Mr. Jean-Pierre Apelian
President, CEO, Director and
Member of Strategic Planning
& Development Committee
Mercator Transport Group Corporation
2500 Daniel Johnson Boulevard, Suite 400
Laval, QC H7T 2P6 Canada
Interview conducted by: Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFOinterviews.com, To
be published - January 2011
What is the focus of Mercator Transport and how is it changing?
Mercator Transport focuses on providing our customers a reliable and
dependable service to cover their logistics and transport requirements to
meet their expectations. Far from changing our focus, we have actually been
keeping at it, ever so strongly. We have also been concentrating as much as
possible on complex demands in order to offer higher value added services.
CEOCFO: What is your geographic
footprint and where will you go next?
We already have offices in Canada, USA, France, Ghana, Tanzania, Zambia,
Uganda and Kenya. We are planning to open other offices in South America and
more in West Africa in order to complete our regional network.
CEOCFO: Would you explain the logistics
and distribution divisions?
The logistics division, although looking after complex demands, handles
straight journeys, with no alterations from the starting point to the final
destination. For example, we take machinery from point A, regardless of what
the piece of equipment is, or the location of point A, and deliver this same
machinery to point B, regardless of where point B is located. In contrast,
the distribution division handles alterations along the way. For instance,
we could take a full load of spares at point A, and deliver the same to one
of our warehouses located anywhere else, and from there, split the lot in
numerous parts and dispatch each to a different final destination point. Of
course, any variation of this example could apply. We could, for instance,
add items, complete the exercise the other way around, in an infinite number
CEOCFO: How does Mercator break down in
the various modes of transportation?
In fact we are not specialized in one particular mode of transport. We are
more into intermodal transport, which in fact combines several modes of
transport, to cover all the aspects of a movement. For instance, combining
road / air / road, or road / air / sea / road, etc… there is always several
modes attached to one movement and we cover them all in one stream of
CEOCFO: What is the competitive
landscape and what sets Mercator apart?
We evolve in a 7 K billion $ market, we are a 50 M$ corporation en route to
100 M$. Competition is definitely out there. However, we are still off the
radar of the multibillion corporations, and untouched by the smaller
corporations. We are somewhere in between handling the business larger
corporations do not want to, and smaller ones can’t handle. Our competitive
edge mainly stems from our special approach to customers. What we are
selling, is a service. Our capacity of grasping what customer needs are, is
thus our forte.
seeking to make money through customer satisfaction. The other strong angle
we explore to set Mercator apart is our presence and our will to grow
strongly in Africa; we are the only Canadian corporation with such a network
CEOCFO: Please give us a example of your
commitment to superior customer service?
It all starts with comprehending what their needs are, not to mention their
expectations and precise intentions. Once we know all this, there is no
reason to fail and therefore provide a standardized superior customer
service to all customers.
CEOCFO: What is your overall growth
strategy? Will you be doing more acquisitions?
For the 2011 calendar year, we will be focusing on organic growth, unless a
special business acquisition opportunity comes along. It is indeed important
for us to take in our rapid growth. In one year time, we indeed went from 25
employees to 100, from 2 offices to 14 and from 28 M$ to 50M$. The company
is growing fast, we have to make sure all our processes are properly and
adequately actualized, to make sure we are well prepared for the next
organic jump to reach 100 M$, and then only will our focus shift back to
CEOCFO: What accounts for your continued
revenue growth and how will that be sustained?
Having a clear vision sustained by a strong strategic plan with no
compromise on what has been decided although flexible on opportunities, as
well as the ability to adapt to new realities, the whole wrapped into a lot
of hard work, has resulted in such growth. We consider ourselves at the very
beginning of our growth process, hence we will not change our manner of
conducting business and we hope that this will result in sustaining our
growth rate. Should this rate drop, we will then adapt to the new reality
and change paradigm in order to be back into a strong growth mode.
CEOCFO: Do you do much investor
Yes because we need to share our exciting activity with others, to give them
the opportunity to know us and to participate with us in this adventure.
CEOCFO: In closing, would you address
potential investors; why look at Mercator Transport?
Mercator is definitely a penny stock. However, Mercator takes the edge of a
penny stock without the risk normally associated to penny stocks. This is
because unlike other penny stocks that are on the “hit or miss” mode, we are
an economical reality that bills hundreds of invoices everyday, to almost a
1000 customers across the globe, that collects 50 M$ receivables per annum,
pays 4 M$ salaries, and invests 500 K$ to 1M$ every year to grow the service
base, to offer always more to customers. To conclude, I do not think a well
established, mature corporation can offer such high yields.
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