Recently, in its 10th anniversary issue, El Correo del Golfo made a report entitled “Erhardt Projects, the “bridge to the future” in the Gulf logistics sector”. In this report the online newspaper commented that “The Spanish company underlines the success of its internationalisation strategy with the creation of subsidiaries in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia” We bring to these pages the report dedicated to us by El Correo del Golfo.
In only three years since it embarked on its internationalisation strategy, the Spanish company Erhardtt Projects has already managed to consolidate its position as a leading international Project Cargo logistics operator and has experienced significant growth in terms of volumes and turnover. The company opened its subsidiary, Erhardt Project Cargo & Logistics Middle East, in Abu Dhabi in June last year. Igor Muñiz, CEO of the company explained to EL CORREO DEL GOLFO, “it is fully operational and carrying out important Project Cargo logistics tenders awarded by strategic clients in the region”.
The company was founded in 1998 with the name Erhardt Proyectos S.L as an SME specialising in industrial Project Cargo logistics, within the Maritime Services and Logistics Division of Erhardt. This established logistics company was founded in 1882 and currently has four main lines of business: Logistics and Maritime Services, Technology, Steel and Trading and Insurance and Risk Management. Over the years, Erhardt Proyectos has evolved to become an international Project Cargo logistics operator, providing its customers with customised, integrated and innovative solutions, in collaboration with suppliers, partners and other parts of the logistics chain, at any time and in any place.
In 2020 it took a key step in its development and went international with a ‘Boutique & Unique’ strategy that combines four high value assets to attract top clients in the Project Cargo sector, grow rapidly and differentiate itself from its competitors.
These assets are in-house Transport Engineering, highly specialised in customised and comprehensive solutions for complex operations; a Chartering Division to act as independent specialists in the global maritime market; an Integrated Logistics Department to cover turnkey projects; and a Digital Solutions Area to digitise its end-to-end supply chain, as well as to provide new services to its customers through disruptive technologies that drastically change the way the Project Cargo Sector operates.
This change is due to the sector’s own demand as, explained by Muñiz, “in an environment like the current one, in which logistics chains are affected by risks of all kinds, there is a growing need to approach projects with a single vision, integrating physical and digital logistics services, regulatory compliance, risk management and environmental impact mitigation”.
Muñiz says that “in recent years, logistics has become a major strategic factor for companies, which are now showing a renewed interest in their supply chain”. In this scenario “reliability, transparency of operations, flexibility and responsiveness are now key to their competitiveness”.
In addition to consolidating its position in the Gulf region, it will focus on the US and Indian markets in 2023
This new scenario also led the company to change its name in 2022 to Erhardt Projects in order to better reflect its new reality as an international integrated logistics services company, focused on connecting and simplifying its customers’ supply chain. “With this, we want to align the brand to our new reality, that of an international company ready to be where the project is and prepared to generate a positive impact on our clients’ results”, Muñiz explains.
Although Erhardt Projects is internationally oriented, Europe, the Middle East-APAC region and the USA are its strategic markets. “These project intensive markets are set to grow over the next 3-5 years, especially the Middle East, which is also where most of our clients’ decision-making centres are located. At Erhardt Projects we aim to support them in their strategic markets and in their internationalisation processes”, says Igor Muñiz.
The current portfolio of this company, dedicated to the transport of cargo that, due to its weight or volume cannot be moved through conventional logistics systems, includes the top companies in its different target segments – manufacturers, EPC contractors and end customers – in its strategic sectors of activity: Oil & Gas, Renewables, Energy, Nuclear, Port Equipment and Infrastructures.
Erhardt Projects has been awarded the largest and most substantial tenders and single operations issued by clients in recent years, resulting in an increase in sales and turnover that has enabled it to comfortably exceed the business targets set for 2021-2022. Due to the needs of the contracts won and responding to new requests from existing and potential customers, the company significantly in creased its workforce to strengthen mainly the chartering division and inhouse engineering, doubling its capacity.
Over the past three years, Erhardt Projects has successfully managed numerous complex super/heavy lift cargo operations with multiple origins and destinations internationally. This has earned it the absolute trust of customers and the renewal and access to new international contracts in 2022. This was the year in which it made its international commitment a reality with the opening of the Abu Dhabi subsidiary, which is now fully operational.
“The people who work at Erhardt Projects are being the key to our transformation”
According to Muñiz, accelerating the company’s positioning in the area has contributed to incorporating “local and international talent into its ranks with a proven professional track record and strengthening alliances with local economic operators”, helping them to immerse themselves “in the idiosyncrasies of the area”.
In this sense, Muñiz considers that the short-term results being obtained by the company, fully owned by Erhardt, are the result of its effective positioning in one of the regions with the highest growth expectations worldwide and with more investments in the development of sectors such as oil & gas, renewable energies or civil infrastructures.
Therefore, in January this year it opened a new subsidiary in Saudi Arabia based in Al Khobar, one of the main logistics centres in the Arabian Gulf. This is the result of a joint venture between Erhardt Projects and Erog Holding and will allow both companies to expand their reach by offering a complete portfolio of highly specialised and tailor made solutions for customers looking to gain greater efficiencies in their industrial supply chains in Saudi Arabia.
“The partnership with Erog Holding marks a historic milestone for Erhardt, allows us to be present in a key place for Project Cargo logistics in the coming years and gives us the opportunity to work together to play a relevant role in connecting the end-to-end supply chain in the Project Cargo sector in this region”, explains Muñiz.
In short, the CEO of Ehardt Projects considers that 2022 has been “a remarkable year in several ways” becau se it was a “consolidation of the brand in the Spanish and European market” and, at the same time, a “leap towards international markets, mainly in the Middle East (building bridges with Asia and Europe) and North America”.
“The people working at Erhardt Projects are the key to our transformation and we are equipping ourselves with a new generation of executives who will be responsible for driving the company’s growth in the medium term”, adds Muñiz.
After a high-intensity 2022 with high demand for services in the Project Cargo Sector, 2023 starts with the same inertia for the Spanish company, with growing production activity at a global level that will be a good first half of activity.
In this sense, Muñiz affirms that “although there are still forecasts of recession that predict potholes and moments of uncertain ty in 2023, to date, the reality is that new projects continue to be contracted that predict a prosperous year for our sector”.
Erhardt Projects’ objective for 2023 is to maintain the volumes and growth rate achieved in 2022, for which the company will continue to accompany existing customers in their international markets and strategic projects, being as close as possible to their decision centres.
It will also continue with its inter nationalisation process, focusing on the USA and Indian markets, through different commercial formulas, completing its portfolio with global Project Cargo customers in the company’s priority sectors of activity.
“We will continue to strengthen our customers’ end-to-end supply chains in highly disruptive times, offering true integration of logistics services in international Project Cargo”, Muñiz guarantees.
He also adds that 2023 will be a year to continue to develop digitalisation and “offer a better service to the cus tomer, as integrated logistics requires data that provides visibility to the business and visibility allows better de cisions to be made faster”.
In short, “we are building a new bridge between present and future, providing new integrated logistics services in the Project Cargo Sector”, says Erhardt Projects CEO Igor Muñiz.
Erhardt Projects is very clear about the elements that make it stand out from the competition.
These are factors that come from their business model and their ‘Boutique & Unique’ strategy.
“The combination of its assets – in-house Transport Engineering, Chartering Service, Integrated Logistics Department and Digital Services Line – together with a high performance team, with talent, experience, comitment and vocation, are undoubtedly the key to our success in our markets of operation”
“This combination allows us the maximum customisation of our solutions and services, on-site support from the beginning to the end of each operation and comprehensive management of each project and its risks”
However, these factors of competitive differentiation will continue to evolve, Muñiz guarantees.
“We will continue to drive integrated services that help connect and simplify the supply chain for customers to cotinue to grow in line with the planned expansion into new markets set out in our strategy”, says the CEO.