Over the last month, I was fortunate to attend three different conferences where we met with international freight forwarders from all over the world. During these conferences, we have numerous opportunities to sit with our current partners and meet new ones. Each conference has multiple opportunities for connecting, from the one-on-one meetings that we do during the day to the cocktail parties, gala events, and private dinners in the evenings.
The travels over the last month started off in Singapore, where I attended the WCA First conference. This was a very special one for me because this was the first time my dad, Edward J. Zarach, and I attended the WCA First (and Worldwide) meetings together. WCA is the largest freight forwarding network in the world. This was the 25th anniversary of WCA, and Ed was an invited guest by WCA Chairman David Yokeum.
The WCA First had 250 attendees. These attendees make up most of the original members of WCA. There are many partners that we have known for years. During this conference, David recognized Ed as the very first member to ever give him a check which started David’s original network United Shipping. Ed was given Conference Badge Number 1, which is the first time it was ever given to a member and, according to David, the last. Getting to experience a conference with my dad was one of the best experiences I have ever had.
The next conference was the WCA Worldwide conference, also in Singapore. This conference was the largest to date for WCA. There were 3600 attendees to this conference, and if at any point you would like to see what a 3600-person cocktail party looks like, please reach out, and I will share a video. This conference is unique because it brings the multiple networks owned by WCA together. We spent four days doing one-on-one meetings with both new potential partners and our existing ones. This conference gives us an excellent opportunity to meet new potential partners and start building a relationship of trust with them.
I just returned from Las Vegas, attending our third conference in a month. This conference is very different from the first two. It is a lot smaller, with about 80 companies represented. We have been a GOAL (Global Ocean Agency Lines) member for many years and have built very strong relationships with this group. We met a few new partners as well during this conference, and we look forward to growing our relationships with them.
The goal of all of these meetings is to discuss current and future business with partners. We work together to continue to ensure our clients are receiving the best service and rates possible. It also allows us to discuss industry trends, clients’ needs, and new and exciting opportunities. One that was heavily discussed was the advancement of technology. Each day we continue to look at and evaluate our current technology by keeping tabs on what is coming out from others. Our goal is to always stay ahead of the curve, both for our clients, our partners, and ourselves internally.
This was the first time in three years that we hit the conference circuit hard the way we have this year, and our travels will see us attending several others this year as well. These networks allow us to be able to service all of your needs worldwide with partners we people we know and trust. All of the partners that we work with we know personally. We have met the owners, salespeople, and operations staff. This is extremely important to us because in case of an emergency, we can trust that these companies will act just like we do, with urgency and understanding of how important it is to move your goods.