Our company has been in business for over 100 years and we survived all the great wars and crises and learned something from each
“Our activities in Serbia have allowed this to be implemented, however, our colleagues in Trieste are working full time whilst enacting the highest level of security to ensure that one of the largest ports in the region is fully operational, even in these most difficult times in Italy’s recent history” said Maja Sudjicki Trzin Managing Director of Samer & Co. Shipping
How did you organize your business activities and communication with your business partners and clients?
From the very first day of the state of emergency, Samer & Co. shipping company has organized for most of its employees to work from home. Our activities in Serbia have allowed this to be implemented, however, our colleagues in Trieste are working full time whilst enacting the highest level of security to ensure that one of the largest ports in the region is fully operational, even in these most difficult times in Italy’s recent history. Albeit from home, we are now working even harder and more diligently to provide the supply chain for our clients, and at this time, this is the biggest challenge for the country, in addition to health care of course.
How important is it for companies to stand in solidarity and be of help in these extraordinary circumstances?
Solidarity is very important in times like these moments, but it also has its limits and possibilities. When the first restrictions on the movement of people began, the movement of goods stopped, which slowed down all economic activity. Order cancellations caused by the inability to transport goods reached incredible and unprecedented proportions. The need for transportation has not stopped, and its realization is now difficult but not impossible. As a socially responsible company, we have offered certain capacities to the most affected industries, above all food, and safety equipment, and here we have demonstrated solidarity. We continuously keep track of the situation on the borders of Serbia, as well as the newly opened borders within the European Union, where long lines are formed due to truck driver controls, so we advise clients and look for solutions to meet some of their needs. Air transport of goods has not been completely halted and right now, this is where the biggest challenge is in securing space on cargo aircraft for the most critical goods. Our company has been in business for over 100 years and we survived all the great wars and crises and learned something from each. What has not changed, and never will, is our care for the employees who are the most important resource in our industry. Crises come and go, while people who know their job stay.
How do you spend your private time during the pandemic?
I spend a lot of time communicating with employees to monitor the market situation, which in these circumstances sometimes goes late into the evening. Private time is somewhat of an unusual category right now, and I can’t compare it to any free time from previous times. In moments of lull, I hang out with my son, he does homework, and I work on preparing my PhD thesis. I read jokes and watch funny clips on the internet like everyone else. This time has given me a lot of freight, but there has never so much fun and so much black humor around as there is now. This, I believe, is a valve for all of us to help us through these difficult times.
What are the first steps you will take after the state of emergency is lifted?
I analyze damage estimates for the economy on a day-to-day basis during the state of emergency. When it ends, I will monitor the pace that the recovery is going at, and will try to make a personal contribution. I will thank all the associates who have been with us during these difficult days and weeks. There are many little things I miss now that I previously did not appreciate enough. I will certainly not carry my work home and will also look at avoiding staying in the house. The weather is getting better, so I look forward to the freedom of going to the hairdresser, beautician, and the restaurants. I miss my Belgrade office colleagues and their daily routines and humour. On Saturdays I will go to the green market and on Sundays, as before, to Sremski Karlovci. I am in favor of the theory that economic recovery will come faster compared to earlier economic crises, although it the cost will be a lot higher. This crisis will bring some new business models and opportunities and it has already given me some ideas. This is exactly what I would advise others – however difficult and uncertain the times may be, opportunities will always be there, we just need to recognize them.