REALIZING THE DREAM

Saudi Arabia 2020 | TRANSPORT & LOGISTICS | INTERVIEW

The flag-bearer of Saudi Arabia's fast-growing maritime commerce sector, Bahri has been playing a leading role in materializing the Kingdom's logistics and transportation ambitions.

Abdullah Aldubaikhi
BIOGRAPHY
Abdullah Aldubaikhi was appointed CEO of Bahri in 2018. Before joining Bahri, he was CEO of the Saudi Agricultural and Livestock Investment Company for six years. Over the course of three decades, he has held senior management roles at a number of firms. Aldubaikhi sits on the board of directors of Bahri Ship Management, Bahri USA, BahriBolloré Logistics, and BahriBunge Dry Bulk. He is the vice chairman of Alessa Industries Co. He is also a board member of several companies and organizations. He has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) and an executive MBA from the University of Oxford in the UK.

As the country's main ocean carrier, what role do you envision for Bahri?

Bahri has been playing a leading role in materializing the Kingdom's logistics and transportation ambitions through continuously enhancing its services, strengthening its market presence, and opening new trade routes for greater access to global destinations. We have aligned our long-term strategy with Vision 2030, which envisages transforming the country into a pre-eminent global maritime hub. Accordingly, we have been exploring new avenues to take this vision forward. Looking ahead, furthering the depth and breadth of its product offerings will continue to be a key area of focus for Bahri for the remainder of the year and beyond. Our immediate priority will be to enhance our logistics services portfolio to enable Bahri to weather cyclical challenges in the shipping business and capitalize on new opportunities in the market. We also have plans to enter the third-party logistics (3PL) and fourth-party logistics (4PL) business. Our aim is to provide door-to-door services and a complete solution for our customers. Effective and mutually benefitting partnerships have been a key driver of sustained success, and we place significant emphasis on finding the right partner before venturing into these new products and services. Our collaboration with Bolloré Logistics, one of the top 10 logistics companies in the world, to establish our JV, BahriBolloré Logistics, is a perfect example of such strategic partnerships. With this JV, Bahri has been able to provide end-to-end logistics and supply chain management solutions to local and international firms operating in the Kingdom via air, land, and sea transportation.

For Bahri, oil and chemicals are still the primary cargo. How do you envision developing your portfolio?

In addition to our strategy to increase the scope of our logistics services, we have laid out plans to further enhance our transportation solutions by strengthening our credentials in oil transportation. We are also keen on diversifying our business with a view to increasing shareholder value and boosting our contribution to the Kingdom's endeavors aimed at maximizing local content. With the objective of developing an indigenous shipbuilding industry in the country, Bahri has established International Marine Industries (IMI) in partnership with Saudi Aramco, Lamprell, and Hyundai Heavy Industries. The JV maritime yard project is currently underway in Ras Al-Khair and is tipped to be the largest full-service maritime facility in the Middle East and North Africa. Major production operations are expected to commence in 2019, with the facility reaching its full production capacity by 2022. Similarly, gas transportation is a key component of our product portfolio. We have a 30% share of Petredec Limited, a company specializing in the trade, transportation, storage, and distribution of LPG.

How are you advancing in integrating more technology and innovation into your operations?

Technology and innovation are at the heart of Bahri's DNA. We have adopted technology-enabled systems and processes in every aspect of our operations. Marine ERP software PAL and Oracle have been instrumental in driving efficiency across the company. We also place importance on data analysis, which is extremely important in the transportation industry. This is why we have integrated big data into our business processes. We are increasingly leveraging insights hidden in the massive amounts of data to enable smarter and faster decision-making in order to improve operational performance and efficiency. Data intelligence also comes handy in managing our large, state-of-the-art fleet, boosting the safety of our vessels and crew, and improving the quality of our offerings, in addition to increasing customer satisfaction. Similarly, one of the main operational costs associated with the transportation industry is fuel, and we do a great deal of data analysis when it comes to planning, optimization, scheduling, and routing. Due to the significance of the extra value that data brings to the maritime business, shipping companies are increasingly partnering with IT companies to develop data-driven solutions.