In the mid 1950’s, the first trials were being done on using containers on ships to move cargo, as opposed to the traditional breakbulk (cargo nets and hand) method. Initial trials by the US Military, reflected cargo handling savings of over 100 times. This created a frenzy of excitement, with the first major container ship carrying 720 containers which sailed in 1968.
By 1980, 90% of all goods shipped were containerised, and vessels are now built to carry over 20 000 containers on one ship! As an example of the transport efficiencies created, a 40ft HC can carry 10 000 iPads, resulting in a transport cost from Shanghai to Rotterdam of 5 US cents per iPad.
With the rapid growth of the container industry, Alistair Forbes, founder of Almar Container Group, was employed by CTI Container Transport International in 1977, which at that time was the largest leasing company in the world. He was subsequently employed by Textainer which is currently the 2nd largest container group in the world owning approximately 3.2 million containers.
By 1988, Alistair was the Textainer Marketing Director of the Southern Hemisphere. He was then under pressure to relocate to San Francisco and that is when he decided to start Almar Container Group in South Africa.
The Almar name has deep family roots, in being the combination of Alistair and his wife Marilyn names. The business literally started with Alistair and a telephone book full of contacts, a passion for containers, and a strong interest in international business.
Almar found its niche in the international market in doing something no one else at the time was doing, international one way containers. The general trading of containers was starting to become well entrenched but Almar was one of the first to pioneer the one way movement of containers and take advantage of offering the valuable service of one way use, as well as capitalise on a ‘buy low, sell high’ market.
The international focus was always strong and resulted in opening offices in Dubai, India, Brazil, Kenya, Tanzania, Saudi Arabia, Angola, Uganda.
Along with regional growth, Almar expanded its product offering from just dry containers, to reefers, specialised containers, offshore certified containers, bitutainers, tanks and conversions.
As with most family businesses, it is the founder’s values and principles that have made Almar the success it is today and therefore it is Alistair’s values that need to be continuously used as a sounding board.
The values that Alistair has always comeback to as being fundamental to Almar’s success are:
Almar’s newly refined and defined value set are closely aligned with our founding principles.
More than ever, we are determined not to let our values be something that remains on a piece of paper but that our customers and suppliers experience our wholehearted commitment in every engagement. Our aim remains to partner with them to understand your business needs and to provide the right solution simply, reliably and fast.
With the reflection on our foundational values, we have also taken the step to refresh our corporate identity. Our business has been refined over the years to ensure that our product and service offerings are in line with our customers’ evolving needs. Along with this, we have seen our logo simplified and refreshed and we are proud to share our updated logo:
Our new icon can be seen in many different forms and this interesting and dynamic shape allows for various opportunities to visually associate aspects of our business as follows:
Cube: Representing the simple and humble container, the original enabler for global trade.
Arrows: Representing our brand promises Simple, Reliable, Fast.
Hexagon: Representing the strongest natural shape and the strength in our team.
Throughout our history, it has been the partnerships that we have enjoyed with our customers and suppliers that have ensured our longevity. Without these partnerships Almar would not be where it is today and for this we are truly grateful.