TBY talks to two executives in the logistics industry on the key competitive advantages of Dubai as a hub for shipping and receiving.
What is the core focus of your company’s activity in Dubai?
HUSSEIN WEHBE Dubai is considered one of the major operations for us. We don’t really focus on one certain product but aim to be a one-stop shop, so we focus on a variety of services and solutions for our clients. In addition to the services that we have, we always have the ability to tailor make new services and solutions that will cater to the requirements of our clients. We are now listening to our clients more and more and we never say no. The company takes the client’s requirements, studies them, and builds a new service based on that requirement. It can be a spark for a new product that we can introduce to the market, and that all falls under the flexibility that Aramex has at its core. This is what differentiates us from our competitors.
DAVID ROSS Since we started here in 1989, international express products have been our key focus area in Dubai and the UAE in general. Our work here is progressing with the introduction of our own direct service aircraft to this market. We now have services to Dubai direct from our Memphis hub, which we started in April 2011 using a brand new Boeing 777F. This aircraft handles everything coming in from North America. We also have a direct link from our hub in China, which connects our Asian business, and then we have flights into Europe via our hub in Paris, and from here into Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore in India. We are very well covered, with 33 flights a week out of Dubai using our own aircraft and another 48 smaller feeder flights that we operate from here to places like Kuwait, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia, as well as commercial lines into the African continent. Dubai is in an excellent location geographically and strategically.
From what sectors are you seeing increased demand?
HW Being a total transportations and logistics solutions company, we’ve seen a lot of demand for most of our services and products. We serve the banking sector, the trading sector, and the industrial sector, and each one requires different services. For example, the banking sector in the UAE focuses more on domestic distribution and credit card deliveries, while the industrial sector focuses more on airfreight import or perhaps land freight distribution around the region. There is demand for all of our services, plus we’ve also seen great demand for B2C services, such as e-commerce for example. E-commerce has been growing recently in massive numbers. We’ve seen a lot of requests from SMEs. They’ve been approaching us to offer them e-commerce solutions. Clients are becoming more demanding. We have a great product called “Shop and Ship.” It is an amazing product that targets online shoppers that really offers a total online shopping solution from the US, the UK, and recently from China.
DR Naturally, the oil and gas sector makes up a large percentage of our client base. The automotive industry is another major market—you only have to drive down Sheikh Zayed Road to see all of the car showrooms, which make up a large sector of the economy. In electronics, parts are brought in to be modified and then need to be reshipped. Those three sectors are very strong, and they cover pretty much the whole Middle East from here—this is the hub for products from GCC states, especially. Beyond the GCC, Dubai’s reach stretches to India and Africa. What is interesting is how successful Dubai has been at diversifying the economy. There are only a very few places like this in the world, such as Singapore.
Do you believe that there are any issues that need to be resolved to improve the efficiency of freight transport in Dubai?
HW We get full support from the government of Dubai and governmental institutions such as UAE Customs, which facilitates transactions well. Their support has always been our backbone, so the more support we get from them, the more we can grow. We have excellent relations with them, and they are a part of the reason for our success.
What is your outlook for 2012?
DR There are still great opportunities for investors entering the market here, for both SMEs and large businesses. We will continue to see growth in many areas, and our outlook is very positive. We are always improving our service. That is what keeps our customers competitive in their own markets.
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