After starting his career at MSC Portugal, Hugo moved to MSC UK back in 2011. Passionate about listening to customers and supporting their needs, Hugo embodies the MSC family spirit that runs throughout the company.
1. How long have you been working for MSC and what do you do in your current role?
A bit more than 12 years! I started to work for MSC Portugal back in 2008 and joined MSC UK in mid-2011. Presently, I am working as the Senior Export Commercial Manager. As well as overseeing a great team of experienced Export Trade Managers, I am still involved in the day to day trade activity and remain 100% available to assist our customers, discuss opportunities, challenges, objectives and to find solutions in this ever-changing shipping industry.
2. Looking back over your MSC career to date, what would you pick out as your favourite moment?
I’ve made so many cherished friends at MSC and have so many good memories. If I had to pick just one, I will always remember the naming ceremony of MSC Isabella as an extraordinary moment for MSC. With the ship being named after such a bright young girl and as the first naming ceremony of an MSC vessel in the UK, it was a very moving day. The event was especially remarkable because it welcomed in a new era of container shipping – the MSC Isabella being one of our Gülsün class vessels, the largest container ships in the world at the time and one of the most environmentally-friendly.
3. What is MSC doing to support exporters in the current circumstances?
At MSC, we listen and we adjust to the market demands but more importantly, MSC is keeping the focus on people who are ready and available to listen, understand and cooperate with our customers.
We are making fantastic investments in our technology as well, giving our customers opportunities to self-serve online at any time of day, if that is what would be most useful for them. For example, our eBusiness portal myMSC continues to evolve and allows customers to request export bookings, submit VGM information and manage their shipping documentation online. Also, we’ve recently upgraded our Search Schedules tool on msc.com. Customers can use this to look up scheduling information online – they can select multiple ports, view full transshipment details and print voyage information.
Ultimately, we want to give our customers choices in how they do business with us. Across all departments – commercial, customer services, intermodal, finance... – everybody’s making an amazing effort to ensure they’re easily reachable, even if they’re working from home at the moment. Customers can still pick up the phone and call us like they always could – our people and our strong relationships are such an important aspect of MSC and we’ll never lose sight of the importance of maintaining that human contact, which is so key in this moment.
MSC is also striving to maintain, develop and improve the necessary consistency on our services and products on offer, to better support our customers’ needs. With great focus on the North West region whilst widening it to the whole of the UK’s West Coast ports, MSC offers an extensive range of service options to our customers.
With our key Turkey-Canada service, MSC is able to offer fast transit times to Montreal but also to various Turkish ports whilst creating competitive East Bound options (Middle East / Far East) with transhipments via Valencia. In addition, our service range also includes the Baltic Express Service, which sails from multiple UK ports (London Gateway, Liverpool, Greenock and Portbury) to further connect our customers’ cargo to Antwerp whilst also servicing Gdynia directly.
4. What do you think sets MSC apart from other shipping lines?
MSC is much more than a company: it is a family that extends beyond its own staff – it includes customers, suppliers and everyone else somehow linked to our business, to our company.
5. Any final words you’d like to share with our customers?
To be your carrier of choice we need to offer much more than just a service or product, we need to offer a close, collaborative partnership, working together on everyday challenges whilst discussing solutions towards success. This is something we strive to achieve with every customer; this is the spirit of MSC.