Surjit Singh: A Hero Without a Cape

Not every hero wears a cape. Some people are always there and work tirelessly to keep things running well, while always smiling. They embody grit, determination, and dedication and serve as an inspiration to many. However, we are frequently distracted by the bright lights of city life and fail to hear their stories. We feature famous persons but ignore the people who have supported the adventures of such living institutions. And it is for this reason that CargoInsights decided to give these unsung heroes a voice. It is an attempt to capture and illuminate the lives of such humble folk, their lessons, their joys, and their definitions of success and growth. This month’s issue features an interview with one such human hero, Surjit Singh. He was born in 1950 and is now the Director of Continental Carriers at the age of 73.

Association with Continental Carriers

I began my career with Continental Carriers on April 22, 1968, when the company was still in its infancy. Thus, making it almost 55 years of association with the company. I joined the late T. N. Vohra, the founder of Continental Carriers. This was my first company, and I was fortunate to be given the opportunity to work here immediately following my HSC examination. I started as a Junior Executive and have worked my way up through the ranks, serving as Manager, General Manager, VP, Senior VP, Asst. Director, and now Director of Continental Carriers, India, thanks to God’s grace and the management’s faith in me.

My initial experience with the company

This company has provided me with everything. Continental Carriers is to be credited for everything right from moulding me to assisting me in my education. I recall how late TN Vohra Ji used to be so accommodating to me. I used to open the office, work all day, attend evening college, and then return to close the office. He put his trust in me, and I did my best not to let him down.

First setup of Continental Carriers back in 1957

I still remember our first office was located at 37-H, Connaught Place, Delhi and employed approximately 10-12 individuals. From then, I can state with great pride that we have grown dramatically and now have over 300+ employees in the organisation. 

Company’s international growth

I recall that the company sent me to several different locations around the world in order to expand. Whether in the United Kingdom or Germany, Holland or France, Malaysia or the Middle East, I have visited over 20 nations, doing my best to promote, spread, and grow the company’s vision in all directions.

Few moments from my 55-year-long journey in the company

As previously stated, it was a trip in which I witnessed a seedling grow into a fully-grown tree. I’ve been with the company for a long time and have had nine different positions, each of which has taught me something new and intriguing. I recall fondly my trainee days, when I had the opportunity to learn from Lufthansa’s industry stakeholders at their office in Frankfurt, Germany. From basic cargo and dangerous products handling through claim settlement and administration, I learnt it all under the tutelage of the industry’s greatest stakeholders. I built offices from scratch in Hyderabad, Pune, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Tripur, and Moradabad, ensuring that operations were seamless..

The adventure has been thrilling. Continental Carrier is thus not an organisation but a home away from home for me. The employees here are like family to me, and I see myself in each of them. That is also why I strive to bring out the best in everyone.

My experience working with four to five generations of people in the company

“A new day, a new challenge, a new path” has always been something I believed in. Just as the challenges of 1957 are not the same as those of today, much has changed in terms of the methods people use, the way they operate, and the ideas they bring to the table. Each generation is like a new chapter in a book that is both fascinating and enlightening. We must adapt to the needs of the hour, and I have always done my best to do so.I am pleased that I was able to observe it all, be a part of the revolutionary changes that occurred, and learn and grow throughout the entire process, from an era without calculators or typing machines to an era with laptops and ML-AI.

“A new day, a new challenge, a new path” has always been something I believed in.

My profile in the organisation

To be honest, as much as I would like to investigate everything, I honestly believe that it is critical to give the baton to future generations in order for them to grow and prosper. As a result, in my current work, I act more like a mentor, attempting to impart the knowledge I’ve gathered over the years with others younger than me. Whether it’s strategic decision-making or teamwork, I try to articulate everything and provide as much as I can so that the company’s foundation, created by the late T. N. Vohra ji, continues strong.We have been the No. 1 IATA Agent (The International Air Transport Association) for a couple of years in a row due to the combined efforts and vision of the late T. N. Vohra and Vipin Vohra ji.. 

My Family members

I am a member of a joint family whose members, albeit estranged, have the same spirit. After around 10 years in Continental Carriers, I finally got married in 1977 and was subsequently blessed with a son and daughter, both of whom are well settled and doing good in life. 

We sincerely thank Surjit Singh for giving us his valuable time and sharing with us the insights from his 55-year-long journey. 

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