Hans-Peter Betschart explains in the interview why his job at Fiege rejuvenates him.
Mr Betschart, how long have you been working for Fiege and in which department?
I started my training to become a freight forwarding assistant at Goth & Co. AG, the predecessor of what is now Fiege, in Basel in April 1965. After spending some time in positions in Geneva, London and New York, I’ve been working for the company at the Balerna business location in the canton of Ticino since 1989. I was employed in the Ocean Freight Department until my official retirement five years ago – and I still am, but we’ll certainly talk more about that later too. I look after the overseas business. The fact that I speak four languages has always been a huge advantage in my work.
You’ve been retired since 2013, but you’re still continuing to work for Fiege. Why?
It’s very simple from my point of view: work is what keeps me young. The customers and my colleagues too benefit from the huge wealth of experience that I’ve been able to gain in more than five decades. I really enjoy being able to continue supporting my colleagues. After all, Fiege is a very loyal employer and my relationship with managers is excellent. Looking for the best possible overseas connections and responding to customer wishes immediately make my work very exciting every day.
Despite being employed in this fantastic sector, do you sometimes think of calling it a day?
Of course. I’m already 70. But I’ve worked in the overseas business for my whole life and I still very much enjoy it. I no longer work full-time, as in the past. As a result, I have plenty of time for my hobbies too and I can also look after my beautiful garden.
Based on your excellent knowledge of the sector after so many decades, what has changed, in your opinion?
In addition to people’s use of computers and the fact that the internet is now indispensable, I should mainly mention the volumes being transported as a measurable benchmark. If we consider that the first container ships appeared in the 1960s and mega carriers are now being used – they’re 400 metres long and can carry more than 20,000 TEUs – a great deal has changed. Through the ongoing process of digitalisation, freight forwarders can keep their eye on goods at all times – for example, through permanent GPS monitoring. If anything happens unexpectedly, we can respond much faster for the individual traffic links with modern means of communication and rapidly offer alternatives for the transport operations.