What are some of the highlights of your operations over the last year?
We were previously operating three DHL Boeing 757 Cargo Freighters to Lebanon. I am very happy to be able to say that now we are operating DHL Freighters five times per week. We also have the capability, which we have used on a number of occasions, to upgrade the aircraft to one of the three Boeing 767s based in Bahrain depending on demand. The flight operations have provided us with a direct connection into our largest Middle East hub on a schedule that ensures we can offer the latest shipment collection times while maintaining the best possible transit times, which ultimately benefits our customers. For example, we can collect a shipment in Beirut as late as 5pm and deliver it at 9am the next day to Jeddah, and do it continuously day in and day out because the operational platform was built for this purpose. In addition, we have witnessed major developments and investments in DHL's infrastructure and service in Saudi Arabia, including over EUR30 million in the three major airport facilities of Dammam, Riyadh, and Jeddah. The investment in network flights to Lebanon and the facilities in Saudi Arabia are just two examples of how the company continues to improve its Middle East infrastructure and positioning in our continuous focus to improve service and the overall customer experience, which is why we continue to be market leader for the MENA region. Of course, infrastructure alone is not enough. Our people are the most qualified and highly trained international specialists in the industry, and we continue to ensure that we can always support this claim with great confidence through heavy investment in training.
How would you evaluate the results of the joint works between DHL, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and General Security?
About two years ago, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in conjunction with General Security informed us of a requirement to provide Lebanese expatriates with an option that would allow them to apply for and receive their new passports more quickly. Together, we explored a number of options and in October of 2016 launched DHL FastTrack. Applicants now simply log on to the website dhlfasttrack.express, print out and pay their shipping bills, and simply take the receipts with them to their local Lebanese embassy where they submit their passport application. The project's success is a testament to the dedication and commitment of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and General Security teams.
How is the Go-Green program evolving in Lebanon and what other initiatives is DHL taking in this regard?
The Go-Green program is one of DHL's global sustainability initiatives and provides customers around the world with the ability to transport their shipments on a carbon-neutral basis by simply selecting the option when processing their shipments. For a number of years, DHL Express Lebanon has supported Go Green by committing resources to local efforts to expand our forests. This year, the DHL Lebanon team participated in a USAID-sponsored program to plant trees in the Bekaa Valley. These are great opportunities to give back to the community, do our part for the environment, and spend time together as a team outdoors.
What will be the main priorities and goals for DHL for the year ahead?
Our strategy for the past few years has changed very little. Our plan is and has been for quite some time to attract, train, and retain the right people as well as focus on service quality and make sure our customers' experience with us is the best it can be. To accomplish this, we continue to invest in our people, technology, and infrastructure in good times and in bad. Investing in our people and service is what we believe will ultimately create success. Customers have expressed their approval by continuing to do more business with us.