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An Interview with Alexei Chalikov of Heavy.World

This year has marked a number of events which aroused the widespread interest in the project logistics market. Heavy WorldCompany spoke out and billed itself with some interesting projects. First of all, it’s unique book Heavyteam which tells children about the oversize and heavy-transport world.  The book has indeed reverberated all over the globe. Another interesting project – HeavyBook – is a lavishly illustrated edition which offers a selection of stories about the most significant transports in the world for the last decade. Finally, the important HeavyWind conference which is focused on wind generators logistics. In September 2018, over 150 delegates attended this forum in St. Petersburg, Russia. The trends of the event industry are the topic of our discussion with Aleksei Chalikov, CEO HeavyWorld.

What is your opinion of the exhibition and conference market in regard to project logistics?

Several new subject conferences appeared in Europe this year, although a year earlier there was only one exhibition – Breakbulk Europe. The thing is the exhibition market is experiencing a strong decline all over the world, and the number of participants (exhibitors) is decreasing. The exhibition operators facilitate access to pavilions to about everyone interested in order to increase the flow of visitors. What happens is that the price of a stand, which starts from EUR10,000 attracts not only experts but also hundreds of drop-in visitors. This very much reduces the professional background of exhibitions.

Any company that wishes to optimize its advertising budget shall treat exhibiting costs with a great level of diligence. Certainly, if we speak about a packaging manufacturer, it will use exhibitions to advertise its products. But what if a company is a member of the logistics industry? Its space is only represented by pictures on the wall and brochures on the stand.

And we should also consider environmental issues as exhibition stands are made from a large amount of plastic, paper, polyethylene. Why aren’t the Europeans concerned with this matter? I think that exhibition owners and stand attendants need to answer the question – how much trash do they generate? How is this plastic disposed of and what is the impact of each exhibition on our planet?

Another important point. Company personnel spends a lot of worktimes to participate in exhibitions. Preparing for an event can take more than one week, participation itself – at least 3 days, and then you need to travel back home… Another question is, what is the effect of such labour efforts? 

Actually, participation in the exhibition makes a company carry a huge financial and time expenditures with very debateable results. In my view, these facts explain a surge of interest in conferences. Advantages are evident. The duration of an event is only 1-2 days, participation fee is many-fold less if compared to exhibitions, there are no outside parties, only professionals. It means that for EUR 400-700 you get something you will never get for 10,000. That makes sense.

One more thing: major exhibiting companies take the pain to promptly react to all changes in the world. This is a very bulky and clumsy business and almost no new ideas are born here. Very often these companies are poorly familiarized with local markets. For instance, failure of Breakbulk Russia and Breakbulk Turkey was attributed to these very issues.

In this respect we have decided to offer information and support to a variety of new conferences which are dedicated to project logistics and are to be held in Europe in 2019. On top of that, next year we will organize the first Heavy Europe conference with our own efforts. Our event will take place in Hamburg in October. You will soon find all the details on our website.

This year you held the conference focused on wind generators logistics – Heavy Wind – in St. Petersburg, Russia. Are you happy with its outcomes?

Extremely happy! This conference was organized together with Nooteboom, Netherlands and it was truly successful:  more than 150 delegates from 12 countries all over the world came to participate.  The reason for this level of interest is explained by Russia’s current extensive plans for wind power development. 
According to the state support program, 3.35 GW of WPP capacities is to be commissioned by 2024. Large-scale wind farm construction will be performed in many regions of the country: in Rostov and Ulyanovsk Oblast, Krasnodar and Stavropol Krai, the Republic of Tatarstan, etc. Earnest plans on environmental-friendly energy development are raised by Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine. These plans are bound to attract transport and logistics businesses.

We also intend to hold the subject conference in Vietnam in 2019. The South-East Asia countries have stepped up to partake in construction of wind power plants and we can see a great potential of holding business events in this region.

This year, you presented a children’s book Heavy Team at BreakBulk EUROPE exhibition. Could you elaborate on how this idea came to you in the first place?

I was working on this book for more than a year and a half. I had to handle and carefully investigate all aspects of its development, from drawing of all the characters up to page layouts.  I even consulted a child psychologist to find out which colours should be used in the book. Frankly speaking, I wasn’t expecting such a big hit with the public all over the globe…

The idea of creating a book for children was purely accidental. At one of the conferences I was approached by a delegate and as our conversation went on he complained that it was so difficult to explain to his child what he did for a living. And then I thought that it would be nice to tell kids about such a complicated type of logistics as project freight in an understandable format.

I am now finalizing preparation of the second book and hope to release a cartoon really soon…

Cartoon about oversize transport?

Yes, nothing is impossible for us. For sure, it will be a most difficult project, both technically and financially. But I’m positive that we will surprise everyone!

Aleksei, what do you think of the media market in the project logistics industry? What is the level of its saturation?

I believe that everything in this mass media segment became outdated long ago. There are a couple of magazines, there are some projects engaged with specific associations and exhibitions. But all these editions are very boring and the information they offer turns out of date really quick. To date, hardly anyone from this sphere is actively using social networking. Although the entire world has already be enliving on news from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for quite a long time. been living on news from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for quite a long time.

We are very active in this niche, leading other parties by example. But it will be difficult for anyone to catch up. Our company has the largest group of subscribers in Facebook and we will continue to be robust moving in this direction.

What is your next project?

There are a lot. Our plans include conferences in the markets which are new for us: Europe, Africa and South-East Asia. We are now starting to look at South American countries aswell as Iraq and Australia.

However, our most important project today is the HEAVY PORTAL. On November 21 we launched information websites in 31 world countries. For this implementation, we selected the most promising regions in terms of project logistics. The websites will be gradually supplemented with essential information: possibilities of oversize and overweight cargoes to be handled by transport infrastructure in each specific country, regulation of transit of such cargoes and special permitting procedures. Each website will present a newsfeed and plenty of other helpful information which none of the global portals have ever combined in one place.

Another important function of the portal will be represented by option of receiving orders for project loads transportation and consequent allocation of these requests. In other words, we will use the website to receive requests and upon survey of certain parameters we will place this order with the best suitable company. That’s what we call Oversize UBER.

What kind of parameters will you consider?

The basic ones: company experience, reliability, financial solvency, competent staff, full-service package offers. As a matter of fact, we relieve a cargo owner from the necessity of searching for a reliable carrier with the best offer. Especially if cargo needs to be dispatched to countries where civilized logistics market only starts to emerge.

Overdimensioned cargo often implies millions of dollars. Nobody wants their cargo to be damaged, however that is often the case, especially in developing countries. We will thoroughly select companies and recommend them to cargo owners.

In which countries will such portals operate?

The list includes 31 countries, all the information can be found on www.heavyportal.com

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