Dieter Haltmayer is still very active in the company, despite his advanced age, and can be found in the office almost every day. Freight has shaped his life and continues to do so. But over the past 44 years the world of logistics has changed and QCS with it. In this new section we will regularly be taking a look back at the company’s past with its founder!
I am something of an institution in the world of logistics. In the early days of airfreight, for example, a twin propeller machine like the DC3 could be loaded with 2900 kilos, today we ship 120 tons. But, of course, compared with today, the rates back then were extremely high. A flight to Australia with the Comet could take 900 kilos of freight, for which we received 40 DM per kilo, and today it would be just 2 or 3 euros.
Another remarkable difference is digitalization. Back in the fifties computers were unknown to us. We had air waybills, consisting of eleven copies, and every copy had to be individually assigned to the customer, the consignee, the accounts etc.
Just that alone was a lot of work. But one of the significant advantages compared with today was that we had one agent per country. Cooperations were much more binding and personal: it was not just about the rates. Today we see five different offers on the computer and decide based on the price, so that the pressure of competition for everyone becomes ever more intense, leading to more of a mass production situation.
And what has changed the most at Quick Cargo?
We started the company on the 1st of July 1974 with just three people: today we are around 200 colleagues in total. Previously we worked with fixed rates and received 5% commission. Furthermore, security regulations were hardly an issue back then; it was no problem for us to go as far as to the aircraft itself. Sometimes we loaded, for example, an express shipment for the press just ten minutes before takeoff!
This enabled a journalist’s film to arrive in time to be shown on that evening’s news. Today that would be unthinkable.
A few words on the time of the company’s foundation in 1974
Just like now, it was World Cup time in 1974 (except that Ger
many won that time), and the 1st of July, which was a Monday, was the scheduled start for QCS. However a “football accident” amongst friends, leading to ten weeks in hospital and ten months in plaster, meant that we did not get off to a flying start! Gudrun Domres, my colleague at the time, kept the company going that first year. The first months were tougher than expected. Many potential customers, including some big, former clients from my time at Air Canada, proved elusive in spite of earlier promises, “You can count on our freight!” An instructive experience.
I also had to readjust from being a well-paid Air Canada manager to now doing the hard graft of sales myself as an independent forwarder. It was a time with a lot of work. I had to once again pick up shipments myself and deliver them, also in the evening.
We had a customer in Weserbergland to whom we delivered 900 kilos of textiles from Hong Kong every day, and this took place late in the evening, after their daily business was finished: they called us “the midnight forwarder”.
But with a lot of effort, sales knowhow and energy, step by step things started to get better for us. By 1976 we were already up to four colleagues in four rooms. The breakthrough came with a large order of 450,000 suitcases, to be delivered to Nigeria in the same year.
This was a coup for QCS and for the leather goods factory in Offenbach that supplied them. Altogether the order required 15 charter flights.