HEAD ABOVE THE REST

Sharjah 2020 | ENERGY & GREEN ECONOMY | INTERVIEW

Hazel Middle East strives to be a one-stop shop for its customers, importing, storing, blending, and distributing chemicals all over the world.

BIOGRAPHY
Sahil Gandhi is the COO of Unique Group. He is an energetic and goal-driven strategist with over six years of experience in delivering revenue gains, executing successful marketing strategies, and managing a diverse business portfolio. He has launched key initiatives to drive a focused business expansion plan and initiate geographical growth by venturing into new regions and increasing the range of offerings around the world.

What services do you provide?

Hazel Middle East is the trading arm of Groupe Veritas and caters to the markets in the Middle East, North Africa, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. We are the trading wing, bringing in chemicals from all over the world, storing them here, and distributing them all over. We differentiate ourselves from other traders by virtue of having assets on the ground. We offer back-to-back trading, and we have a full-fledged warehouse. We started this business in the UAE in 2007. We are in the petrochemicals sector, and our chemicals go into paints, perfumes, construction materials, detergents, and more. The paint industry is our biggest customer. We also store and distribute the basic raw materials for many other applications. We deal with no less than 300 different types of chemicals. The terminal that we purchased in 2010 was too small, and we purchased the current plot we are on, a 30,000-sqm plot, and built 31 tanks. We can also be seen as a third-party storage facility, where others can store their materials. Our tanks were built to store chemicals and are sort of universal in nature. This flexibility allows us to switch products easily and makes us a force to be reckoned with. We started with a terminal of seven tanks, a warehouse, and then this terminal that is universal for petrochemicals and petroleum products. We also have the added advantage of having a process block for distillation. Here, we have an added advantage because we have four pipelines from the sea to our terminal. The vessels berth on our jetty and transfer chemicals directly to our tanks, and from there we distill or store them in our tanks and distribute them again. We also have a blending facility and a drumming facility capable of drumming both solvents and bitumen. This again makes us miles ahead of our competitors.

What is your assessment of the current energy industry sector in Sharjah?

Sharjah always used to have a shortage of power, but now the situation has improved. The economic crisis has been ongoing for three years, and it is difficult for businesses everywhere. The situation is improving as far as energy supply is concerned. There is a thrust on non-conventional energy as well. Hazel is doing a great deal in this field in India and plans to venture into the UAE in near future.

How is your sector adapting to AI and digitalization?

We have not been using AI, though digitalization is certainly a way of life. Everything we do is digitalized and stored on the cloud. Backups are available, and if anything is wrong here, we can make the change digitally. We also have an intercom with a direct digital line to our head office in India. Our control room is a massive facility, and from there we can run the facility and control a pump, temperature, and pressure of any tank. Our entire terminal is controlled by CCTV. This coverage is also available online. It is not about reducing labor but is a matter of convenience. Digitalization does generate downstream jobs.

What are your main priorities and goals?

We want to be seen as the single one-stop shop for all our customers. They can bring in anything, store them here, and export them out to any country. We are capable of distilling their products, and they can sell it in their markets. We also want to be seen as championing corporate social responsibility. We care for our environment and the health and safety of our employees. We have a robust risk assessment and environmental impact assessment system, and we are a responsible company. The Director of HFZA and other senior officials are supportive, and with their continuous support, we see ourselves growing stronger in the future and contributing to the country's economy.