ABDULRAHMAN ESSA AL-MANNAI

Qatar 2020 | TRANSPORT | INTERVIEW

For more than half a century, Milaha has been a major provider of feeder services within the GCC region, using its modern fleet to meet the many and varied needs of local importers and exporters.

Abdulrahman Essa Al-Mannai
BIOGRAPHY

Abdulrahman Essa Al-Mannai has been the president and CEO of Milaha Group (Qatar Navigation) since 2015. He sits is on the board of directors of Nakilat and QTerminals, a joint venture between Mawani and Milaha. Prior to joining Milaha, Al-Mannai held various leadership positions at Qatargas, the world's largest LNG company. At Qatargas, he oversaw the largest LNG supply chain, Europe's largest regasification terminal, and South Hook LNG Terminal. Throughout his career, Al-Mannai has developed extensive experience in multiple fields, including shipping, energy, and commercial activities. He has a degree in aeronautical engineering.

Milaha is one of the main transport companies in Qatar, offering seamless supply chain solutions for a broad range of sectors. What has been the company's contribution to the logistics sector?
For more than six decades, Milaha has been at the forefront of the shipping and logistics sector in Qatar, designing and delivering exceptional services in the provision of logistics, shipping, and ports. Milaha's experts have a lot of experience in offering a wide range of logistical services that include air and sea freight forwarding, clearing and cargo handling, as well as land transport and warehousing. In more recent years, several of our facilities have undergone complete refurbishment, which has been complemented by the introduction of cutting edge, technologically advanced, third-party logistics capabilities and services, uniquely designed to provide a solid foundation for Qatar's supply chain connectivity and ongoing rapid development. We are especially proud of Logistics City, which marks our entry into the field of cold chain solutions. Logistics City is a state-of-the art project with 400,000sqm of land; it is also home to Doha's first 3PL bonded warehouse.

How did Qatar's world-class ports help cope with the impact of the blockade?
For more than half a century, Milaha has been a major provider of feeder services within the GCC region, using its modern fleet to meet the many and varied needs of local importers and exporters. Since the blockade, Milaha has played a central role in ensuring Qatar's supply links and export capabilities by enhancing operations at Hamad Port through the inauguration of new shipping routes. For example, we launched a new feeder route that links Greece, Turkey, and Russia. This is a landmark accomplishment as it is the first service linking the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. Another highlight was the launch of the first-ever container feeder service between Qatar and Iraq. Other successful projects are the launch of direct cargo services with ports in Oman, Kuwait, Pakistan, and beyond. Another particularly exciting development was the expansion of our operations into the African continent through the deployment of Milaha Explorer, our lift boat that supports marine platforms off the West African coast. At present, Milaha's container services calls at 12 ports directly and serves in excess of 20 more via its liner services that operate throughout the Middle East, Indian sub-continent, Southeast Asia, and Europe with a modern fleet comprised of fully cellular container vessels, ranging from 515 TEUs to 4,606 TEUs in nominal capacity.

Milaha reported a 6% increase in net profit in H12019. How did the company capitalize on profitable growth opportunities and pursue sustainable cost optimization initiatives to achieve greater cost efficiency?
In the face of challenging circumstances, Milaha has succeeded in realizing a significant number of important achievements through its innovative initiatives and projects. We are pursuing more cost-optimization initiatives, such as the recent implementation of a new digital system designed to improve current working efficiency and enhance our ability to offer clients innovative new supply and shipping services. Another landmark event was the 2018 deployment and integration of robotic process automation solutions to enhance our back-office operations. The new system involves the use of software robots and AI in the performance of administrative tasks and functions.

What is the outlook for your company in the year ahead?
Milaha's success has been built on its forward-looking strategies, and this will not change. 2020 is already shaping up to be an exceptionally busy year, as we build on our strong position as the partner-of-choice in both Qatar's maritime and logistics sectors. We will continue to develop and expand Logistics City and the Milaha shipyard, which is due for completion in 2020. Moreover, we aim to capture niche segments of the maritime sector, such as high-end yachts and sophisticated coastguard and navy vessels. Looking at 2020, Milaha intends to continue its operational expansion beyond the region, seeking to enter other emerging, high-growth markets.