WHERE SPEED THRILLS

Dubai 2018 | TRANSPORT & LOGISTICS | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Fahed Abourshaid, General Manager of Extreme Express, on the growth and development of the company and the prospects for cross-border e-commerce in the GCC.

Fahed Abourshaid

How has your portfolio of services evolved, how does consumer demand and trends affect your overall group strategy?

The global logistics industry is fast-paced with ever changing dynamics. We believe that a customer centric approach is key to being successful within this industry. We consider it crucial to remain flexible, while also having a portfolio of services that reflect the needs of the market. Therefore, our current operational approach combines a number of key elements, including a full spectrum of domestic cargo, parcel services, storage facilities and regional transportation. Additionally, our tracking system with real-time communication provides a more convenient logistics experience. In a competitive market we strive to provide customers with value for money while also leveraging promotions. Building and maintaining relationships with clients while offering tailored solutions will ensure that we continue to grow.

How and where do you expect automation to impact the logistics sector and what will be the major challenges of new technology?

The evolution of technology is pushing boundaries and changing how we do business. From a logistics perspective, being able to do business online allows for greater control over certain variables. The fact that it is now possible to receive a package in less than an hour demonstrates the positive role that technology has had in our industry. However, technology has increased competition to maintain a leading business position within the market we readily implement the latest technological processes into our operation. Improved technology has also increased productivity in the supply chain and minimized the costs and errors. These advances benefit important areas of the logistics industry, such as international transportation, fleet management, enhancing GPS accuracy and even social media.

How would you assess the regulatory environment that establishes customs and control of the transit of goods in the UAE and what else should the authorities do to enhance the role of the private sector?

The UAE has made compelling efforts to build the logistic industry, this is evident with investment that has taken place to build world class infrastructure. Additionally, there has been great effort to ensure transparency and equality within the industry, this has provided opportunities for logistics providers and ensured equilibrium in the market. Authorities are receptive to implementing innovative solutions and by continuing to build knowledge on best practices. We believe that the private sector stands to benefit immeasurably from newer and more simplified regulations.

What is the key for the UAE to maintain its competitiveness, given that the Asia Pacific is expected to remain the strongest region?

Dubai is well-established as the Middle East's prime destination for the regional headquarters of multinational corporations. Its global reputation as a wealth generator and investment stronghold continues to drive the city's growth. Continued diversification and building the knowledge-based and services driven economy will be key to maintaining this position. Additionally, maintaining a business environment that values innovation will ensure that the UAE remains a gateway for business in the region. A continued recognition and drive by the government to grow strategic industries, develop technology, pioneer new innovation and foster thought leadership will be vital. World class leaders in trade, logistics, financial services, hospitality and tourism, real estate, construction and manufacturing will add further value to the economy through expertise. This diversification, along with its strategic location, world class infrastructure and ease of business philosophy continue to make Dubai globally relevant. Moreover, Dubai has strategically added up to 20 free zones while also having the most developed financial services in the region. Significant advances have been made in the protection of Intellectual Property Rights with more robust copyright, trademark and patent laws.

The shipping industry has come under increased pressure to curb emissions, how will this impact the logistics industry?

We all have a responsibility to limit our negative impact on the environment, at Extreme Express we are fully supportive any regulation, action or initiative that minimizes this negative impact. New technology has allowed for increased efficiencies across our operation and this has helped drastically reduce our environmental footprint. Interestingly, increased pressure to curb emissions has increased competition within the logistics industry, as most companies are applying new methods and technologies. It is an additional challenge for logistics service providers to continuously improve, therefore we welcome further technological advances.

What are the prospects of cross-border e-commerce in the UAE and GCC region and what will be the implications of a stronger presence of giants like Amazon and Alibaba?

A significant percentage of UAE online shoppers buy from other countries, we foresee that there will be future demand for the cross-border e-commerce in UAE and therefore this will lead to opportunities for logistics providers. Having the highest download speed in the region coupled with favorable costs and the ease of shipping gives the UAE an additional advantage in e-commerce. E-commerce is a thriving industry, it is complemented by a wider digital transformation trend. Our daily activities are shaped by our online experiences, new platforms have changed the way we relate to business, this has increased competition and created challenges for traditional business. The giants of e-commerce will benefit from the increased online demand, at the same time, there will be challenges for newly established local platforms. We foresee an increase in competition due to these companies having extensive industry expertise and the latest technology.