First established in Rotherhithe, London, in 1974 by its founder Geoff Smith, Pentagon Freight Services (Pentagon) was created to serve the logistics requirements of the oil and gas industry. Immediately gaining a foothold within the sector, the company rapidly added additional branches in key locations including Aberdeen and Great Yarmouth, before international growth in subsequent years saw it set up a presence in global oil and gas hubs, including Houston in 1979, Singapore in 1981, Perth in 1983, and Dubai in 1995.
“Today, we are in all the major oil and gas markets, employing more than 1100 people across our operations in 68 locations, in 33 countries, globally,” explains Managing Director, Michael Stal. “Our service ethos remains unchanged, and that is to be a truly flexible local agent/service provider, whilst simultaneously being a global player. This unique combination allows us to offer the oilfield, energy and marine sectors freight forwarding services that are second to none!”
Over the years, Pentagon has built up an impressive resume of international clients, comprising of a veritable who’s who of the oilfield arena. “Pentagon has been building a reputation as the reference company for oil and gas freight forwarding for over four decades, and throughout this time we have avoided the temptation to diversify into other sectors, staying true to our core business,” Michael states. “We really understand the industry, so things like the costs involved in rig shutdowns, the sense of urgency in everything we do, the OIM’s demands versus the paperwork requirements, or the complexities of specific destinations are normal daily encounters for us. Meanwhile, many of our employees have been with the company for more than 20 years, meaning that we not only retain our knowledge and experience, but can pass this down the line to the next generation of staff.”
Another facet of the business that Michael is keen to highlight is that fact that it considers itself not to be a general freight forwarder, but rather a specialist in the oil and energy industries, thus allowing it to provide exceptional service and additional value that it believes sets Pentagon apart from its competitors. “We pride ourselves on taking a consultative approach when it comes to our customers,” he continues. “We also understand that a focus on one industry sector may limit opportunities for expansion unless we can provide more than just the moving of freight. With ongoing legislative changes such as HMRC Special Procedures, UKCS processes and the implication of Brexit – it is important that we provide guidance to our clients to allow them to remain compliant in everything they do. This is the primary focus of our Customs Consultancy within the UK.”
Additional value-added services that Pentagon offers include, Dangerous Goods services such as DG packing and accredited training courses, project management, including handling OOG cargoes and charters through a dedicated project team, and a full range of end-to- end OCTG solutions including pipe inspection and certification through its own subsidiary, Pentagon Oilfield Services. Further to this, it is also able to provide ships spare logistics and shore base services in various locations.
As the markets have continued to improve in recent years, Pentagon has made a number of improvements and investments to best capitalise on these conditions, such as expanding and restructuring its sales teams globally to exploit new opportunities and implementing a global CRM feature within the ERP system. “Pentagon offers its 3PL customers a specialist IT system called INSIGHT, which enables a transparent flow of information from purchase order through to shipment,” Michael says. “Through INSIGHT, Pentagon and the customer electronically manage and view all aspects of the freight movement, using various modules included within the system.
“In addition to the above, we are rolling out CargoWise One as our global ERP solution. CargoWise One is a single-platform software solution, designed to increase productivity and improve integration, automation and communication within our supply chain. One of the great aspects of it is that it streamlines processes and increases the efficiency and visibility of our operations. Both systems, individually and in combination, generate a huge amount of data and we see the provision of analytics and bespoke reporting to customers as a key area for further development.”
As we approach 2020, and the energy markets continue to steadily recover, Pentagon expects to leverage its strengths in compliance, QHSE and information management, alongside its specialist expertise in energy logistics, to build its market share. At the same time, the company anticipates that select investments in new geographical markets will create capacity for further growth.
“Pentagon has been established for more than 45 years, and in all that time one thing has been consistent, and that is the fact that our people are our most important asset,” Michael declares. “For this reason, it is important that we continue to attract and retain the best talent, which we do in part through our apprenticeship scheme – which encourages the development of a future workforce of multi-functional personnel – and also through ongoing investment in staff development.
“Taking such an approach means that we are best prepared to navigate the ever-accelerating changes in the energy logistics market. These include the evolution of the compliance landscape, the increased use of new technologies such as Blockchain, demand for data analytics, and an ongoing drive to generate efficiencies to remain competitive. Standardisation of our processes globally, as part of our ‘One Pentagon’ strategy, will also help ensure that we continue to be recognised as the best-in-class logistics service provider to the energy and resource industries.”
Pentagon Freight Services
A leader in its field for over 45 years
Boasts a breadth of service provisions covering key global locations
Complemented by an international team of freigh