By Victor Mikhailov
The title of this article is, naturally, more understandable for Russian speaking readers. In ancient times, the expression existed: ‘your tongue will take you to Kiev’. It meant that an investigative and communicative person could more easily find their way without getting lost. Many years ago, Kiev was known as the centre of the Eastern-Slavonic nationhood. Even little educated people, travelling by foot, were aware of its existence. The present capital of Ukraine was a lighthouse for anyone on a long trip.
Times have changed, with the distance between Minsk and Kiev easily covered by rail or car, in just a few hours. Travelling by air cuts this time even further yet this destination remains less popular among businessmen, in comparison to Moscow. Perhaps it’s no wonder: Belarus has mastered the Russian direction more efficiently — for a variety of reasons. Now, the turn of Kiev has come, with economic ties between our two neighbouring states gaining enhanced significance.
Interestingly, entrepreneurs have also ‘caught up’ with this trend. Santa Bremor company — specialising in fish and sea products — is among those which have noticed the attractiveness of this market. The launch of a modern centre of logistics in Kiev, costing $11m, testifies to its serious intentions. Its 3,000sq.m warehouse complex boasts all necessary infrastructure and equipment, enabling Santa Bremor to successfully supply its goods to Ukrainian shops.
“The construction of a logistics centre in Kiev, operating at 100 percent capacity, isn’t our ultimate goal,” notes Alexander Moshensky, the General Director of the joint German-Belarusian company, Santa Bremor. “It is an additional support for us, allowing our company to expand, gain access to new areas and guard against possible risks.”
Santa Bremor currently supplies just 10-15 percent of its output to Ukraine, so much work lies ahead; in comparison, the company supplies almost 40 percent of its products to Russia. To reduce costs and increase market access, Santa Bremor is also developing a network of its own warehouses, at home and abroad. According to Mr. Moshensky, this strategy should aid the company’s development. Already, the first stage of a logistics centre in Moscow is close to completion — worth over $13m; the whole complex is requiring around $30m of investment. Santa Bremor is convinced that the investment should pay for itself, since it supports future prospects.
Santa Bremor currently exports to over a dozen countries worldwide, including Germany, Canada and, even, New Zealand. Its distribution network is ever expanding and, according to the company’s managers, efficient logistics enable Santa Bremor to enhance the mobility of its distribution centres, while reducing its own costs. Moreover, despite rising prices for fish and sea products on the global market, the company has kept its prices affordable.
Santa Bremor is a bright example of business success. It was registered 12 years ago as a free economic zone Brest resident. At first sight, a lack of raw materials may have seemed an obstacle (Belarus has no sea access) but its smart business sense and management, alongside bold decision making have enabled the company to gain a strong foothold. It now produces over a hundred products, ever diversifying. New lines — to produce ice-cream and non-alcoholic beverages — are also developing, and even these non-profile assets are doing well. Certainly, Santa Bremor will conquer new territories in the near future, with Kiev being far from the final stop on the company’s entrepreneurial route. Logistics help ensure this path runs smoothly.