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June 2016 – Gone into it

An interview with Joachim Bisch, managing director of Züst & Bachmeier Project GmbH

Mr. Bisch, please give us a sketch of your career at Züst & Bachmeier.

I started classically with an apprenticeship at the then Züst & Bachmeier AG. That was 40 years ago. My subsequent business practice in the overseas department very soon led me around the globe. In the Middle East, with, inter alia, Syria or the Iraq it had started. Also East- and Central Africa as well as Australia, South East Asia and South America were regions, to which my task as a delegate and customer orders led me. In Bagdad, Melbourne and Burundi I was located for eight years for Züst & Bachmeier. In 1992, after a takeover by a Swedish conglomerate, I managing director of the Züst & Bachmeier affiliates as well as the new established Züst & Bachmeier Project GmbH, the shares of which I took over completely in the year 1999. Three years later Karl-Heinz Webersberger joined as a second shareholder. Yes, and some day, together we gave thought to the future of the company in order to find a sustainable solution for our employees as well as our customers

Universal Transport in February 2016 took over the Züst & Bachmeier Project GmbH completely. What has changed since then?

The goals of the takeover were clear for both sides. On the one hand sustainable synergies were to be developed and a know-how transfer was to happen. On the other hand, Züst & Bachmeier, which by now has been active in the market for over 105 years, is part of the Universal Transport Group, but will remain independent to a large extent.

We are in the midst of an ongoing process, yet already we can say: both parties profit from this step. Züst & Bachmeier has always been an address when dealing with intercontinental project logistics. We contribute our overseas and project know-how with accrued partnerships and networks. Universal Transport particularly contributes sound transport by road know-how plus own equipment. So together we are able to offer a wider spectrum of services.

Universal Transport is a medium-sized company and no anonymous, large concern. From the beginning the relationship was highly collegial, very frank and full of trust. Therefore, we feel very comfortable in our new family.

What kinds of projects does Züst & Bachmeier carry out and will in the future jointly with Universal Transport?

We develop projects of any kind worldwide. Our customers are mostly from the sectors of mechanical engineering and plant engineering. As an example, we transport production lines for the building material production. Here we are just preparing a project for Australia. Furthermore, we are strongly involved in projects concerning electricity generation and distribution. The large-scale projects in this branch of business in the last year were England and Kuwait. But as well manufacturers of petrochemical plants and customers in the steel sector, also the mining sector are among our customers. Our key markets are among others Russia and the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) states. Last year we have carried out another large-scale project with app. 85.000 freight tons. However, the impacts of the sanctions against Russia since that year are also clearly affecting us.

A special project was the transport of a gas drilling platform from Malaysia to Turkmenistan. For this we have chartered several heavy lift vessels, have loaded the partly extraordinarily heavy and voluminous pieces of cargo with a part weight of up to 500 tons in the Black Sea onto heavy cargo pontoons and Volga-Don vessels and subsequently transported them through the canal and over the Caspian Sea to their destination.

Together with Universal Transport we have already started to handle overseas orders jointly. I. e. orders that we carry out jointly. That way we are converging operationally step by step as well. Concluding we can say that: The Züst & Bachmeier Project GmbH now belongs to Universal Transport, and that what belongs together must grow together. This is the objective for all of us. For I have found from numerous talks that we are well on the way already.