DHL recently opened a $20 million logistics center in Riyadh, as well as completing other significant facilities investments in Saudi Arabia since last year. How will these investments impact your capacity and operations in the Kingdom?
The newly opened Riyadh customs clearance facility is part of our $60 million infrastructure investment plan in the Kingdom. We will build three state-of-the-art, market-leading clearance facilities across the Kingdom in airports, with one in Riyadh, one in Dammam, and one in Jeddah. All three facilities will increase our shipment and clearance capability tenfold. These facilities will all have in-house customs clearance and other government departments. These services will provide us with the fastest and most compliant clearance in the industry. It will provide our people the best working environment and our customers and partners the best service available, thus supporting their growth. We have already completed this, and we are operational in Riyadh and Dammam airports and Jeddah airport facility will be on line in 2016. These facilities will support our customers and partners business growth in Saudi Arabia with market leading logistically solutions.
What future investments does DHL Express have in the pipeline for Saudi Arabia?
As a market leader, we are always looking to invest where we can improve services, working conditions, and be closer to our customers. We aim to be as close to the customer as possible and make it easy to use DHL through our retail outlets where customers can both send and collect shipments at their ease. This will always be ongoing as we listen to the voice of both our customers and our employees. This will undoubtedly lead to more investment and DHL facilities across the Kingdom. In five years' time, I see DHL still being the market leader and logistics provider for KSA. This will be through our people being certified international specialists, our facilities being all state of the art, and by providing fastest to market transit time for all our customers both large and small
How would you characterize the importance of the Saudi Arabian market for DHL and DHL's strategies for the MENA region?
DHL will, and has always, invested heavily in the Middle East, as we have been present in this area since 1976. By being here first and always looking at leading the way in logistical solutions in many difficult markets, our partners and customers trust us with their business and we work with them to make them successful. DHL are customer centric, and every customer and shipment is our priority. With this, every country is important in every region around the world in the DHL network; however, some countries in the business world are more dynamic and more demanding, and as such have a greater importance to customers and the DHL network. KSA is one of those countries and is important in our Middle East and Global network as we deliver a DHL promise everyday from somewhere in the world with every shipment we deliver to our customers. KSA has many ongoing investments not only in logistic parks, cargo areas, airport developments, road and rail investment, and solutions, but also in doing business with the world and opening up Saudi Arabia to foreign investors meaning greater opportunities for all industries and especially the people in the Kingdom with great career opportunities for both locals and foreign workers. Therefore, KSA is key in the MENA region and globally.
What is your outlook on the Kingdom's logistics sector and its competitiveness as a logistics hub over some of its neighbors?
Saudi Arabia is moving in the right direction with DMM cargo village, King Abdullah Economic City and port, rail infrastructure, and airport development across the Kingdom. For many years, the main trade line into the GCC, and especially KSA, has been Jebel Ali port in the UAE and then either air, ocean, or road into the Kingdom. I strongly believe with the infrastructural investments and new mindset of Saudi Arabia that it will become much more self-sufficient and not so reliant on other GCC countries as a first point of entry, which has been the case for many years.