May 31 - Describing the Industrial Projects division of Geodis Wilson as the 'smallest of the big players'; Philippe Somers, senior vice president of Geodis Wilson's Industrial Projects group, said that the company is making progress in bridging the gap o

Speaking to HLPFI at last week's Breakbulk Europe event in Antwerp, Somers said that Geodis Wilson still has ambitions to progress into the world's top five specialist project forwarding companies but acknowledged the difficulties of doing that. 

"Companies in positions six to ten are of a similar size in regards to revenues derived from project cargo activities, but there is a considerable gap between position six and five. We see ourselves as the smallest of the big players, but harbour ambitions to move further up the league table. 

"Since my arrival in November 2006, we have grown from a regional presence to a seasoned global player in the Industrial Projects arena, and this was achieved with the firm commitment and support of the executive management at the Paris corporate and Amsterdam divisional headquarters. 

"Geodis Wilson now has offices in 53 countries, and 36 of them are hosting Industrial Projects divisions. We are actively performing industrial project work on the five continents, and we have increased our portfolio with existing and new clientele operating in the oil and gas, mining, infrastructure, transportation and petrochemical industries, as well as nuclear, rail and wind energy projects." 

Somers said that although it is Geodis Wilson's aim to continue to close the gap on some of its competitors, its first goal is to become the best in class towards our customers. 

Somers highlighted the company's investments and developments in North Africa, the Middle East as well as South America as contributing to its ability to service to customers even better with their high-cost projects. 

He said that the decision to launch the US headquarters of its specialist Industrial Projects division in Houston in October 2009 had been vindicated with a very strong performance in the USA over the last two and a half years. 

"At the time, I said that when you have to move heavy or out-of-gauge cargoes into countries that are not your typical destinations it is very specialised and you need a team that is not only familiar with the type of cargoes involved and how to handle and treat them, but also has the know-how to deal with matters in other countries, and all of this expertise is consolidated here in Houston in one group of people. That has certainly proved to be true and has helped us to grow."