TSI Central Station Celebrates 15 Years

In September 2021, TSI celebrated our 15-Year Anniversary. Here’s what our CEO, Clifford Blackburn, had to say about the first 15 years in business. 


Q: What encouraged you to start TSI Central Station 15 years ago?

CB: There was a need for legitimizing the industry, transporters used to lie about when they collected cargo, the agent would lie about when something was cleared. There was a need to create something that would give the client real time information. We got a programmer to take what was in our minds and put it into a system, this was the birth of TSI.   


Q: When you started, what was TSI like? (How many employees, offices, service/product offering etc.)

CB: We started out with one employee, who is still with us, then we appointed a financial manager and grew from there.


Q: What was one of your first big achievements as a business?

CB: We started in September 2006, our first month revenue was forty thousand (R40 ‘000.00) and in the second month we did six million (R6’000’000.00) . That was a great achievement, it showed that the system worked.


Q: How has the business grown over the years?

CB: The business has grown from just doing transport to now offering the entire supply chain services. This has been driven by the clients wanting a single company to do everything. 


Q: What are a few of TSI’s highlights over the past 15 years?

CB: Having gone through some of the toughest times in the world, 2008 financial crisis, we not only survived by having a great year, because we were able to save our clients’ money and we were also able to onboard new clients. Having the two largest banks use our service shows that the model works. 


Q: How have you successfully navigated the pandemic? What has it taught you as a business?

CB: The business was set up to be run from anywhere in the world, working from home was the easiest as our system did not need us to be in an office (some of our staff stayed in the office throughout the first lockdown – we call them diehards, but they enjoyed the fact that they could go in). We did trial runs before the pandemic, using the example of the building blowing up and we had to all work from a remote location, so when it was time to go into lockdown, we were well-rehearsed. Our clients didn’t feel the difference in us being in or out of the office.

Q: What does the future hold for TSI Central Station? 

CB: I know that TSI will grow from strength to strength, if I look at how the industry is changing, they are all playing catch up to what we did 15 years ago, they are spending billions on systems. We developed ours locally and are proudly South African and have no doubt that we will continue to grow and innovate as we do. 

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