INTERVIEW SIKO Trans: Pioneering trust and digital transformation in the Balkans logistics sector

- Author: Elena Constantinescu



SIKO Trans has a rich history, beginning over two decades ago as a transport company before transitioning into a 100% freight forwarding enterprise. With a commitment to driving growth, digital transformation, and fostering trust within the transport community, SIKO Trans aims to serve as a catalyst for the industry in Bulgaria and beyond. As they expand into Romania, to tap into the large carrier pool that the country has to offer, SIKO’s private exchange partnership with plays a crucial role in this journey. We spoke with Svetlozar Petrov, Managing Director, and Mariyan Tsekov, Operations Director, about SIKO Trans’s vision and future plans. Dive into the full interview below.

Q: How would you describe SIKO in a few words? Share a little bit about your company.

Svetlozar Petrov: We started as a transport company over 20 years ago. We gradually evolved, and we entered the field of freight forwarding some years later. At some point around 2012, we switched completely to forwarding.

What we bring to the table for our clients and partners is better service, better communication, more responsibility. This is what we offer. As a forwarding company, we have increased possibilities to offer transportation that covers multiple needs and routes, compared to when we first started out and were merely operating our own fleet of trucks. We work strictly according to ISO 9001 guidelines. Acquiring the certification was an eye-opening process, because it made us aware of all potential risks in our activity. So our control of the transportation process is better. We are safer and so are our clients.

Another thing that is in SIKO’s DNA is that we are always willing to make the entire business sector a better place, with better relationships, even with our competitors, with all contractors and partners, as well as internally.

SIKO ensures a good place to work with great relationships between colleagues. Our culture is important to us, and so is cultivating a sense of community, where we can share and grow together, including through CSR initiatives.

Q: How did you start your career in logistics?

Svetlozar Petrov: I started the company with my partner Kolyo Doynov. He was very keen on trucks and I personally have a background in a technical university, studying transportation. I had also gathered some experience in a big international forwarding company. And this is where the idea came from, it was inspiring to see how the big business works. So we started the company, the two of us, and as we grew, we added more people.

Q: What are some of the key events in recent years that you feel have had the greatest impact for the sector in general and for your company?

Svetlozar Petrov: The COVID restrictions, of course. The lack of transport opportunities and the slowing down economics made the perspective different. We adapted by looking for software solutions. We try to optimize processes so we can make work easier and more predictable.

Q: What are the biggest needs that you would like to see technology cover in your business and sector?

Svetlozar Petrov: We use different solutions for different needs and we’re trying to digitalize as much as possible. Maybe the biggest breakthrough would be to see this digital transformation happen across the industry. As a market, Bulgaria still has some catching up to do in this area.

But we’re trying to be innovators and lead the rest of the pack as well. We do that by deploying technical solutions in different parts of the business. So this is the biggest thing for me: I would like to see more and more carriers and customers using software to make their operations more reliable and predictable. Make planning easier. Planning is one of the main issues. Everybody wants their goods loaded or unloaded on time, but this takes better processes and communication. So automation in this field will be key.

Q: What are some of the main advantages that you are seeking from digitalization apart from making sure that everything arrives on time?

Svetlozar Petrov: The best solution for me has to lead to better communication and visibility across the ecosystem. I’ll give you an example. If we can implement the GPS tracking system of the carrier into our system and show this information to our customer, that will make the process shorter and more reliable. If the customer can see where the truck is, then we skip some email communication or some messenger chats as well. So it would make everything faster and reliable.

Q: Looking at IT implementations, what are some of the biggest difficulties with a new project?

Svetlozar Petrov: The biggest one is mistrust from the carrier’s side – towards the clients and towards us. That mistrust leads to them not sharing precise information about the truck and the driver. They are sometimes stuck in the old ways of doing business, with a mentality of ‘trust me; it will happen’. Increased predictability would ensure better outcomes for everyone.

So maybe this is also cultural and has to do with mindset. A lot of the time, with Western carriers, the process is very easy. They share the GPS coordinates, they share information easily. It is delivered in tables and easy to read. We’re trying to gather information from the carriers and share it with our customers, so that it’s easy for them to read the information and to plan their processes.


Q: What are some of the key IT projects that you’ve implemented in the last few years? Tell us about the benefits and lessons from those projects.

Svetlozar Petrov: We’ve created our own application. All the carriers that work with us can create a profile, see the invoices they have pending with us, and the exact maturity of the payment. They can plan their finances accordingly. Through this application, carriers can also ask for faster payment. Everything is automated in the application.

So the carriers can easily plan their finances and if they want to get a faster payment, they can apply for that with just a couple of clicks. This is already working and it is our latest project.

Secondly, at a wider company level, we’re moving all our HR files to a digital format. Everything is going digital starting 1st of June. All the applications about vacation or sick leave, or other kinds of documents. Our colleagues can check or ask for this information digitally. This will also help our communication with the fiscal agency. So everything will be visible, and it will be easier to share information if they need something.

Q: How important is integration across systems for your business?

Svetlozar Petrov: Integration is very important and we expect it to accelerate in the future. Our clients and partners should all be ready for such integrations. The human touch is a very good thing for business, it can open doors. But as a second layer, there should be some integration of the business management systems.

For example, integration with the carrier tracking system will bring better quality of service to us and to the clients. It is very important.

Also, if we communicate on a safe, certified platform, like, it will be easier from a security point of view. Digital marketplaces like have strict rules about who can access the platform and how users can authenticate, so this will bring an added layer of security. For example: while it’s simple to exchange documents via email, the identity behind the email remains uncertain, posing a significant security threat. I believe that platforms like can enhance the security of the transportation industry, providing a more reliable and trustworthy environment for business operations.

Q: What are the main reasons why you opted for a private exchange project with

Svetlozar Petrov: The first and biggest reason is security, as I was just mentioning. We can use the platform to communicate with trusted carriers that we know. Also, has already proven itself as a transportation platform. We can easily check the profile of a company. We can check the reviews submitted by their customers. So this will increase security for us as well.

Q: What matters most in your collaboration with carriers?

Svetlozar Petrov: Easy communication – this is the most important thing. Fast and clear communication. How do they communicate if a problem occurs? Do they hide or are they open and trustful so we can solve it together? So communication is the number one factor in transportation.

Q: What are the most important automations for you and your company? What are the things that you are looking to automate?

Svetlozar Petrov: Automation is needed for the truck and the cargo location. Having an ETA (estimated time of arrival) is enough for communication on a daily basis. So that our customers know where their goods are and how they are moving and we don’t have to spend time calling, emailing or chatting about such straightforward things.

Q: What are your plans for the next few years and milestones that you want to achieve as a company?

Svetlozar Petrov: First, we want to accelerate our entry on the Romanian carrier market. Romania has a lot of transport companies and we believe that we can offer them good service, with great payment schedules. We can support them as well in surpassing these difficult economic times and growing with us.

So this is short-term. Long-term, digitalization is the first step to automation. We are receptive to innovations that are being discussed right now: automated trucks, air cargo and courier shipments like with drone deliveries in the big cities. So we’re open-minded and we look for any opportunity to grow through automation.

Q: What are your goals for your partnership with

Svetlozar Petrov: We will start using the private exchange and we would like to implement it for more forwarders inside the company. So for the next few months, the goal is to have more users on the platform for SIKO. And as I said, we really hope that we can reach the Romanian carriers through the platform.

Q: To wrap up our conversation, I wanted to ask you about your expectations for the industry. What are some of the key things that you’re expecting to happen in the next months and year. How do you see the market evolving? Are you optimistic or still a little cautious about business?

Mariyan Tsekov: I’m optimistic about the freight forwarding business. I see the market moving and getting better. The prices are going up, which gives us more opportunity to get new projects. We understand that probably the summer will still be difficult, but we believe that starting from September – October, the market will be on the same level as two years ago.