CONNECTING THE WORLD

Saudi Arabia 2018-19 | TRANSPORT & AVIATION | INTERVIEW

DHL has been present in Saudi Arabia for 40 years, and with a focus on improving customer service and implementing cutting-edge technologies, the company is set for another 40 years and beyond in the Kingdom.

Faysal ElHajjami
BIOGRAPHY
Faysal Elhajjami has a master's degree from UCLAN and remains a visiting lecturer covering areas of international business and logistics. After three years with Marks and Spencer's in store management, he moved to the HQ to lead a re-branding project. He joined DHL Saudi Arabia in 2001 as Country Commercial Director, followed by a series of other positions of increasing seniority across the firm. He is currently the Country Manager for DHL Saudi Arabia.

What have been the recent trends in the e-commerce market?

Traditionally, our express door-to-door business has been there to fulfil the B2B market; however, over the last five years, the introduction of the B2C segment to the Saudi market has resulted in a steady increase in the number of online shoppers. The B2C market has been growing over the last two years and at present it represents 20% of our volume with the growth rate hovering in double digits. DHL is well positioned to fulfill the demands of the Saud market, and the company will continue to adapt its systems according to the market needs. At present, key trade lanes for the B2C market include China, Hong Kong, the US, the UK, Germany, and Italy. The average weight per shipment for the B2C market is around 3kg. An interesting part about this market is that it has created sub industries. For example, there is a growing resellers market in Saudi. From a fulfillment perspective, this has created a number of last-mile companies that are prepared to offer their services to integrators such as DHL, Aramex, FedEx, and UPS. DHL has the biggest international network. We fly twice daily from mainland Asia to Bahrain and have increased the numbers of weekly rotations into Saudi to 22-26 flights. Our couriers are well equipped with smart phones to locate our customers for perfect on time delivery. Equally important, a large number of our couriers are equipped with smart technology to accept credit card payments. One phenomenal achievement by DHL this year is that 80% of its shipments are cleared in the air. It is an achievement that we know leads the express industry in general; so for us to clear over 80% shipments before they actually land in the Kingdom is an achievement that attracts more customers and helps us retain our customers.

As a global leader in the sector, how are you implementing smart logistics into the Saudi market?

DHL is always the first to invest in the future and new technology to stay ahead of the competition and exceed customer demands. DHL has rolled out mobile apps to provide on-demand delivery, and we are placing special tools to monitor movements through Google maps. We are also working on the development of scanner and optical sources, which increase our productivity.

How do you evaluate Saudi Arabia's vision to position itself as the regional logistics hub on the crossroads of three continents?

Vision 2030 is one of the most ambiguous visions in the world, and it is very well on track. DHL will continue to invest in Saudi people, driving the Saudization program as well as continue to invest in its infrastructure to support Saudi become a hub for the region. In terms of the bigger picture, the investments that Saudi Arabia is making in infrastructure will provide great connectivity amongst all the major towns and cities; however, more work needs to be done on port as they need to be better equipped to handle larger volumes.

What are your primary ambitions for the coming year?

Our primary ambitions for the coming years is to continue delivering our customers' needs and drive the Saudization program to ensure that we are training and developing the future of our business. Also, plans are in place to further invest in our fleet, infrastructure, and technology, and continue to grow our B2B. Saudi Arabia is a key market for our network; we have existed here for 40 years and we look forward to the next 40 years and beyond.