exclusive Feature Week March 9, 2020

‘We’re young & emerging’: Chris Woods on transporting the live biz

‘We’re young & emerging’: Chris Woods on transporting the live biz

Sydney-based Live Event Logistics launched in 2017 and quickly created a global presence.

Half the business for the entertainment freight specialists comes from outside Australia.

It operates in live arts, music, theatre, media, film, sports broadcasting and exhibition and performance spaces, working with acts, promoters, lighting and audio companies.

“I came up through the business and studied how it works,” says founder Chris Woods. “The importance of client relationship was the basic thing, so customer service is what it’s about.

“We pride ourselves on it. It’s all about honesty, hard work, reliability and consistency. We don’t use smoke and mirrors. We’re young and emerging, so we’re working everywhere and our reputation grows by word-of-mouth.”

Live Event Logistics offers tour trucking, air and road freight, and international shipping and cargo.

The idea is a one-stop seamless door-to-door or stage-to-stage service.

The team member for each project arranges for the supervision of the packing, collection and transport of equipment; books space on the airline; handles carnets, trade documents and brokerage for importers; and monitors the uplift, arrival, clearance and delivery.

The client is regularly updated throughout the whole process, with additional help including excess baggage management, 24/7 emergency assistance and musician specific baggage.

Woods has been investing heavily on expanding its operations.

Last year the company added to its fleet of trucks a 12-pallet concert touring rig which has been in steady use since, three 48-foot concert trailers and a truck to use for picks up and deliveries around Sydney.

This saves on the need to use external contractors and bring the service in-house.

“It gives us a greater presence in the concert touring business,” says Woods. “Expanding our trucking fleet literally turned us into a trucking business (as well) and we got new clients as a result.

“It’s the biggest investment we’ve made in the company since we started, and pretty significant for a small company. But it makes a lot of sense because it really increases our revenue.”

There are plans to open an office in Singapore as part of further expansion into the US, European and Asian markets.

Live Event Logistics’ fast rise and strong reputation can be directly attributed to Woods’ 20 years in the broader freight industry.

In 1997 he started out working in his father’s warehouse and freight company at the port, learning from the ground-up unpacking containers and driving trucks.

An uncle who worked for a film logistic film in Los Angeles hired him as a courier in Sydney.

Playing in a band got him involved in transporting live production. He rose the ranks to being general manager at one of the larger logistics companies.

By the time he started Live Event Logistics, he knew all about the challenges that crop up.

These include quarantine, airlines losing travel documents, cargo being offloaded and delays in arrival – and Woods had an understanding of not only how to deal with them but to prevent them.

The number of clients has grown tenfold since launch, but maintaining a grassroots approach is important to Woods.

He still works out from home and jumps into a truck’s driver’s seat if need be.

Partnering with other new-generation companies like travel agent Lyrical Road is also an important part of company strategy.

“We’re small partners in a big sea, we’re helping other businesses grow and helping ourselves as well.”

This article appears as part of TMN’s Travel Week, exploring key issues, trends and showcasing companies at the intersection of travel and the music industry. To spotlight your business and get involved in future Feature Week editions, get in touch here.

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