Kazakhstan 2017 | TRANSPORT | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Natalie Andriyevskaya, Managing Director of M&M Kazakhstan, on doing business in Kazakhstan, logistics and transportation, and the outlook for 2017.

Natalie Andriyevskaya
Natalie Andriyevskaya graduated from Almaty State University with a bachelor’s in international relations in 2005. She started her career as assistant to the logistics manager/general manager working in the international supply of entertainment goods in 2003. She then continued her experience in logistics at the representative office of Singaporean forwarding company SVEP Global Logistics. She then worked for six years as Multimodal specialist/Head of Multimodal and RW department in International Cargo Services at DB SCHENKER in Kazakhstan. In 2011 she founded New Link Solutions, LTD (international freight forwarding and logistics). In January 2016 she was appointed as Managing Director of M&M Kazakhstan.

What is the strategic importance of Kazakhstan for the global operations of M&M?

Kazakhstan is an interesting and important market that is fast emerging because of an abundance of natural resources. Kazakhstani companies are increasing exports, while foreign investors are looking to invest in the country. There are many interesting projects and investments in the pipeline and M&M Militzer and Münch focuses on the service and support of the projects and always offers high-quality service in the logistics area.

What strategy will you adopt to attract new clients and gain more market share?

We aim to pay strong attention to every customer regardless of magnitude in the market, while focusing on quality of service and constantly looking to offer the best pricing solutions in order to save customers expenses in the logistics area. We also look to improve routes and transit time for supplies—these are the points and advantages that support us. M&M has many benefits—we are focused on regional solutions between Europe, North Africa, and Asia and we are represented by more than 100 branches in more than 30 countries worldwide with qualified teams and professionals at the helm.

How do you assess doing business in this sector in Kazakhstan and what are the particular challenges and opportunities faced here?

Forwarding companies work with the same railways, airlines, and shipping lines, so the main thing for us is to focus on our jobs and shipments, which is an opportunity. We are not a global player like DHL, for example; however, we are flexible and if a client needs to get our service and attention quickly, we are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We seek to provide special services to our customers because nowadays it does not matter only how big or how global a company is; the main issue for local customers is the pricing and terms of payment. Companies have to be affordable and flexible with the terms of payments, especially if they want to win large tender contracts. The risk for us is that sometimes we have to provide quotations that are valid for a year, which is not ideal for us, but we sign such contracts and work hard to save and increase the margin. Sometimes with one contract we have some losses, while for the next one we have gains; it varies and this is the case with every business.

How would you assess the government's efforts to make the logistics and transportation sector more attractive?

The government is doing a great deal now, especially for railway shipments. For example, it has upgraded the train from China to Europe and the UK, though there are still many gaps to work on and cover because it is an expensive project and it needs to pay more attention to the administrative costs of such services. Of course, the government could do even more for roads to connect the various regions; for example, there is a major issue in finding a company to transport shipments from Almaty to Aktau or Atyrau because there are no good connections. In the future, we hope to be able to provide a quick service for import and export customs clearance because there are still many gaps in the legislation and delays.

What is your outlook for 2017?

Personally, I have confidence that all businesses can grow. It is good to have many competitors here in the business, but still we can go out and win the business for our company. I am confident that we can grow and participate in projects, tenders, and provide a highly qualified approach to any job great or small. We will also work with small businesses in Kazakhstan to support them and help them to grow in order to develop international trade for Kazakhstani markets.