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Navigating challenging global logistical operations through expert international freight forwarder thinking

We are delighted to announce that Ocean Wide Logistics UK Ltd (OL UK) is our Business and Industry Today International Freight Forwarding Company of the Year.

Paula Bellamy, Managing Director

With news of the recent tragic Baltimore Bridge collapse and ongoing disruption to the shipping market in the Red Sea and Panama Canal dominating headlines and impacting global logistical operations, it is imperative that supply chains are kept abreast of all situations.

The LinkedIn feed from the OL USA (flagship company of OL International Holdings LLC) doesn’t shy away from these fast-moving stories, and company President, Alan Baer, was recently interviewed by The Wall Street Journal about the impact of the bridge collapse on the shipping community. In the immediate aftermath, the US team immediately prioritised locating delayed or damaged shipments in the Patapsco River and undertook the Herculean task of re-routing as quickly and safely as possible. This was no mean feat and displays the fortitude of resourcefulness on a global scale. The US Army Corps of Engineers were deployed to survey the river bottom, showing the magnitude of the situation and with the shipping channel remaining closed for the foreseeable future, it has bottlenecked one of the country’s biggest ports on the East Coast.

This keenly demonstrates how the closure of key maritime routes can send shockwaves through the shipping community and shows in turn how heavyweights such as OL USA partner with statutory and emergency agencies to support those impacted and try to keep shipments moving in a crisis.

Working alongside such esteemed company, we were naturally curious about how OL UK has fared over the last twelve months and spoke to Managing Director, Paula Bellamy, “The last year has indeed been exciting and full of growth. OL UK is one of the fastest growing bonded NVOCCs in the world and has service contracts with the highest-rated ocean carriers. Through our integrated network of agents across the globe, we have a presence in all of the major trade and business centres. Working with importers, exporters, and freight forwarders, we are able to move their goods and provide door-to-door service worldwide. OL UK offers our clients a single-source experience from beginning to end, along with the technology to handle today’s globalised market.

“OL UK offers our clients an optimal combination of industry relationships, leading supply chain technology, and exceptional customer service. We believe that true market advantage comes from creative, individualised solutions. OL UK streamlines global commerce with our vast array of services and network of agents in over 140 countries, fulfilling your international logistics needs with expertise and professionalism.

“We have created a key account department within the UK to cover a large contract we run globally. Part of our UK team is now dedicated to this client and our remaining business is covered separately.”

Ocean Wide Logistics UK (OL UK) was formally established in 2021 by Paula and is strategically focused on fostering stronger OL bonds between UK and Europe, with commercial shipments to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), USA and beyond. With sister offices in Dubai, and the Philippines, the forward-thinking UK company easily spans the globe and is bolstered by OL USA’s thirteen offices across America, including the company headquarters in New York.

No stranger to awards, Paula was named “Leading Female Professional in Logistics and Transport” by Logistics News following success with OL Dubai which she opened in 2016.

“Being selected for this International Freight Forwarding Company of the Year Award is very humbling indeed, when we think of all the other freight forwarders working in our space, who deserve to be recognised as much as we do. The industry itself is extremely challenging at the moment and therefore it’s even more important to be aware of the challenges that face cargo owners and try to really come up with creative solutions while retaining the competitive edge that everyone needs,” added Paula.

Part of this creative approach, initiated by OL International is the new cutting-edge software platform: OLX, which is gradually being phased into company offices worldwide. OLX will deliver an integrated, world-class digital experience to customers, partners and internal teams by supplying Track & Trace, archive documents, shared access to real-time file data and AI-enhanced reports.

Part of the remit of Industry 5.0 is to empower workforces around the world, to meet the evolving skills and training needs of all employees and increase the competitiveness across industries to attract and train the best workers, within circular production models. OLX is an example of how next-level technology can streamline the holistic customer experience in the digital era, forgoing copious reams of paperwork.

Furthermore, OL UK offers a single-source logistics solution, across a global partner network from door-to-door, safeguarding precious assets, including oversized and dangerous goods. As one of the top bonded NVOCCs, OL UK has over 25 contracts with ocean carriers, conveniently shipping from ports such as Felixstowe, Liverpool, London, Southampton and Immingham. Ocean freight expert staff guides new and existing customers through the complexity of global import/export logistics, documentation including letters of credit, Full Container Load (FCL) and Less Than Container Load (LCL) terminology, with the added assurance of temperature-controlled cargo conditions throughout.

The integrated group holds memberships to four different agent networks with the benefits of covering specialities via air, sea and road freight forwarding, which translates to expert handling of all goods with seamless customs documentation.

“We don’t have products, we have services. Our services offer a real person value, as our staff are very knowledgeable, helpful and always able to come up with creative solutions to work with the everyday logistics climate.

“Our customer service is our USP and strength, we have many clients across small and large companies but they all receive a detailed, tailored service to suit their needs.

“If we have a client who buys and sells a product, we will work with the client to fully understand the journey of that product from manufacture to arrival on the shop floor of the retail outlet.

“Now, with the advent of the OLX platform, we will be able to offer an even greater enhanced digital customer experience,” added Paula.

With the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, disrupted shipping market in the Red Sea and Panama Canal and sporadic port strikes, many businesses have faced huge shipping delays over recent months. The situation in the Red Sea region has led to vessels diverting round the Cape of Good Hope rather than through the Suez Canal to avoid potential Houthi rebel piracy attacks.

“We cross-reference a variety of carriers or airlines or truckers, so we can ensure pricing is competitive and then if something out of the ordinary happens in the world (such as the Red Sea current issues), we are ready to design a new route for our clients’ products and offer advice for change to help,” reassured Paula.

With a focus on organic growth, OL UK already transports products across the food & drink, toiletries and cosmetics and electronic goods industries but is always looking to welcome new businesses across different sectors. OL International prides itself on investing in quality staff with local expertise, and across all the OL offices there are over 18 languages spoken worldwide. With a network of 487 agents across six continents, and over 30 years’ experience in the international freight market, the conglomerate is internationally recognised for its considerable expertise.

“OL UK offers our customers an optimal combination of industry relationships, leading supply chain technology, and exceptional customer service. We believe that true market advantage comes from creative, individualised solutions. OL UK streamlines global commerce with our vast array of services and network of agents in over 140 countries, fulfilling your international logistics needs with expertise and professionalism. We give a new meaning to ‘local around the world’ and our Al-powered analytics have helped streamline operations across the industry as we commit to Industry 5.0 and as we navigate the current geo-political hot-spots,” concluded Paula.

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