Location: Oude Meer (province of North Holland)
Activities: global distribution
Industry: Transport & Logistics
Country of origin: Japan
In October 2010, NNR Global Logistics opened a new operation in the Netherlands, consisting of a warehouse and offices, in order to reinforce its European presence. In the opinion of Chris Coombe, Managing Director of NNR Global Logistics Netherlands BV, the Netherlands is the only European country that can rightfully call itself ‘the gateway to Europe’ and a major hub to the rest of the world. However, there are other reasons for being pleased with having chosen the Netherlands. “From the very beginning, the support we received from the Dutch Embassy in London, the NFIA, as well as from organizations such as HIDC, SADC and the Customs department, has accelerated and simplified the entire location process a great deal.”
NNR Global Logistics is a subsidiary of the Japanese Nishitetsu Group (formerly the Nishi-Nippon Railroad Group). The Nishi-Nippon Railroad Group was established in 1908 and, over the course of the past century, grew to become a global conglomerate with a total of 18,000 employees and 92 businesses active in diverse sectors. These include rail transport, bus transport, real estate, the travel industry, construction and recreation, as well as transport and logistics, which, at the moment, is the most important sector for the Nishitetsu Group.
NNR Global Logistics was established in 1948 and offers customers across the globe a complete range of services and solutions in the areas of transport and logistics, including air freight, seaborne freight, customs clearance, logistics, cargo screening, consultancy and IT. NNR currently has 45 locations in Asia, 23 in the US and 15 in Europe, making it one of the top 25 global logistics service providers. The global head office is located in Fukuoka, Japan.
Gateway to Europe and hub to the rest of the world
In order to reinforce its European presence, NNR decided in 2010 to replace its agency, staffed by two employees and already located in the Netherlands, with a warehouse and offices where customers would have the full range of NNR’s services available to them.
Chris Coombe, Managing Director of NNR Global Logistics Netherlands BV, has led the entire process surrounding the establishment of the new Dutch operation from the beginning. “We had chosen the Netherlands very early on in the process. From the perspective of expansion, other European countries certainly have their advantages. However, there is simply no other European country that possesses an infrastructure comparable to that of the Netherlands, and as such, can truly function as a gateway to Europe.”
Establishing a new company in a new country is no small matter, as Chris discovered. “When I began working on this project, I actually had no idea where to start. Despite my years of experience at NNR and my many trips across the whole world, I did not possess any specific knowledge of Dutch legislation, regulations and procedures involved in establishing a company, and everything else involved in that process.”
Chris turned to the Dutch Embassy in London, which put him in touch with the Netherlands Foreign Investments Agency (NFIA). The NFIA provided Chris with all the information and statistical data he needed in order to bring this new market into focus. Moreover, the NFIA put Chris in touch with Holland International Distribution Council (HIDC). HIDC is an association with almost 400 members that provides international shippers with advice, practical assistance and targeted matchmaking during the set-up or restructuring phase of their European distribution activities.
Neutral and Objective
“The support we received from the NFIA and HIDC has accelerated and simplified the entire establishment process considerably. Something that I found very important was that I could always contact them with my questions, and if the NFIA or HIDC couldn’t help me themselves, they put me in touch with another organization that could. Moreover, the information was always neutral and objective. We were able to make informed decisions without being influenced one way or the other.”
Chris was pleasantly surprised by the service provided by the Customs department during the permit procurement process. “When establishing yourself in a new country, one of the many challenges is that not only are the rules there different to what you are used to, but also all the necessary documents and forms are often only available in the local language. The Dutch Customs assisted us enormously in this. For instance, on their own initiative, they translated all the titles and headers in the documents into English for us!”
Rotterdam or Amsterdam
Choosing the right location in the Netherlands was relatively simple. “In view of what it is that we do, we wanted to be located near an airport or a harbor. Because it is simpler to organize seaborne freight from a location near an airport than vice versa, a location in the Schiphol area was the obvious choice. We eventually settled on Fokker Logistics Park, run by the Schiphol Area Development Company (SADC), where we have access to excellent and secure facilities.”
There are currently 19 people active at the branch in Oude Meer. There are plans for expansion, both in the number of employees as well as in the number of locations in the Netherlands, but none are definitive as of yet. “Currently, the most important thing is that we focus on establishing a solid organization,” says Chris. “But in about 12 months’ time, we will definitely be starting to look at further expansion within the Netherlands.”