MELLOHAWK Logistics Inc.
MELLOHAWK Logistics Inc. delivers logistics services with emphasis on client satisfaction. As an international freight forwarder, MELLOHAWK transports cargo of every kind and size to destinations around the world. The company has built a global network of over 60 international freight forwarder agents. To provide personalized customer service, MELLOHAWK management created close personal relationships with these international partners. The company continues to grow at a steady pace and has received several freight industry awards as well as awards related to its community involvement and promotion of Canadian diversity.
MELLOHAWK’s Managing Director Peter Hawkins told The Canadian Business Journal, “Freight forwarding is essentially the business of being a ‘travel agent’ for the cargo — taking over all the logistics’ arrangements for anybody who needs to move cargo around the world. As a small company our goal is to be competitive with the big multinationals when it comes to price and to beat them in terms of service. What sets MELLOHAWK apart is that we made the real effort, went out and met with our agents around the world. This approach and personal connection has become a real asset because we can now pick up the phone, call our agent in any country and someone we know personally will pick up the phone and help us solve whatever issue there may be. We can solve issues in minutes. Large freight forwarders are not able to do this, and that’s why we are able to grow as we do.”
Starting with only few clients, the company achieved continuous growth since its inception in 2002, even during the 2008 economic downturn. Today, the company ships virtually everything — Canadian-made heavy equipment destined for the mines and oil platforms of South America and the Caribbean, fine art and museum collections, vaccines, makeup, frozen food, humanitarian aid for Africa and more.
Personal customer service represents the core idea behind MELLOHAWK. Arnon Melo, the founder of MELLOHAWK, traveling across South America at the time, noticed that while international freight forwarders conducted business mostly in English, clients highly valued being able to discuss their shipping needs and express their concerns directly, in their native language. By filling this service gap in the logistics industry, MELLOHAWK was able to profit and grow. To this, Hawkins said, “At that time Canada was trying to make inroads into South American markets but shipping to this market – and to Brazil especially – was considered next to impossible. We have carved the freight forwarding road into the Brazilian market, and have become the go-to company for shipping to Brazil. That’s how our company started on the road to growth which continues to this day.”
Memberships and awards
To continue providing exceptional service, MELLOHAWK is a member of several freight forwarders’ associations such as CIFFA, FIATA and IATA, and the company is an approved Transport Canada Regulated Agent. “All of our staff received CIFFA training and are certified freight forwarders. Being a regulated agent of Transport Canada makes us the first wall of defence when it comes to terrorism, fraud and smuggling, and environmental issues such as pests; and we are very active in the organization.”
MELLOHAWK Logistics received several freight forwarding awards, such as CIFFA’s Young Freight Forwarder of the Year (2011 and 2009) and Scotiabank Small Business BIG Impact Challenge (2011). The company has also been shortlisted for the 2012 Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC) Success Award for its efforts hiring, training and promoting diversity among the company staff.
Coming from diverse cultural backgrounds, MELLOHAWK management recognized the potential in hiring newcomers to Canada, seeing that newcomers offered a tremendous upside to MELLOHAWK as a logistic provider. Besides the talent and ability, with direct access to different cultures, newcomers opened many service opportunities for MELLOHAWK within various cultural diasporas in Canada as well as access to buyers’ and suppliers’ markets abroad. “We feel that there is an untapped pool of experienced and talented people in the Canadian newcomers’ community, and that companies in any industry would benefit tremendously from their experience. MELLOHAWK is in business to make money but what we have found was that, while we wanted to make contributions to the socially relevant causes, our participation became a good way of building our business, whether it was building community relationships or getting our name out there. That is why we advocate tapping into and taking advantage of this hidden potential and often unrecognized talent. We continue to build our company culture around this idea, and we were able to learn and tremendously profit from this approach,” Hawkins stated.
It is not surprising that the company’s dedication to social causes has brought on unexpected media exposure and awareness through articles in the National Post, news video on the Globe and Mail website and listing on Scotiabank’s Small Business BIG Impact Challenge website. And what does the future hold for MELLOHAWK? As a company that actively participates in the logistics community, the management currently works with Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association (CIFFA) and plans to open a CIFFA training centre, offering CIFFA certification courses to industry peers. Year-over-year, the company has realized average annual growth of approximately 10 per cent and expects to grow in in the years to come, while continuing its community involvement and promotion of Canadian diversity.