PROJECT CARGO / HEAVY LIFT ‘09 - Charles Kendall Group finds strength in service diversity

By: | at 07:00 PM | Channel(s): Maritime  Logistics  

Perhaps no independent freight-forwarding group is as diverse in its niche services as the London-based Charles Kendall Group (CKG). From procurement to specialized logistics for the oil & gas industry and other project sectors, CKG offers a select skill set to match the job.By George Lauriat, AJOTIn a sense the privately held Charles Kendall Group (CKG) backed into the transportation business as Mark Kendall, Group Operations Director explained. “We started just after the Second World War as a procurement and recruiting firm for the ministries of the Government of Oman.” Oman lacked the expertise for making the purchases themselves and CKG was well placed to make procurements more economically. This service became the foundation for the CKG’s niche operations in the Middle East. Most of the procurement was from companies in the United Kingdom and Europe. The range of goods and service needed by Oman was wide from housing and construction to defense. It wasn’t long before CKG was overseeing the overland transportation of the goods and Charles Kendall Freight (CKF) was formed in 1954 from four subsidiaries to handle this expanding role. In 1990 the Group added another niche operation with the acquisition of Bestworld Packing, a company that specializes in the manufacture and design of cases and crates and wrappings to match both international requirements and environmental challenges. Equally, the expertise in working in Oman allowed the Group to expand operations throughout the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the Americas.
In 1997 CKP was appointed worldwide procurement agent for the UK Government’s Department for International Development and has worked with development agencies including the World Bank, EU Aid, US Aid, Millenium Fund, as well as donor agencies and foreign governments.
As a project cargo forwarder CKF brings an array of in-house and partner services to the table. The “project cargo” side is organized under the forwarder’s “specialized industries” division. Within that division are units that handle the specific trades such as “Petrochemical & Civil Engineering; Defense; Aerospace; Telecommunications and Cross Trades. Ian Jenkins CKF’s Operations Director said that since the 1980s the company’s project cargo works has exhibited “organic growth” led by an expansion of business in “the Middle East, North America and the Far East,” particularly in the oil & gas sectors. But in recent years to more diverse fields such as niche businesses such as defense, exhibitions and development aid have also been added to the Group’s business. The Group has been involved in water treatment systems, power plants, civil construction work, and telecommunications projects to name a few. The geographical range includes the Far East, Middle East, Africa, Europe and North and South America.
As Jenkins notes, the diversity of skills within the Group enables CKF to manage a project cargo supply chain from “cradle to grave”. The services involve everything from consultancy and procurement to the actual transportation involved in the project. With a sister company like Bestworld Packing, the packaging of various project components can be customized and consolidated helping to ensure carriage and economy. “Some of our projects involve true vertical integration where the Group has acted as the Procurement Agent for the foreign vendor as well as offering the Project Forwarding element…In fact some of these movements will involve a third element within the Group – our Packing Division,” Jenkins added.
Sometimes it is the small things that make a major project go awry. A way to avoid problems is to keep the lines of communications open. CKF provides a unique and flexible service through the worldwide network, which provides round-the-clock availability to a CKF staff. Perhaps a small thing but being able to call an agent, that is often many time zones removed from the project work, during your own hours of operation is a big plus in making things go well.

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American Journal of Transportation