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“Container xChange is a very thoughtful and user-friendly marketplace”

Aamir Mir is the Chief Operating Officer of Caspian Container Company SA, based in Switzerland. In this interview, he shares with us the relevance of the Caspian region in global trade. Along with that, he also explains how Container xChange’s container trading marketplace has been beneficial for his business in the face of logistical challenges.

About the company

The world’s largest inland sea, the Caspian Sea, is a major geographic and political center. Five sovereign nations – Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Russia and Iran – have access to the Sea which is rich in oil, natural gas and other natural resources. As such, it is a vital transport logistics hub, linking Central Asia to the Far East and Eurasia as whole. Most regular container shipping lines are absent from the Caspian region, Caspian region is mostly a one- way destination for containerized cargo, and most of the time shippers/importers are bound to pay for container cost (SOCs) along with cost of goods.

The idea of Caspian Container Company SA (CCCSA) is to facilitate international container lines, Freight Forwarders, shippers and importers by providing container handling, storage and transport service to/from Caspian region. Also, CCCSA has leverage on millions of tons of commodities trade and can establish backhaul flow through COCs thanks to its activity in the Greater Caspian region.

Why did you choose xChange?

Caspian Container Company SA is a logistics company headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, and I am its Chief Operating Officer. We are part of a group called Integral Petroleum SA and our main area of focus is the Caspian region. When we started, the idea was to use our own SOCs to load cargo so that the cost of transporting our cargo from the Caspian region to any other destination would be minimal, after paying some subsidy to the shipper. This is also how we came to know about Container xChange. We needed mediatory marketplaces like you in new regions where we had containers but wanted bonafide buyers. And not just find buyers but also for getting us the payment from the buyers. And the rest is history!

What are the common challenges that you face?

As far as logistics is concerned, the Caspian region is a challenging terrain. It has only one passage through waterways, which is through Russia. Now we cannot use that because it’s under sanctions because of the Russia-Ukraine war. Besides, it’s always shut from November 15 to March 15 because of excessive snow when no navigation can be done in Volga dan canal which links Caspian Sea to black sea ports (via Sea of Azov).

We are then left only with the middle corridor from eastern Caspian region to the western Caspian region which opens up rail and road links to Europe through Türkiye, Georgia etc. So, we can ship our containers to the Black Sea, Mediterranean sea. So far it’s fine but the market is down at this moment due to multiple factors.

How does xChange help you in growing your business?

Before using Container xChange, we were a little hesitant about moving our container from point A to point B. We were worried about whether someone will buy our containers at point B, where we will store them and what the storage might cost us, and so on. But once we started using your platform, our business approach changed. We have had a very good association with the company so far. We have sold many containers on your platform and want to continue doing so. Now, I am also considering a one-way lease through Container xChange. The service is good too and I would say, “Thumbs up!”

What do you like the most about our platform?

It’s a very user-friendly marketplace. It’s very easy to attach documents, to list containers and to make a deal. That’s very thoughtful and whoever prepared it, has a very good background of logistics. Your team’s forthcoming nature and proactiveness also make xChange very good to use.

What else do you plan to do on xChange?

We want to be able to do business in a more seamless way across the world but also in the Caspian region. We want to enhance our company’s product as well. That means, we want to focus on buying and leasing too. Moving around and meeting people in person and then following up are no longer as convenient as they used to be. The pandemic has restricted a lot of movement. So, with the products and features you are offering, logistics companies will find the ease of doing business. More people are now moving towards e-commerce and so xChange is a disruptive name that way.

Secondly, you also have good research material which is very helpful. You have been giving forecasts and price indicators which are incredible! I get to see the best container prices on your platform, and these are small details that mean a lot in the business. xChange is very helpful for companies to grow their revenue.

What do you not like about xChange?

Because of how disruptive xChange is and everything is digitised, people may lose their jobs in their companies! But then, modernization comes at a price, I guess.

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