Gefco: A New Plant Opens Every Month In Romania, Or A New Business Gets Expanded. You Don’t See That In France Or Czech Republic Any More

03.16.2012 ZF English

Christophe de Korver, general manager of Gefco Romania, says there are parts of this country that can be better served by the Koper harbor in Slovakia than by Constanta because of the highways in Hungary, Serbia and Slovenia.

The capacity to adjust and accept new ideas is the main quality of Romanians, which attracts foreign investors as the flexibility to change is hardly seen in Western Europe.

To be able to achieve double-digit growth every year, one must be able to change everything and Gefco Romania changed completely in two years and was able to do it because of Romanians, said Christophe de Korver, general manager of Gefco Romania, a transport and logistics company part of the PSA Peugeot Citroen group.

Its customers include Dacia, Renault, Peugeot, Citroen, Delphi, Nissan, Nintendo and Nespresso.

Gefco Romania posted EUR43 million revenue last year, up 32% on the previous year, after estimating EUR40 million at first. Its revenue in 2010 went up 44% on 2009, to EUR32.9 million.

Korver says that 80% of the company's revenue comes from 20% of its customers so that if a customer were in trouble, the double-digit growth in 2012 might not be attained. If a contract with a client like Ford were signed, he added, the double-digit growth would be possible to achieve again. Romania remains a country full of opportunities and Gefco is in talks with Ford Romania for a transport contract, Korver said.

Hardly a month goes by without an announcement about a plant opening or being expanded and Nokia was an incident. However, two companies are getting ready to take its place and that is something one will no longer see in France and not even in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, the Gefco official said.

As for the company's business in Romania, international cargo transport generated the highest growth of revenue, while domestic transport was and remains a disappointment.

The company wants to open a new logistic center in Constanta, expand to Iasi, but even if operating there it would still focus on international operations, Christophe de Korver said. That is because there are still difficulties in "balancing" transport because there are exports but not imports, which drives costs up.

Gefco's best bet remains the railway transport in Romania, considering there is no highway to cross the Carpathian Mountains, which would have a direct impact on the activity of Constanta harbor, whose significant competitor is the Koper harbor in Slovenia, its general manager said.

The company learnt that it is cheaper to carry cargo to Koper than Constanta from Timisoara, because of the highways outside Romania leading to it, and later found parts of Romania where it would be more profitable to direct traffic to Koper from and avoid Constanta.

The government plans to build a highway (116 kilometers) linking Pitesti and Sibiu (southern and central Romania) across the Carpathian Mountains, which is the most complex but also the most eagerly awaited section of the European Corridor IV, and wants it done in only three years.

Gefco Romania is very pleased with the prospect and its general manager says that if this particular section were completed by 2016 it would be a major improvement and would definitely change things for the Constanta harbor, which would be linked to Sibiu by highway.

The bad weather in the first two months hurt the company's' profitability, the French executive says, who added that although the company did not lose money in those two months it did not make any, either.

(English version by Loredana Fratila-Cristescu)


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