LOGISTICS

Abu Dhabi 2017 | TRANSPORT | B2B

Projects such as Khalifa Port, the Jebel Ali Free Zone, and the expansion of Abu Dhabi International Airport have supported the country's position as a regional hub for logistics and transport.

Bassel El Dabbagh
BASSEL EL DABBAGH
CEO
Agility Abu Dhabi
Qusai Kankazar
QUSAI KANKAZAR
CEO
Massar Solutions

What have been the milestones for the company this year?

Bassel El Dabbagh We had ambitious and aggressive growth targets from the start of the year and had to adjust them to the budget allocated for this year's activities. Fortunately, we were able to surpass those targets without compromising our budget and turned things around to come out with positive numbers in the midst of challenging times in the region. In terms of direct operations, we progressed with our plan to create a logistics hub in Abu Dhabi through our 21,000sqm warehousing facility, and are waiting for the permits in order to proceed to the construction phase. We look forward to awarding the contract before the end of 2016 and to break ground on this project in December. The warehouse will feature temperature and humidity control, compliance with international standards, and the capacity to deal with time-sensitive goods such as food, oil and gas materials, and other major industries in the UAE.

Qusai Kankazar Last year and the year before were tough years for the market. In the past, Massar has been primarily a leasing, fleet solution, car rental, and workshop provider, so we decided to diversify our operations by opening up to the logistics market. We made incursions into the sector over two years ago, and since then have seen over 15% growth. We put our success down to understanding what effect this new economic situation has on the larger players in the market. In response, we have been pioneering smart solutions, developing a reputation in the market so that leading companies from a range of sectors can trust outsourcing their logistics needs to Massar, and therefore enabling them to cut on costs and maximize revenue. Mostly we utilize our existing expertise in the transport sector to find money-saving solutions for our clients. We actively encourage the use of new technologies such as tracking and route optimizing programs to make effective use of manpower.

What are your expectations for the growth of your operations in the coming year?

BED Agility is among the top-10 global logistics players in the world. What differentiates us and makes us unique is that we are the only global logistics company that has its roots in the Middle East and, consequently, we are committed to the growth of the region and plan to continue investing here even through unfavorable times, such as the period we are in now. We are here for the long term and market conditions will not deter us from continuing to invest. We see 2017 as a challenging year, but a number of our investments will generate a return by late 2017 and 2018 onward. For example, our new warehousing facility is a 20-year plus investment and we are also planning to expand into the Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD) in 2017 because we believe it will be the main industrial area of the future. We hope to finalize the acquisition of a plot of land at KIZAD over the next few months and begin offering logistics services there, including overland transportation, containers, and other services. In the medium term, our investment plans include the creation of a warehouse at Kizad as well. In that respect, we have big plans for the future and look forward to seeing them materialized.

QK With the current market situation, we think it is better to maintain the business model that we have currently, maintain our client base, keep the quality and efficiency of service at its current level, seek out more clients that are looking for a similar offering, and be ready for the upturn when it comes. In general, we are optimistic about the trends in the logistics sector going forward, and there are many projects in the pipeline for Abu Dhabi that will spur growth right across the board, from Expo 2020 to Abu Dhabi's port expansion and the deals that KIZAD is signing. The sentiments and the projects are there, and we should see their products come to fruition in the next six to nine months.