ALL DOWN THE LINE

Kazakhstan 2015 | TRANSPORT | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Kamill Gafurov, CEO of IFC COLOS, on the rapid growth of the business, the client portfolio, and railway projects across the country.

Kamill Gafurov
BIOGRAPHY
Originally from Uzbekistan, Kamill Gafurov moved to Kazakhstan in 2001, and started working at Transsystem as the head of the international freight department. In 2005, he became Deputy CEO of SAGA Terminal Logistics, which was one of the two main logistics services providers for the Kashagan Project. Thanks to the experience gained working in the logistics sector, he became CEO of IFC COLOS in 2008.

Over the last few years the turnover of COLOS has more than doubled, reaching $43 million in 2013. What factors are driving the growth of your operations?

The year of 2011 is known as our “breakthrough" year when we doubled our figures, TS Service was rebranded as IFC COLOS (abbreviation of our slogan Comprehensive Logistic Solutions), and expanded the range of services. Starting from 2011, our turnover increased remarkably; in 2011 by 78% against the previous year and in 2012, turnover increased by 96% compared to 2011. For the last two years, we hit $37.9 million in 2012, and then $43 million in 2013. We expect 2014 to be as successful as previous years. In 2008, when I joined the company, we signed 18 contracts. So far this year, without extended contracts, we have already signed 190 new contracts. Currently, IFC COLOS employs 100 people, including its representative offices.

What is the field of specialization of the company and what is the composition of your client portfolio?

IFC COLOS is a freight forwarding company that provides a full range of railway, air, road, sea, and multimodal transportation services. COLOS specializes in handling and transportation of oversized, long measured, heavy-lift, and project cargoes. We handle transportation of hazardous or fragile cargo under a specified temperature regime. IFC COLOS arranges import/export customs clearance and terminal handling services, and issues transit customs declarations on all border stations of the Republic of Kazakhstan. We provide all kinds of services connected to cargo transportation in the sphere of customs affairs. One of the most interesting projects, which we launched in 2012-13, was the transportation of equipment required for reconstruction of the Troitskaya GRES in Russia. In 2011, specialists of IFC COLOS conducted a pilot survey of the freight routes, and then analyzed the transport routes and modes for the implementation of the project. With this project, in 2012, we started moving the main metal structures from China to Russia, and in 2013 we handled transportation of high-technology equipment, which was the last cargo of the project.

IFC COLOS is planning to acquire a railway terminal in the city of Almaty and to construct a facility on the Kazakh-Chinese border. Can you share the details of these ambitious projects?

Towards COLOS's improvement and as a part of our strategic development, we have chosen the conception of logistics services provision using our own infrastructure. In the medium term we would like to increase our transportation services capacity and increase our quantity of logistics projects. We aim to construct a “dry port" logistics center in Almaty, fully equipped with the latest and most innovative technologies. By constructing the terminal we want to improve processes related to cargo handling and create a new approach to the terminal business in Kazakhstan. We will also construct a railway terminal in Khorgas near the Kazakhstan–China border, which is a Free Zone. The main function of the terminal will be reloading of different cargoes such as bulk, oversized, heavy-lift, and container cargo. We submitted our business plan and have gone through all the approvals of the customs authorities over the past two years. We were informed that in April 2015 we will be able to start construction following the distribution of land among approved participants. This terminal will allow us to realize our postal and e-commerce plans by maximizing the transit potential of Kazakhstan. This is an exciting moment for us, as we already have a lot of interest from different companies working in the transportation and logistics services segment. The realization of such large-scale projects will be fulfilled thanks to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), which is ready to cover investment and funding for our terminal.