Azerbaijan 2016 | TRANSPORT | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Alikhan Ali-zade, Director of AZ Logistics, on expanding its service offerings, meeting global quality standards, and linking with the worldwide logistics network.

Alikhan Ali-zade
Alikhan Ali-zade was born in Baku in 1964. He obtained a degree in Common Law Economics from Donetsk State University (Ukraine). He lived in the UK for many years before beginning his career in the oil and gas industry when he returned to Ukraine to work for Donbas Oil as Office Manager. He ran a company in Baku in that signed its first contract with BP in 2007. During these early years working with BP, he was successful in tendering many contracts and established a solid business relationship with BP that continues to this day with AZ Logistics.

What are some unique services that your company provides to oil and gas partners?

We are involved with the transportation of hazardous and non-hazardous goods for the oil and gas industry, including all onshore and offshore drilling. We have one of the largest fleets of ADR vehicles in Azerbaijan. ADR certifications are required for transporting hazardous goods, because in the oil and gas industry these goods can be classified all the way up to Group 8. Therefore, this requires unique trucks that meet ADR requirements. We deal with the waste transportation of onshore and offshore, because there is a lot of waste generated through the pipelines and our vehicles are used to transport this material. Since we are working with clients like BP, we need to meet all of its requirements.

What kind of vehicle fleet is in operation at AZ Logistics?

We have many different types of vehicles. We have a large fleet of ADR-certified road tankers, hook trucks, skip trucks, and all-purpose trucks. We need all of the necessary equipment to deal with the high Western standards. We have a large fleet of vacuum machines, which are involved in tank cleaning operations. As the ships come from offshore projects, they need to be cleaned of their oil marks. We are involved in that cleaning process, and we have mechanical personnel on-site for vehicle recovery and repair services. We have over 110 vehicles in our fleet, which need servicing. Since we have a team that performs this service on our own vehicles and because we have pick-ups and vans with special equipment, we decided to offer this service to third parties as well.

Does receiving international certifications offer a competitive advantage for AZ Logistics over domestic competitors?

Yes, having the best equipment is an advantage. However, the team and the company's system are also important. We were working to the standards of BP and the system was there, but we were not certified. Last year we applied for ISO certification and this year we got it for quality control as well as an OHSAS certification. Our experience working with BP has allowed us to get these certifications, which also offers our company the opportunity to find work outside of the country. Our company is able to offer complete customer satisfaction to ensure customer loyalty while providing high-quality services. We have many years of experience in transporting hazardous and non-hazardous goods. AZ Logistics and Management Services LLC now is ISO certified. We were awarded certificates for ISO 9001 in 2008, ISO 14001 in 2004, and OHSAS 18001 in 2007. We were also awarded the Best Logistics Company of the Year 2015 within Azerbaijan, making us the number-one choice when it comes to logistical needs such as transportation, relocation, multi-modal operations, heavy equipment logistics, and much more.

What kind of international network do you have in place that helps you operate outside of Azerbaijan?

At the moment, we are trying to expand internationally through the transportation of cargo, but not dangerous goods. We have a couple of contracts with companies in Moscow, we have a contract in Istanbul, and we are working toward the European market. We have some contracts from companies in Azerbaijan that are distributing cargo to Italy and Germany. However, this is a new field for us, so we are trying to build up a network. At the moment, everything is going as planned. In 2015, we added refrigerated and wagon trailers to our fleet, which now allow us to transport any type of goods, from food to building and construction materials. It seems that 2016 is going to be a hard year, especially for oil and gas; the price of crude oil is going down and things have slowed down. As a company, we need to diversify and move into different sectors. We are moving into the food industry.