The Express Link

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Issue No 1 | December 2020

Reading time: 14 minutes


EXPRESS LINK “It is not distance that keeps people apart, but the lack of communication....” As logisticians, we have been built to serve and this is what has been driving Express Trailers throughout the past sixty years and more. We are proud to have always had a leading role in the economic development of our country. These times are no exception as we apply what we have learnt into our operations and methods, whilst keeping our people at the forefront of whatever we do.

IN THIS EDITION

WELCOME TO THE EXPRESS LINK THE CEO’S MESSAGE

EMPLOYEE TRAINING AT EXPRESS TRAILERS IN FULL SWING

EXPRESS TRAILERS ENGINEERING DELIVERS HAMMAR SIDE-LOADER

A popular adage goes “communicate only when you have something to say”. We have a lot to say not only because a lot is happening at Express Trailers but because we truly believe in the power of communication and in the importance of fostering constant contact between all members of the ORANGE family.

The times are what they are, trying and challenging. And many times, it is very tempting for companies to put certain priorities on the backburner. One such common mistake is to stop investing in people training, risking demotivation and a gradual dismantling of their human resources.

Employees from Express Trailers Engineering have once again had the opportunity to show off their ingenuity and meticulous approach to their work after having delivered a newly reconditioned Hammar sideloader model 151HC to a Maltese client.

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WELCOME TO ‘THE EXPRESS LINK’ THE CEO’S MESSAGE Reading time: 2 minutes

A popular adage goes “communicate only when you have something to say”. We have a lot to say not only because a lot is happening at Express Trailers but because we truly believe in the power of communication and in the importance of fostering constant contact between all members of the ORANGE family.

I therefore welcome you to this very first edition of THE EXPRESS LINK, our very own in-house newsletter through which we shall be communicating with you, our employees, shareholders, clients and stakeholders. This year’s experience has inspired us to reach out more to each other. I would even venture in saying

that possibly, we have never communicated as much as we have been doing during these past months. This time has made us aware of a few important certainties. We started appreciating more time with the family, we are becoming more grateful for the simpler things in


life which we might have taken for granted in the past. We also watched transport and logistics become more indispensable as a critical conduit that feeds consumer and industrial goods into Malta and out. As major operators, and thanks to the hard work of you all, we remained committed to our role to ensure that the Maltese keep finding their life’s essentials on the shelves.

THE EXPRESS LINK is but another effort to ensure communication remains the most vital link between us all.

In such uncertain times, customers want to be supported by who they trust most. This is why our customers kept trusting us with their cargo, more than ever before. From our end, we ensured continuity by keeping open all channels from and to countries that remained open and made sure our operations for import and export kept functioning while optimizing our routes to remain viable and competitive. As logisticians, we have been Built to Serve. This was the company’s driving force throughout the past

sixty years, adopting a leading role in the economic development of our country. These times are no exception, as we apply our knowledge into our operations and methods whilst keeping our people at the forefront of whatever we do. From here, I want to salute our Board of Directors, all the management and last but not least, our truckers, local drivers, assistants, warehousing personnel and employees. The collective strength of your work, commitment and passion has once again defined Express Trailers in these times of uncertainty and helped Express Trailers build a resilient operation based on a top quality service. Our commitment now is to be as united as ever to make sure to leave no one behind. THE EXPRESS LINK is but another effort to ensure communication remains the most vital link between us all.


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EMPLOYEE TRAINING AT EXPRESS TRAILERS IN FULL SWING Reading time: 2 minutes

The times are what they are, trying and challenging. And many times, it is very tempting for companies to put certain priorities on the backburner. One such common mistake is to stop investing in people training, risking demotivation and a gradual dismantling of their human resources.

Nicole Vella, HR Manager

However, Express Trailers’ constant investment and meticulous reorganisation of its internal processes and governance structures meant that today, the company was robustly positioned to face the ongoing pandemic head on. “We not only made sure to leave no one behind but we stepped up our

training and development calendar to keep all our employees abreast with their respective lines of work,” said Nicole Vella, Head of HR at Express Trailers. Over 20 training courses have been delivered so far this year for Express Trailers’ 300 employees and more courses are in the pipeline for the


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coming weeks. Training has covered technical, managerial, administrative, health and safety issues, local and overseas procedures, operational risk management as well as compulsory programs required for the handling of pharmaceutical products.

At Express Trailers, our people remain our best resource and for them to keep delivering our hallmark premium quality service, they need to keep getting the best training. In 2018, Express Trailers was the first logistics company to launch its very own in-house Training Academy to offer all employees continued training for them to become professionals in their respective fields. In the first few months since the launch of the Academy, 35 training sessions were delivered with the

participation of all employees who obtained professional certification in a variety of subjects such as Incoterms and Transport Documentation, Cyber Security, Technical Training and other training related to specific departments. In 2019, to further support the Academy, Express Trailers also inaugurated The LOGIC, a state-of-the-art learning centre where employees today receive all their professional training. “At Express Trailers, our people remain our best resource and for them to keep delivering our hallmark premium quality service, they need to keep getting the best training. At Express Trailers, our employees become logistics experts and eventually, they become the ones passing on their acquired knowledge and experience to newer employees. Ongoing training, sharing of experience and working safely are an intrinsic part of our #WeAreOrange culture,� concluded Nicole Vella.


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NEWS FROM OUR YARD

EXPRESS TRAILERS ENGINEERING DELIVERS ANOTHER HAMMAR SIDE-LOADER Reading time: 1 minute

Employees from Express Trailers Engineering have once again had the opportunity to show off their ingenuity and meticulous approach to their work after having delivered a newly reconditioned Hammar side-loader model 151HC to a Maltese client.

The side-loader now features a telescopic chassis, has been modified with container-stacking capabilities for 20-foot containers and has a weight-lifting capacity of 36 tonnes. The job entailed a four-week project which involved a team from Express


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detail and the professional approach which we apply to our projects. In fact, when companies seek to invest in these vehicles, they turn to Express Trailers Engineering not only for our inventiveness but also for the way we use our people’s talent to successfully deliver solutions for our demanding customers,” said Noel Vella. Express Trailers Engineering Ltd. is one of Express Trailers’ latest ventures and the result of over 18 years of professional collaboration with the world leader in proprietary sideloaders Hammar Maskin, a Swedish company that produces proprietary side-loading equipment for trailers.

Noel Vella, Director and Head of Fleet Maintenance

Trailers Engineering, led by Director Noel Vella, who is also Head of Fleet Maintenance at Express Trailers. “Our latest delivery of this Hammar 151 HC side-loader shows the attention to

Impressed by the talent and resourcefulness of Express Trailers’ tradesmen, Hammar eventually nominated Express Trailers Engineering as its authorized partner in the Southern European region and the only recognised and accredited Hammar equipment re-builder in the world, recognised for its highest engineering and tradesmanship quality standards.


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PROJECT FOCUS EXPRESS TRAILERS DRIVING ITS DIGITAL STRATEGY WITH NEW ‘CARLO’ PROJECT Reading time: 3 minutes

A three-year investment project consisting of a new transport management system is currently being rolled out across most departments at Express Trailers.

Charles Arapa, Head of Analytics, BI and Automation at Express Trailers who is heading the implementation of Project CarLo.

Project CarLo in fact, involves the implementation of a Transport Management System platform aimed at simplifying and bringing new efficiencies in the processing of client documentation, processing bookings and improved internal communication. “Put simply, we are aiming to facilitate the transition from manual work processes to digitalisation, therefore simplifying both internal and external documentation,” explains Charles Arapa, Head of Analytics, BI and

Automation at Express Trailers who is heading the implementation of this project. “We set out on this project with three main targets in mind namely to optimise the operating procedure, to broaden and deepen our business intelligence capabilities and to engage more intimately with our customers. By digitizing most processes, linking various departments together and delivering new efficiencies, I believe the CarLo platform has all


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the credentials to re-confirm Express Trailers as the top logistics company in Malta,” adds Charles. The CarLo Transport Management System was engaged through a procurement process which saw a total of 33 submissions. The chosen system had all major functionalities ready, with Express Trailers needing to adapt its processes in line with CarLo.

We set out on this project with three main targets in mind namely to optimise the operating procedure, to broaden and deepen our business intelligence capabilities and to engage more intimately with our customers.

Implementation was planned across three main phases and work started in September 2018 followed up immediately with the first in-house training the following month. “Phase 1 saw the compilation of all the Master Data within Carlo and roll-out of system on the full trailer loads. Phase 2 will see the software implemented across our Air freight, Sea freight, Local distribution and LTL modules whereas Phase 3 will involve Customs Clearance, link with other information modules, Track & Trace, as well as further enhancements to the implemented processes and introduction of further automation. “At the moment we are at phase 2 and we just completed roll out of the software on our Sea freight operations. We are very upbeat about this project as we have already started seeing marked improvements. In fact, there are areas where the processing time

has already been improved by a staggering 50%!” “Implementing such a mammoth project across an organisation like Express Trailers has been very challenging but the beauty of CarLo is that, now that we have started seeing improvements in the way we process our documentation, employees are becoming even more interested in it.” “Training on the application of this platform is also more effective and our German trainers have been helping us familiarize with all modules and assisting all those involved with the configuration and update of the workflows to automate work as much as possible.” Charles admits that although the project is quite advanced, the journey is still long. “We will soon be in a position to migrate to the new platform. Once we do, we should be working on other important elements such as improvement of pricing, centralisation of local operations, the introduction of Customs Clearance declaration modules which will be linked directly to Customs as well as give clients access to the system so they can track their consignments.” “Most importantly, CarLo is an investment that brought all employees even closer as we all worked on a common goal. There is a shared understanding of how vital it was for Express Trailers to deliver this project at this specific point in time. Now, we all know that CarLo will help us achieve new levels of efficiencies through further digitalisation, improved Business Intelligence, and a more meaningful customer experience,” concluded Charles.


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FROM OUR ROOTS Reading time: 3 minutes

In 1976, trailers – roll-on, roll-off were introduced to the Maltese market. Those were interesting times. Malta was going through constant economic change; new markets were being tapped – whilst the political climate in Malta was often tense. We saw this as a good opportunity to invest, and in the process, we set up the company Vella Brothers (Malta) Limited to diversify into the international transportation. A year or so later the government had decided that the name “Malta Limited” was not to be allowed, so we had changed the name of the company to Vella Brothers Limited.

Frans Vella Entering the international market was no easy task. Till that time, we were focused entirely on the local market. When we looked beyond our shores, that was a step in the dark – for we did not have adequate resources and knowledge to take such a remarkable risk. But we did, because we were determined to grow and diversify our business operations. Above all, we were determined to become leaders in our field. Two companies started off at the same time: Islander Trucking and Transeuro Systems who had the necessary resources to start off with a large fleet of equipment. In our case we could only start off with one tractor unit and three trailers. However, after a few years in their operation these two main competitors closed down their business and we eventually bought the equipment of Transeuro Systems. That too was a remarkable achievement and a watershed moment for us. Buying out all the equipment of our competitor, considering that we started small was no mean feat. With hindsight, I believe that was the start of our success story.

It was a tough beginning. At first, we encountered a good number of challenges. We had to find out how to obtain the international transport authorisations for our trucks to load cargo and transit through other European countries. At the time Malta did not have any Ministry of Transport which could guide us and provide necessary assistance in this respect. In the circumstances, to obtain these permits, I had no option but to write directly to the Ministry of Transport of each country. I recall the reply received for my first enquiry with German and Austrian authorities was that further correspondence with them must be in the German language. Eventually, I managed to build up the contacts with the international authorities and set up the appropriate system to ensure our trucks are always accompanied with the appropriate authorisations and our trailers have the “carnet de passage” to facilitate border crossings. Subsequently, Gollcher Company Limited, Sullivan & Sullivan Limited, and John Ripard & Son Limited


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approached us. They wanted to enter into the international market and asked us to do it together. That was another watershed moment for us. It was excellent proof that we were being noticed, and that well established companies saw in us their opportunity

I think that life and this beautiful experience of seeing Express Trailers grow taught me a very valuable lesson – that to grow, we need to keep adapting and not be afraid of change. to grow. For this purpose, we set up a company in which they had 60% of the share, and us 40%. We agreed that this company was to be named Express Trailers Limited. The first meetings of this new company took place at our Qormi premises. We had a makeshift office in the Qormi Garage: wooden planks, suspended in the mid-air, and humble apertures. We saw in this venture an opportunity to grow. This partnership gave us a proper company experience. The first company board was composed of the other three company directors, my bother Ġużi, and myself. By time, we started to expand our business and continue building up our network of agents in Europe to use as groupage hubs. Even our fleet of equipment was gradually increasing. The partnership with the other three companies lasted for around five

years – then we bought them out. We set up our company board. Foreign medium-sized companies had expressed interest in us too. We had a lot of work, mostly in Italy, UK, Germany, Holland, and Belgium. In the 1970s, and 80s, the textile industry was strong in Malta. It employed thousands of Maltese workers. Many young men and women worked long hours, sewing garments, mostly for export. Malta had become one of the leaders in this field, and we benefitted greatly from this boom. By time, it started to falter due to harsh competition from abroad. We had a heavy volume of traffic in the textile industry, so we had to adapt to the changing reality - which we did. That could have been a do-or-die moment for us. I know of many local companies which went bust when the textile industry faltered. We did not because we never put all of our eggs in one basket, and we were always quick to adapt. In the mid-1990s the pharmaceutical industry gained ground in Malta and we saw this as an opportunity to grow. Today, it is one of the leading economic sectors in Malta which employs hundreds of employees and is constantly growing. We invested heavily in our trailers because the pharmaceutical industry requires sophisticated machinery and trailers. I think that life and this beautiful experience of seeing Express Trailers grow taught me a very valuable lesson – that to grow, we need to keep adapting and not be afraid of change.


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THE 2020 PHOTO COMPETITION THE 12 FINALISTS This year’s photographic competition carried the theme #WeAreOrange. We invited all employees to submit their entries. We wanted to know what ‘We Are Orange’ means to them through the photos that they submitted.

12 final photos have been chosen by a jury which will now feature on our annual company desk calendar distributed among staff and clients. The three final winners of this photographic competition were Charlene Debono (first place), Brendan Xuereb (second place) and Aldo Cutajar (third place).


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OUR PEOPLE

DAVID FLERI SOLER Head of Sales and Business Development David enjoys over 30 years’ experience in the shipping and logistics industry in Malta. “At Express Trailers, I’m responsible for strategic planning, managing freight forwarding operations and supervising market research activities related to products and services provided by our Group. One of my most rewarding milestones was when we set up the Group’s pharmaceutical operations, a line of business which kept defining Express Trailers’ resourcefulness. My responsibilities also include that of constantly evaluating the group’s business development activities and making sure the quality of the work and service we provide throughout remains of the highest standard.”

LUIGI SCICLUNA Supervisor - Hammar Service, Welding and Metal Fabrication “I started working with Express Trailers when I was still an MCAST student over six years ago. Express Trailers has given me the opportunity to grow in my area and learn new trades. I was proud to be involved in the setting up of Express Trailers Engineering Ltd to be able to service our partners HAMMAR in the construction and reconditioning of side-loaders for their customers. In fact, this new line of business has also given me the opportunity to work abroad in countries like Sweden, France and the Canary Islands, helping me grow both professionally and also as a person.”

STEPHANIE AGIUS Customer Relations “Twenty-nine years - a lifetime meeting clients, discussing jobs required and most of all understanding what the customer wants and seeing it done till the end. I started working at Express Trailers in my twenties, no computers back then, no mobile phones, most work was done in writing, telex machines, radios for communication, calling the Turretta for updates on vessels arriving at port.... So much has changed since then! Today communication is the least of our problems! We have now come a long way and I am proud to say so, and will be even prouder to retire from the leading Trailer Service company in a few years’ time, knowing my job was done well and with the utmost respect. Starting the day at a job with great colleagues and doing what I enjoy doing is highly rewarding but also satisfying.”