World Net Logistics Cape Town has a new Branch Manager: Meet Julian Bester

Posted by Maria Hofer

Julian Bester, Branch Manager Cape Town is a 25- year veteran in the Freight Forwarding Industry. Rising through the ranks from an acquittal clerk at MSC, his career spans ocean freight, airfreight, customs brokerage, projects, and warehousing.

“Together with passion”- is the Rhenus tagline, and so it is fitting that Julian shared some of his own passion with us.

What made you decide to follow a career in Logistics?
It was a bit by default. After I left school I was on “holiday” for a couple of months and eventually my parents said I need to either go and study or find a job. At that stage I opted rather to work. Did all the normal applications at banks and retail stores and eventually through a friend found my first job at MSC working as an acquittals clerk. That was back in 1996. I really did not know much about the industry or what I was doing but slowly began enjoying it and I guess found my career that I have built up.

25 years is a long time, what motivated you to continue?
I love that it is never quiet, there is always something happening. Our industry is also constantly evolving. My first manager told me two things when I started

  1. If you make it in the first six months in this industry, you have it in your blood to stay and make it a career.
  2. In this industry, you will always learn. Every day there will be something new that you learn as this is an ever-changing industry. I must admit that she was not wrong!!

Why World Net Logistics?
I looked after them as one of my customers when I was in sales at MSC, and it was always one of those companies that was in the back of my mind that I would like to work for. When the opportunity arose to head up the Airfreight department, I took it. Although I was more ocean freight experienced, I proved to my peers at the time that I was more than capable to perform in the position and make a success of it.

One of the continuing highlights for me is that working at World Net Logistics makes you feel like working as part of a family. There really is so much support and this is from all aspects in the business.

What are some of your highlights?
A few years ago, we had a customer that imported couple of sample shipments for a well- known telecommunications company tender, and one of the shipments did not arrive. We took the responsibility, and by so, we showed the customer that we are in this together. They saw us as a partner rather than just a service provider and I continued to build the relationship with the customer. When they secured the contract, we managed to get all the shipments and helped them to bring the cargo into SA.

More recently I was managing a large project for a customer with freight originating in Los Angles needing to make an April deadline. We had a 3-week window in which to do this, and then COVID-19 and hard lockdown brought the Industry to a grinding halt. Trying to find flights and dealing with the airline hub to ensure the cargo connected, or even trying to get the cargo moving on an earlier flight to SA meant working tirelessly through a couple of long days nights. It was enormous sense of achievement in making this deadline given the circumstances.

What advice would you have for someone new starting out in the Industry?
For a lot of people this is a job. Don’t look at it this way. Look at it as an opportunity to learn something unique. There are so many avenues you can pursue in the shipping industry from being a forwarding operator, a ships planner, working on a vessel, being a ground handling agent and loading an aircraft, the list goes on. Learn as much as you can and decide where you want to go. Be an allrounder or a specialist in a certain field. Ask questions – do not be afraid to do that. If you don’t ask you will not learn. Lastly, look for a mentor. There are a lot of people that have been in this industry for many years and willing to share and pass on their knowledge to you.

What opportunities do you see for our branch in Cape Town?
To be part of the Rhenus Group is a great opportunity for us. With the official name change to Rhenus Logistics from 01 December, I want our brand to be recognised in the CPT market. I want us to be known for our great service and long-standing relationships that we build with our customers. Our unique Single Point of Contact approach is a differentiator in the market. We also have our own offices worldwide now and that is a big benefit. With the strong team we have here in CPT branch, I am sure that we will be able to compete against the big forwarders and secure the wins.

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