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Fresca GmbH products mostly originate from China

“We currently send 9 containers of ginger per week through all of Europe”

He was one of the pioneers in the trade with the Far East. Nearly 20 years later, Cypriot John Simeonides is still busy importing from China and overseas. Among his top products are grapes, strawberries, citrus fruits, but also exotic fruits like Nashi pears. “We currently transport 9 ginger containers per week through all of Europe.”

According to the experienced trader, the trend for healthy products is contributing to the fact that German ginger sales have been rising at a rapid pace for the past two years. The goods are largely originating from China and are used in meals, tea and other drinks. Table grapes are also part of the daily business of the international import company. “On average, we ship 7 or 8 containers weekly from Egypt. But our clientele is international: that means we also deliver carrots from China to Saudi Arabia.”

The team of Fresca GmbH with owner John Simeonides on the left

The company also imports many products from South American countries. The products arrive in various European ports, such as Hamburg and Rotterdam. “There are currently so many importing countries to choose from, which makes it hard to decide. Our latest challenge is to import bananas from Colombia. We also import ginger from Peru. I always call this the gentrification of trade.”

China is one of the company's major importing countries. A friend of Simeonides has introduced him there and in addition to this, his son has even lived in Hong Kong for two years to get to know the market. “It is definitively not easy to communicate with the Chinese and you never know if the goods will actually be delivered. But when they feel they can make some money, the Chinese immediately start learning English.”

He has recently started importing from his home country of Cyprus again, although previous experiences were anything but positive. “Before the crisis, we were very well represented there and we supplied many supermarkets. During the crisis, however, there were more and more difficulties with the bills and sometimes we would have to wait up to 180 days to get paid. This year, however, we have again founded a local business there which my son runs. Potatoes from Cyprus are very popular here in Germany, although they are a bit more expensive.”

John Simeonides:“Trust is the most important thing in trade”

Communication skills
After many years on German soil, Simeonides has become accustomed to German behavior. "The system is perfect as long as you accept the culture, the people and their idiosyncrasies. But this applies to every nationality. We as importers always have to embody trust, which in the end is the most important thing in trade." The personal touches within the trade are almost completely gone because of today’s use of technology. “In the past, the big winner was whoever got important information first. You needed a keen instinct and good communication skills to survive in the market.”

Simeonides is sure that without these pioneers, today there would be no world trade. “You can not judge the quality of goods online, for example. Nowadays everything is just virtual, but in reality it’s all about details. We would have to look at everything in the warehouse. My generation has definitely changed the trade.”

For more information:
Fresca GmbH
Pflugstr. 2
40470 Düsseldorf
+49 (0)211 68 78 51-0

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