Sialkot in Pakistan is a major player in the global market for medical products and exports to numerous countries. The city has made a name for itself among many medical institutions and specialists as a reliable supplier. And yet, before the surgical instruments can be used at their destination, they need to be transported across many national borders. Hermes International supports its customers in the export of these important healthcare goods and maintains a strategic partnership with the local logistics service provider WWG. By combining local and international logistics expertise and intermodal transportation capabilities, the two companies ensure a smooth and efficient supply chain from Sialkot to anywhere in the world. Tariq Jehanzeb, Branch Manager at WWG, provides insights into the work on site and reveals what is planned for the trade route to Germany.
Surgical instruments from Sialkot: Expertise meets quality
Sialkot is an industrial city in the province of Punjab and is located in the north-east of Pakistan, close to the border with India. For more than a hundred years, medical devices, instruments and implants as well as dental equipment have been manufactured here – to be used in hospitals and surgical facilities all over the world. The foundation for this was laid when during colonial times, British doctors had their surgical equipment repaired by the skilled workers in Sialkot. Class I and II instruments are now produced in the Pakistani city. They are subject to strict quality controls in accordance with international certification standards. From Sialkot, the important goods are then exported worldwide to contribute to healthcare and meet the demand of numerous countries.
Surgical goods are transported with high precision – Local partners in Sialkot enable the movements
Annual exports of surgical products from Sialkot amount to approximately 180 million US dollars. 80 percent of the instruments are exported to the USA, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Dubai, Japan and the Netherlands. But how are these sensitive goods moved across national borders in a way that they reach their destination undamaged and on time? The World Wide Group (WWG) in Pakistan, a partner of Hermes International, ensures the smooth transportation of goods. As General Sales Agent for 17 international airports, WWG is the leading and best networked organization in the local logistics industry and has more than 50 years of experience in the market.
The local hero WWG also operates its own office in Sialkot and is therefore located directly on site. A special truck ensures that the logistics and transportation of the surgical products are handled with precision and the required speed. In addition, WWG has extensive experience and expertise in customs clearance, which further facilitates the smooth and speedy export of the goods. Tailor-made transport solutions combined with focused expertise ensure that the medical supplies reach their destination promptly and in perfect condition.
We spoke to Tariq Jehanzeb, Branch Manager at WWG, about what should be considered when transporting surgical products:
How do European companies benefit from working with WWG as a local partner in Sialkot?
Tariq Jehanzeb: Most of the factories in Sialkot are very small businesses: they prefer personal contact with the forwarders – most communication in Pakistan still takes place via phone calls, documents are sent by messenger or handed over at personal meetings. Through our own office in the center of Sialkot, we are closely connected to the factories, which are regularly visited by our team. We understand the local approach of small businesses, which is why 100% of the staff in our office originate from Sialkot. This enables us to ensure smooth coordination and seamless synchronization with our customers.
What are the unique organizational and logistical challenges involved in transporting surgical products from Pakistan? And how does WWG overcome them?
Tariq Jehanzeb: The demand for surgical equipment is not linear. Suppliers therefore prefer to ship in very small quantities – sometimes a shipment amounts to only 30 to 50 kilograms. For smaller weight classes, suppliers have to pay lower air freight rates, but the handling is expensive, which can be explained by the collection and documentation, for example. As a freight forwarder, WWG therefore prefers to combine smaller quantities from different suppliers and turn them into larger shipments through consolidation. The positive impact on freight rates, handling fees and overall logistics is passed on to the suppliers, who benefit from the advantages of a larger shipment. In addition, WWG also offers self-collection of surgical shipments, which also helps to keep collection costs very low.
Sialkot and Stuttgart have a particularly high number of freight transactions for surgical goods. What is WWG planning specifically for this trade route?
Tariq Jehanzeb: Our concept provides for at least three consolidations per week between Sialkot and Stuttgart. Our own truck is already in operation six days a week to pick up surgical material in Sialkot – the pick-up costs for this process are included in the air freight costs. Smaller shipments that can be combined are then consolidated into one large shipment. In this way, smaller quantities or even individual boxes can be sent to Germany at short notice. Customers benefit from the freight rates for shipping large consignments – and enjoy competitive prices.
Mr. Jehanzeb, thank you very much for the interview.
Strategic cooperation with various local heroes in Asia
Hermes International supports its customers in becoming more independent of individual procurement markets and producers and in strengthening their own competitiveness. Strategic partnerships with local service providers in other Asian countries are therefore also maintained in order to diversify global supply chains: