RESPONSIBLE GLOBALIZATION

Dubai 2018 | TRANSPORT & LOGISTICS | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Geoff Walsh, Senior VP & Country Manager of DHL Express UAE, on environmentally conscious delivery services, use of drones in logistics, and the UAE's e-commerce customers.

Geoff Walsh
BIOGRAPHY
Geoff Walsh is the Senior VP and Country Manager for DHL Express UAE, the market leader in the international express industry. Walsh’s career with DHL spans more than 20 years. He joined the company in 1996 as Operations Manager for the East Midlands in the UK, and since then has moved into several senior roles such as Area Operations Manager, MENAT Road Network Manager, Oman Country Manager, and the Country Manager of DHL Saudi Arabia. During his time, he has overseen the expansion of air and road networks of the DHL footprint over the last 16 years through market leading performance and service enhancements.

How are customers' expectations shaping the further development of the local e-commerce market?

DHL's longstanding B2B customers are our main network, and our business is built on them. E-commerce is a massive phenomenon and has grown quickly. Logistics companies such as DHL play an important role in how quickly local businesses grow. We can open the world to local companies by giving them access to the 220 countries in our global network. Inbound shipping is popular these days, and the customers purchasing habits have gone mobile. Simultaneously, we recognized that our couriers and customer service employees are the face of the company and instrumental in how we are perceived, particularly in the B2B segment. The most important customer interaction with online shopping is often the final mile and delivery. Therefore, we invest heavily in our people and place great value on our employees. We want to ensure that customers have the best experience possible from start to finish. Around 12-15% of the global retail market is based on e-commerce, while in the Middle East it is only 2-3%, illustrating how much room there is for growth. The three largest markets are Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Kuwait, and we focus on expanding our presence in these three markets. From a logistics point of view, the biggest inbound lanes are the US, Asia, and Europe. Intra-Middle East is still a modest market, though it will continue to grow. International firms have acquired large local companies, and the local entrepreneurial spirit is highly dynamic. We have customers who started small but now ship outbound to Europe and the US.

How is the Internet of Things (IoT) contributing to the e-commerce and logistics industry?

IoT will create extraordinary connectivity, which will lead to greater efficiency across the industry. Currently, there are nearly 15 billion connections, and by 2030, this will grow to 50 billion. Such connectivity maximizes many different aspects of our business, from low-cost sensors to efficient modeling and delivery. Today, we have B2C shipping, allowing us to create more complex and efficient variations of classic logistics movements. Connectivity will change the way we do business, and this is the power of the IoT. DHL has an innovation center in Bonn, Germany, which is experimenting with driverless vehicles, drones, and other technologies. We have designed and built electric vehicles and are now providing these technologies to even our rivals. As a global company, we are truly on the cutting edge of innovation and connectivity solutions. Drone technologies are a little more complex; we have used drones to deliver medication, but we will not have drones buzzing around Dubai in the foreseeable future.

How will your investment in the Cargo Terminal at DXB bolster your position in MENA?

We are in a constant process of building a jigsaw of solutions, and Dubai is a key part of that puzzle. We can now process more than 5,000 shipments per hour through that one facility. We have great security, allowing us to safely manage everything that moves through the facility, and we work closely with police and customs to ensure smooth transactions and no delays. In addition to the DXB investments, we have invested considerable amounts across the Middle East. We want to ensure that the UAE has great connectivity to the rest of the world so our customers can have the best possible solutions. This maximizes our local, regional, and global networks.

What is the impetus behind DHL's shift to more environmentally conscious delivery services?

Environmentally conscious delivery services are part of our mission to improve the world. The larger the company, the larger its responsibility not only to its customers and employees, but to the global citizenry. We are committed to having zero emissions by 2050. DHL's Got Heart is focused on recognizing and supporting individuals in our organization who use their own free time to give back to the community.