Cameron Croucher

published: 07 Nov 2014 in Q&A

Over the last 30 years or so the international transportation of thoroughbreds has been on an ever-increasing spiral.

Along the way the internalization of the racing and breeding industries has been accompanied by a more positive world wide approach to quarantine regulations.

This, in turn, has led to an increase in the demands for international flights and a continual upgrading of the techniques involved in transporting such a valuable commodity.

With that a new player – Equine International Airfreight – has recently come onto the scene.

This led to Stallions, in the first of a two-part series,  questioning EIAF’s managing director Cameron Croucher about the company’s formation, its major investors, its business activities, its representatives and quarantine regulations.

 

Q.: How did the formation of EIAF originate

A.: Towards the end of 2013, I was looking for a business within the horse industry, to buy into. I was searching for a business that had not necessarily reached it’s full potential and had strong growth prospects that could be dovetailed into other businesses. I identified that Crispin Bennett International Horse Transport was a good fit and on research quickly realized that the business of transporting horses internationally was an activity that desperately needed some competition in the market place. It was at this time, through discussions with Gerry Harvey, that he also saw this as a good business opportunity. This was of particular interest to him as he is, probably, the largest owner and transporter of horses from Australia. It was also an add-on service provided for the many international buyers that attend the Magic Millions sales each year. So together, we completed the purchase of Crispin Bennet International Horse Transport and re-branded the business with the name of Equine International Airfreight.

 

Q.: Who are the main investors behind EIAF

A.: There are just the two shareholders – those being myself and Gerry Harvey.

 

Q.: The formation of the company has, presumably, been prompted by the increase in racehorse movements

A.: Not necessarily! However, the world is becoming a much smaller place and the process of moving horses around the globe is becoming far more appealing to owners chasing the major prize money, and as such an air service needs to be available at fair and reasonable prices. There is a significant demand for Australian-bred horses being exported and it is this market that has huge growth potential in regions such as China, South Africa and Europe. Whether that is with thoroughbreds or other breeds Australian horses are in strong demand. In addition, this importation of European equestrian and show jumpers is a market that is gaining momentum among Australian buyers. The formation of the company was the result of an acquisition of another business, where we see a significant capability to develop the business into a world class air transport service provider.

 

Q.: Where is most business expected to come from

A.: Obviously with the contacts Gerry and I have in the thoroughbred industry we would be well placed to service the needs of owners and trainers from different regions buying Australian thoroughbreds. I also have a close association with Inglis, which enables us to service the entire spectrum of thoroughbred participants. However, since starting EIAF we have had enormous enquiry from people in the equestrian world seeking transport options and quotes. It’s surprising just how many people are looking for competitive options to their transport needs. You never know what is around the corner because we have already moved circus horses, police horses, polo ponies and even children’s pets to wide and far regions.

 

Q.: In what cities does EIAF have representatives

A.: We have our main head office in Sydney with a smaller office in Melbourne. Those are our bases but the offices have been set up as virtual offices with “hot desks” in terms of technology so we can be anywhere in the world and still contactable and online with our systems 24 hours a day. We have also established a global network alliance with many of the major transport companies/receiving agencies around the world. The benefit of this is that we have prevented fixed overheads in other locations this making our pricing more attractive to the consumer.

 

Q.: Is there much competition in this area

A.: One of the attractions in acquiring this business was that often there was only one service provider offering flights to customers, thereby creating a monopoly. Our presence will ensure a balance in the costs of airfreighting horses and hopefully attract clients with the level of personalized service we provide.

 

Q.: Seemingly the continual easing of quarantine restrictions must be a plus

A.: Any improvement in making the process easier in transporting horses in-and-out of Australia whilst maintaining our biosecurity protection is of benefit. Quarantine is a complex, bureaucratic system with a myriad of protocols which can be different for every country. These are things that change regularly and which we work with everyday. For customers, they want the process as simple as possible. They want to know when their horse can be picked up and delivered to its final destination with everything in between being taken care of. It is our job to ensure that the protocols of the sending and receiving countries are compliant so the horses can be delivered safely and on time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Equine International Airfreight is a new player in the transportation of thoroughbreds and other types of horses.

The company, which is jointly owned by Cameron Croucher and Gerry Harvey, has its base in Sydney and has a world wide agency network.

Besides providing an Australian import-and-export service EIAF provides full logistics management for international horse movements, is able to call on professional, experienced flying grooms, can offer insurance and a foreign currency exchange.

In the second of a two-part piece Stallions questioned Cameron, the company’s managing director, about these services, its flight tracking system, flying grooms and other matters.

 

Q.: What primary services is the company providing

A.: Our primary focus is on the import and export of all breeds of horses to-and-from Australia accompanied by a full logistics management service for international horse movements. We offer a complete international horse travel agency service, by horse people who have the knowledge, care and understanding required to ensure a smooth, safe and trouble free journey. We are also an authorized representative of world class insurance brokers, which allows us the opportunity to place insurance through underwriters in London for all classes of insurance including transit cover. Specifically we could cover from the fall of the hammer through to disembarkation of the horse at its final international destination – subject to underwriters approval.

 

Q.: What other services does EIAF provide

A.: Additionally we offer an online foreign exchange service through our association with Ozforez. This enables an international client the ability to purchase a horse at an auction house (subject to approval by the auction house), place insurance cover and book the international transport and only make one fee free financial transaction at exchange rates that are more attractive than the major banks. With this transaction, we will provide an account management service whereby we settle the auction house purchase, the insurance bill and the air freight bill on receipt of funds reducing the need of the client to make multiple foreign exchange transactions. These services are all designed to make transacting with Australia as simple as possible.

 

Q.: Is the flight track system an innovation

A.: It is an innovation for this industry. Flight tracking radar systems have been around for a couple of years but like all these things they take time to modify and improve the content.  What we have tried to incorporate into our client communication procedures is real time viewing of where our client’s horses currently are, once in the air. For example: clients will be able to see that their horses are half-way across the Indian Ocean before they go to sleep at night and then in the morning see the plane is mid-way across Europe. The system will also provide estimated times of arrival and departure.

 

Q.: Is this important in ensuring customer satisfaction

A.: It’s only part of the puzzle. Customers want to know their precious horse is safe and in good hands. Communication is also very important. Customers paying good money for their horse to be relocated should expect that they are kept informed leading into and throughout the process. We have internally set guidelines on client communication standards from our experienced flying grooms to our flight coordinators in the office. We are confident that with EIAF client communication has been taken to a new level.

 

Q.: How is EIAF going about having professional flying grooms on hand

A.: We have a bank of experienced flying grooms throughout our network. Some of these grooms have been flying with Crispin Bennet for over 20 years, so our depth of experience in the air is very strong. There is never a shortage of experienced flying grooms putting up their hands to go on a flight. In addition, our flight coordinators have experience as flying grooms so they are fully aware of the procedures at the airports and in the air. This is obviously of benefit when the clients call the office and talk to their designated flight coordinator, rather than just an administrative person.

 

Q.: What airlines and what types of planes are being used

A.: We use lots of different airlines depending on the destination of the flight. In all cases we will try and find the most direct route possible to minimize the time a horse spends in an air stall. Different airlines use different styles of aircraft, and potentially different styles of air stalls. However, all air stalls have been certified and are often provided by the particular airline. All air horse movements are carried out on designated freight planes without commercial passengers on board.

 

Q.: Obviously your position in such a new company is quite challenging.

A.: Definitely. I have been on a really steep learning curve since the beginning of the year. Although I have many years of experience in the horse industry, there was and still is so much to learn about the airfreight business. I am very grateful for the guidance that Crispin Bennet has given me and delighted that he is continuing on with the business in a different capacity. You cannot underestimate the value of the 30 years of experience that Crispin has. I have always had a deep interest in aircraft, geography and horses so hopefully that passion and my past experience and business qualifications will combine well for the future development of EIAF.

Search