Stoyan Stoyanov, founder of Eurosped, on what the company achieved in 30 years – and what is next
June 2020 marked the 30th anniversary of Eurosped, a leading Bulgarian freight and logistics company that delivers by land, air and water to each corner of the world. This is no small feat for a Bulgarian enterprise. What started as a bold endeavour now has 7 logistic bases across Bulgaria, including at Sofia Airport, Ruse and Stara Zagora, by Trakiya Highway. They are certified for safe storage of packaged chemicals, seeds, fertilisers, cosmetics, and foods, and meet the requirements of the EU's Seveso III directive.
We talk to Stoyan Stoyanov, founder of Eurosped, on how he achieved this and what to expect in the future.
How did you decide to open a logistics business?
I created Eurosped on 13 June 1990, when I was 33 years old, in the small family flat in Sofia. Previously, I had worked for 9 years in Bulgaria's state freight company in Germany and Austria. I still use what I learnt at that period.
In 1991, I was already renting a warehouse in Sofia and was employing 10 people. I was the first private forwarder in Bulgaria. In the years that followed we faced many challenges but we used labour and perseverance to overcome the daily market risk, the recurring economic crises, and the administrative problems during construction of our logistic bases.
Which destinations did you develop first?
Our first partner was an Austrian company. Soon afterwards we started delivering to Germany, Italy, Spain, Benelux, Poland, the Czech Republic. As interest rates were very low at the time, we took loans to build two warehouses in Sofia. They soon became too small for our trucks. All of this was possible because our international partners saw how reliable Eurosped was. Some big international companies wanted to acquire us, but we resisted. This was the right thing to do. Today, the companies that wanted to buy us have insignificant presence in Bulgaria, or are not here at all. Being a part of a larger conglomerate sucks out air from you. Cooperation of small and mid-size businesses is better as it allows active and adaptable companies to work together and to create hubs where they can exchange deliveries in a reliable and cost-effective way. Cooperation allowed us to increase our volumes three-fold and to improve the quality of our services.
What changed when your son, Iavor, joined the family business 18 years ago?
After he graduated from a German university, he worked for one of my partners in Switzerland. I am very proud with him, and he was deservedly elected the Chairman of Board of the National Association of Bulgarian Freighters. He was a part of the next stage of Eurosped's growth, when we increased our freight services and hired prospective young people. In 2003, we transformed Eurosped into a public company. This allowed us to take a loan that helped us grow further and create a logistic terminal by Sofia Airport in 2006-2008.
How did you grow after that?
We increased our team and placed capable people at managerial positions. Together we created logistic bases at Plovdiv, Stara Zagora, Burgas, Slanchevo (Varna), Lyaskovets, and Ruse. At our warehouses, that are under custom supervision, we process specific goods such as chemicals, fertilisers, seeds, food, and fodder.
We also diversified. We established Eurocourier, a company for express and budget deliveries in Bulgaria and abroad, Eurohub, a firm for air freight, and Europort that is dedicated to sea and port freight and container transportation. Together with an Austrian partner we created a company for innovative logistic software solutions. Thanks to our conservative policies we survived the 2008-2009 financial and economic crisis and continued to grow in 2011-2013. The secret of our success was the good management of our liquidity and the correct prognosis on how the economy will change. Thanks to this we achieved organisational and financial stability of transportation and courier services, and expanded our logistic terminals.
How did you decide to enter the international market?
We follow the "we grow with our clients" principle. One of our big clients invited us to improve their logistics on the Balkans on the 4PL principle. Then, due to safety reasons, we had to open our own warehouse for chemicals and seeds in Serbia. This was how we established our first subsidiary. Soon we opened a freight line to the Russian Federation that remains operational even now. We also freight to Iran. Our latest endeavour in this respect is express courier delivery to Europe and the world via SkyNet; the service is an excellent solution for Bulgarian manufacturers and online retailers.
What future do you dream for Eurosped?
As proud Bulgarians and professionals with good reputation we will remain loyal to our clients and partners. Most of them are ambitious and proactive small and mid-size companies, just like Eurosped. I want to tell them: we can optimise your logistic processes and expenses. Use our know-how, logistic bases and freight opportunities, including the services to and from Russia, Iran, the Caucasus. We deliver by land, air and water from documents to 25-tonne containers to and from every corner of the world. To large organisations we offer flexibility and speed.
Our history has shown that each 5 years we grow bigger and do something new and exciting. A new expansion is scheduled for 2021. We will continue to invest in service improvement, including in combined transportation. Digitalisation and implementation of AI are our priorities. We will expand outside Bulgaria. But we will remain financially conservative.
How did you deal with the lockdown?
We monitored the situation closely, while staying confident that we will succeed. For us this is just another crisis that will make us stronger. Creativity, flexibility, good coordination and discipline are in the heart of our current strategy. We put special effort to keep our organisational integrity in order to find the perfect balance between all stakeholders. Our employees are dedicated to their work so that we can preserve our partner's trust. We always manage to find the best solution. This is what defines Eurosped.
Find out more on https://30godini.eurosped.bg