Political environment, and certain trade “wars” or barriers have always been there and will continue to be part of the future challenges, and as always, the most agile and flexible company will be the winners in the end.
Brian Cartwright, Managing Director of Top Management Resources Group, is a specialist advisor to the international Supply Chain & Logistics sector, he is a focused and highly proactive business leader, and mentor, who is regarded by many as the leading head hunter and career advisor in the region for this sector. He has partnered with Global Supply Chain magazine to run an ongoing series of exclusive interviews with senior executives to uncover the facts and provide real time insight on what’s happening in the market.
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