SPEED IS KEY

Oman 2014 | TRANSPORT | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Turgay Sarıkaya, Country Manager at DHL Express Oman, on the engines of growth within the regional logistics industry.

Turgay Sarıkaya
BIOGRAPHY
Turgay Sarıkaya is the Country Manager at DHL Express Sultanate of Oman. He brings with him almost 23 years of experience in the express logistics industry. Sarıkaya joined DHL Express Turkey in 1991, rising steadily through the ranks. He served in the Country Manager role in Jordan between 2008 and 2011. He is a graduate of Istanbul University and holds a Master’s in European Community and Turkish relations.

Can you tell me about the growth and development of DHL in Oman?

Oman is an interesting market. We are very close to Dubai, which presents both benefits and drawbacks. One negative aspect is that the retail sector and a number of other sectors in Oman cannot grow as quickly as they can in Dubai. Everyone is buying products from the UAE, and it is not difficult to go and come back. Two people could easily establish a trucking company and do business between Dubai and Oman. Competition against this traditional model in the local market is very difficult. However, 60% of the country's export income comes from oil and gas, and that is why energy is an indicator for the economy. The UAE, the US, Europe, China, and India are large trading hubs for DHL Express. The oil and gas industry's deadline is always yesterday, which fits well with the speed of our company. DHL Express is fast as we have our own aircraft and transportation system, solutions in Bahrain and Dubai, and state-of-the-art transportation and models. Our unmatched level of quality is what sets us apart in the market.

What other industries do you serve?

Automotive spare parts companies, construction-related companies, and the government are our largest customers. We are involved in a number of huge road, bridge, port, and infrastructure projects. However, about 65%-70% of our customer portfolio is related to oil and gas. What is also important for us is the new airport, because it will serve the country in a very positive way. Oman has a fantastic chance to open a commercial border with Saudi Arabia and, thus, grab business from the UAE. Currently, we see the transit business passing through Africa and the Middle East. After this new infrastructure is established, Oman will have the opportunity to take advantage of the new airport. The export-import business is an excellent way to attract huge shipments from the Far East and the other countries that can then be passed on to Saudi Arabia. DHL believes in this new possibility, and we are aiming for developments that are in line with this projection. Muscat Airport could play a very interesting role in terms of East African countries and trade, and Oman has strong historical ties in the region. DHL is looking to expand upon that. In March 2013, we brought the first DHL aircraft to the country. This is a historical time for the country because our competitors are still using 1970s-model trucks, and we brought a brand-new aircraft to Oman. This is testament to the fact that we are very much in line with Oman's up-and-coming logistics requirements.

Do you see Duqm as an area for expansion?

Duqm is very important for us. It may not be today, or even in 2015, but someday Duqm will play a very important role in Oman. Our sister company, DHL Supply Chain, has already started investing and very soon DHL Express will be opening its offices. Currently, the market is not for the retail market, more for shipyards and other technical industries. However, the commitment level will be there.

What is your outlook for the future of the logistics industry in Oman?

Logistics in Oman is a huge opportunity. It is a big county bordering Saudi Arabia, with access from Duqm Port, Sohar Port, and Salalah Port, and the soon-to-be built industrial city in Barka. However, we do have a weakness in terms of logistics-educated staff. For that, we are introducing graduates from universities unrelated to logistics areas and teaching, educating, and monitoring their progress. Oman is a safe, stable, and politically peaceful country—it is not dangerous here.

What is your strategy for the growth of DHL in Oman?

In 2013, we received the CEO of DHL, which sent the clear message that DHL wants to invest more in Oman. We are following the airport project closely and working together with its cargo facilities. This rapid growth is something that people won't necessarily see. If all parties are able to manage it properly, the airport could become a huge money machine and promote a good image for Oman. We see a green light in Oman, especially in terms of investment and logistics.