EIF offers a range of international sea and airfreight services and are brokers in 3PL logistics. They are an MPI Approved Transitional Facility (ATF) with Biosecurity approval. This means they offer devanning and delivery services to their customers who are not ATF approved or do not have sufficient space or equipment to unload containers.
‘We can take 20 containers in the front and 18 containers at the back. From an import perspective we turnover 100-140 containers a week. On the exports side, we do 10 containers a week’ says Ann-Maree Lund, Director of EIF International.
EIF International was set up in 2005 as Ann-Maree saw a gap in the market for high quality, end to end customer service in freight. Their point of difference from the hundreds of other companies working with freight, is having dedicated account managers who are solutions-focused.
‘Every client has a dedicated account manager responsible for all their shipments. They build a relationship with you, they track the orders and keep you informed of what’s happening with them. They do your imports and your exports, customs clearance delivery, and invoice up the job’.
When I worked for a multinational company, we were all in separate departments. There was the import department, customer services department, brokerage department, etc. When something went wrong, people start pointing the finger at each other. So that’s why we set our company up with no departments, so account managers were able to be effective problem solvers and build up a rapport with the client’.
EIF International is a family run business, that has created a family at work.
‘I wanted my people to feel like they were more just numbers. At the multinational I worked at, there was no fun and no celebration, for example, if you won an account. I wanted to create an environment where it was fun to go and work and that’s why we started EIF’.
EIF was an essential service during Covid lockdowns which posed its own challenges.
‘We worked all the way through for two years, constantly delivering bad news. We’ve had extremely upset clients as the shipping container costs went up significantly, in China they went from three to 13 thousand dollars.’
‘Even now, the recent cyclone meant some vessels decided to omit New Zealand, so containers were left in Australia. Other vessels delivered to Northport. This means that clients are left with the additional costs to get containers here.’
‘Constantly delivering bad news has an effect on you psychologically. We’ve been lucky and haven’t lost staff through Covid, however I know a lot of people have left the industry completely.’
Their strong team culture, which has been built from day one, has helped them through.
‘We’ve got a good team that have worked together for many years that have each other’s back. If somebody’s stressed, somebody else will come and say, ‘Hey, can I help you?’’
‘It’s interesting that as a team they’ve decided to be in the office and don’t want to work from home. The team said we want to work in the office because if we can see each other and work together, we can help each other. It wasn’t my directive at all, so that was rather interesting.’
Ann-Maree makes a point of knowing her people and it shows that she cares about them. She still has many of the staff from when she set up 18 years ago.
‘I make it a point to know what people are doing in their lives, as it affects work life as well. I can tell you their kids’ names, what their partner does, where they are in life.’
The heart of EIF International is its people, so their business plan has evolved to what areas and skills their people were passionate about developing.
‘I just want to see all these guys succeed. I want them to like what they’re doing and love watching their personal growth.’
‘One of my guys came to me and said, I want to go and focus on growing Tonga’’. So that’s where we went. We also have offices in Fiji and Australia.’
‘Starting 18 years ago, I didn’t think that we would have offices overseas. It’s been an interesting journey so far as a small family-owned business’ says Ann-Maree.