The complete package
Freight Mart International (FMI) is a premier international freight forwarding company, servicing both domestic & global clientele. Since inception in 2009, they have offered a competitive edge on pricing whilst maintaining exceptional customer service, and demonstrated an ability to grow with their client base.
Prior to starting the company, founder and Managing Director Billy Reader had earned more than 20 years of experience in the industry already. He originally started FMI purely as a freight forwarding business, but has since diversified to provide a wide variety of services – including transport, warehousing, customs clearance, and storage & distribution.
“We’ve done a lot in four years,” says General Manager Craig Rourke. “Basically we were sick and tired of being let down by outside providers, so we purchased a truck and a warehouse-slash-office facility here in Bibra Lake, and everything grew from there.”
“We took our destiny into our own hands,” he adds. “Now we have five prime movers, a fleet of smaller vehicles, three warehouses, and three in-house customs brokers. We pride ourselves on being able to do everything under the FMI banner – everything we touch on behalf of our customer is controlled by FMI.”
Since the company’s founding, Freight Mart International has grown to meet the needs of clients both domestically and internationally – whether those needs are in transport, project management, buyer consolidation, customs brokerage, warehousing or forwarding freight through air or over sea.
“We offer export services all around the world,” Craig explains. “But the bulk of our business is import, and we offer the full range of services from Europe, Africa, North America, China, the Sub-Continent, and Southeast Asia.”
According to Craig, Freight Mart International has earned the loyalty of customers across all those countries – and that’s due to their focus on customer service. As a mid-sized freight forwarding company, FMI is big enough in volume to compete on price with large multinational forwarders, but small enough to offer its customers personalised attention.
“If things need to be done urgently, Billy Reader will jump on a forklift or into a truck and do a delivery for a customer,” Craig says. “I think that’s the sort of thing you don’t see at other companies – that personal contact. The trend for companies these days is to say ‘We need 48 hours’ notice’ or ‘We just can’t do it,’ but with us it’s never a no. We can always find a way to do it, and that’s probably what sets us apart.”
On top of that dedication to service, FMI also offers an unrivalled range of products to the Australian market.
“There are probably only one or two companies in the WA market that can boast their own trucking, warehousing, customs brokerage, and freight forwarding all under the one roof,” Craig says. “We can offer the complete package from ‘go to whoa’ in-house.”
Freight Mart International’s close ties to its customers are mirrored by their close ties to their team – which includes 27 permanent employees in Western Australia and five more in a recently-established office in Melbourne, as well as the occasional casual worker.
“Our corporate culture is really good,” Craig says. “It’s a youngish demographic and it makes for a vibrant, sometimes boisterous office environment. It is important that we all move in the same direction, so it’s a really driven office where staff are happy to put the hour’s in when there’s work to be done. It comes from Billy – our culture starts from the top and that’s what he tries to promote.”
“It’s not uncommon to see staff here until 7:30 at night,” he continues. “But they know they get looked after and rewarded for putting the work in. In this day and age it’s hard to find people in the younger generation to commit to their business, it’s all about 9 to 5, punch out and away you go. Here we’ve got a good bunch that are happy to, when the work’s there, put their hand up and contribute.”
While Freight Mart International prides itself on its independence and ability to take care of business without a reliance on subcontractors, they also highly value the partnerships they do have with service provider’s.
“We don’t own vessels and we don’t own aircraft, so there’s always going to be certain providers we need to work with as part of our business,” Craig says. “Our major service provider’s value our business and the relationship as much as we do. We have regular meetings to discuss servicing issues, so if there is anything that needs addressing, it tends to happen very quickly.”
The next level of growth
At the 2013 Western Australian Industry and Export Awards, Freight Mart International’s commitment to customers was rewarded when they were named a Finalist in the Business Services Export Award category.
“It’s always nice to know you’ve been recognised,” Craig says. “Just to make the finals is an achievement for a business that’s four years old, so we’re very proud of that. The most important thing we’ll get from it is some exposure. We advertise through sponsorship of community sporting clubs, and through social media, but not through any mainstream media – so we survive heavily on word of mouth.”
Craig credits the recognition to the extraordinary growth FMI has achieved over the years – and he credits that growth to the hard work of their team.
“We started with two staff back in 2009 and we’ve just grown exponentially since then,” he says. “Last year we handled over 12,000 TEU containers into Fremantle, and we picked up a couple of big contracts exporting products to the Philippines and Southeast Asia. The FMI motto is “Just get it done,” keep the customer happy and worry about the consequences later, and we feel that’s one of the reasons we were been recognised in the awards ceremony.”
Moving forward, Freight Mart International’s focus is on further growth, Craig says – but growth that’s more controlled, with the intention of stabilising the business so it’ll remain strong for years to come.
“The growth we’ve had over the last three years,” he says, “you can’t expect that to continue, it’s been so massive it’s unbelievable. It’s more a case of let’s continue to head in the right direction, but make sure we’re getting everything internally right, so that we’re looking after our current customers and any new business that comes on board.”
“By the end of that rush earlier this year we recognised we were probably overstaffed in some areas,” Craig continues, “so it was a case of making sure we had the right mix people in the right places. There will be another growth period, and when it comes we’ll make sure we’re well-positioned to be able to cater for it in both operations with our growing client base and in customer service.”
“If our customers require something from us, we have to be able to provide it,” he concludes. “That’s our most important consideration.”
“Whether it’s staffing levels, staff training, new warehouse space, or new vehicles, FMI has shown over the last three to four years that we’re committed to growing with our customers.”
For more information, please visit their website at: Freight Mart International
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