In vino veritas! Wine – a noble, precious and fragile material – represents an ongoing challenge for all those responsible for its handling: a challenge met with passion and enthusiasm by the team of logistics experts at SAFRAM.
“This is a niche market, and one which is at times very demanding and requires significant expertise,” explains Romain Sebille, the Group’s Branch Manager in Bordeaux. “We transport a lot of wine, but we specialise in bespoke services rather than mass distribution. Beyond transport itself, our strength lies in the administrative and financial support we offer to our customers.”
“We have several types of vehicles available, some of which allow us to reach difficult-to-access areas,” highlights Jérôme Decouvelaere, Branch Manager in Avignon. “But it’s rare that we deal directly with winegrowers. Most of our work consists of responding to requests from restaurants, wholesalers or direct customers. Our aim is to provide them with quality service, which obviously includes transport, but above all ensures administrative support, VAT management and the provision of the eAD (Electronic Administrative Document), which facilitates the monitoring and control of movements of excise goods under suspension of excise duty.”
SAFRAM group specialists also have recognised customs experience, which simplifies and accelerates procedures: a major asset when importing/exporting goods of all kinds, including wine.
Switzerland and the United Kingdom are the principal markets for the SAFRAM group in this specific area. The United Kingdom also represents significant potential for the company’s development, as it progressively improves the services offered to its customers – in particular, for everything relating to eADs.
The transportation of wine, and especially of grand crus, must meet specific standards – particularly given that, in certain cases, a pallet may represent a very high market value. “Of course, you need to check what you are transporting, down to the last bottle,” explains Romain Sebille. “Are these bottles insured by their owner, or do we need to take out specific insurance for their transport? Have all the necessary documents been provided? Where exactly should these bottles be delivered – understanding that this could be to a cellar, an attic, or even a yacht. Finally, it may be the case that the bottles must be transported in a temperature-controlled truck, that they need to be delivered two days before a tasting, or that they are intended for royalty. In this case, we offer a service akin to bespoke concierge services. Managing the last mile of our shipment’s journey is quite clearly one of our strengths.”
Romain Sebille is a man with many fascinating anecdotes. He fondly remembers a palette containing a single bottle of very high-value cognac, stored in a box with four padlocks; or a 15-litre bottle of Château Yquem – a Nabuchodonosor, for the connoisseurs.
“The key to a healthy customer relationship is trust,” concludes Romain Sebille. “This is something we have been developing since 2012, with great success. Our customers know they can count on us, from order to delivery, whatever the requirements.” He illustrates his point by describing the delivery of a specific bottle in the dressing room of an American superstar during a concert in Milan; a crate of bottles at the chalet of a famous French singer on the eve of a private party; or a delivery to a private yacht in Greece, owned by a Turkish shipowner …
Flexibility, a sense of service and respect for procedures and deadlines: these are the SAFRAM Group’s key words for success in the transportation of wine.
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