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With Dubai having been marked because the area’s gateway to the Arab, Asian, and African markets, its transportation and logistics business has been recognized to repeatedly spend money on the event of its infrastructure and expertise. Nonetheless, with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of corporations have confronted challenges on this sector, which embrace provide chain capability constraints, governmental restrictions, and extra. However what’s been attention-grabbing to see is how each company gamers and small companies on this area have discovered methods to deal with the present environment- whereas additionally tapping into the opportunities that offered themselves on this tumultuous interval.
Like each different participant within the logistics business, DHL Express MENA needed to navigate apparent challenges introduced on by the disruption of worldwide provide chains, constrained cargo capability, damaged hyperlinks and delays, in addition to making certain seamless and well timed supply since airports and closed borders grew to become the most important hurdles. However CEO Nour Suliman says that regardless of all of those modifications, the corporate was capable of adapt shortly to satisfy worldwide demand and resume enterprise operation within the midst of a pandemic. Suliman boasts that as a worldwide firm, epidemic and pandemic threat eventualities are an integral a part of an organization equivalent to DHL Categorical MENA, and as such, the corporate had strong contingency and enterprise continuity plans.
“We repurposed our fleet capacities and reengineered our operations to accommodate the shifting commerce and shoppers’ patterns, and the spike of e-commerce demand,” Suliman explains. “We relied closely on our personal fleet of greater than 250 freighter plane to make up for the loss in business stomach house by rising flight frequencies and rotations, whereas shifting some non-time-sensitive shipments to ocean or rail.” The state of affairs additionally identified areas the place the corporate wanted to deal with better- for instance, Suliman notes how the well timed provision of essential medical merchandise may very well be disrupted because of lockdowns and air journey bans, which is definitely not acceptable for the occasions we’re in right this moment. “What grew to become very clear was how disturbances to produce chains may cause main issues to the provision of essential merchandise, and the way there’s nonetheless work to be performed to enhance the medical-products provide chain, particularly now that vaccines are presently in improvement and can quickly hit the market,” Suliman notes. As such, the logistics entity doubled down on the vital position it wanted to play when it comes to making certain that time-sensitive shipments attain locations on time. “We’re constantly engaged on higher getting ready for emergency operations inside our business,” he provides.
Nabil Sultan, Emirates Divisional Senior Vice President of Emirates SkyCargo
Supply: Emirates SkyCargo
One other participant on this area that skilled the disruptive affect of the COVID-19 pandemic was world cargo airline Emirates SkyCargo. As a part of its regular operations, the corporate transports cargo on devoted freighter plane in addition to within the bellyhold of passenger flights, with the latter being an integral a part of the corporate’s capabilities. “Previous to COVID-19, round 70% of the overall freight we transported have been carried on passenger plane,” says Nabil Sultan, Emirates Divisional Senior Vice President of Emirates SkyCargo. “When COVID-19 compelled the entire suspension of passenger flight operations in late March, this whole capability all of the sudden was not obtainable to us, and we have been left solely with operations on our 11 Boeing 777 freighter plane.” At that time of time, there was nonetheless a worldwide demand for transportation of cargo, because it encompassed urgently required items equivalent to PPEs, medical gear equivalent to ventilators, prescribed drugs and meals objects. And so as to fulfill its social responsibility to move such pressing commodities, Sultan reveals that the corporate primarily reinvented its enterprise mannequin by each streamlining its operations in Dubai, whereas additionally making further air capability obtainable to prospects for transport of important items by means of Dubai to internationally.
Such agile conduct was seen in gamers working on the bottom as nicely. Ramez Hamdan, Managing Director – Industrial Tools (FAMCO, HINO, Toyota Materials Dealing with), Al-Futtaim Automotive, which is the unique distributor of HINO vehicles within the UAE, notes how the corporate’s swift efforts when it comes to making certain customer support continuity and supply of the identical requirements of aftersales allowed it to navigate the disaster successfully. The corporate needed to redeploy associates, “placing extra individuals on our cellular service vans to make sure our prospects obtain our help on time,” notes Hamdan. Regardless of motion restrictions, the corporate was capable of ship elements to prospects twice a day, thereby making certain essential logistics capabilities have been carried out with none delay- this was particularly essential as the vast majority of its prospects fall into high-demand essential sectors equivalent to FMCG, logistics, e-commerce, and meals and water distribution industries. Actually, in accordance with Hamdan, through the lockdown interval, “we had the very best gross sales for HINO vehicles in a single month within the UAE.”
Entrepreneurs and startups working on this house have additionally keenly felt the influence of the COVID-19 disaster on their operations. “There have been many issues that have been exterior to our group, just like the functioning of our provider and vendor base, who have been scrambling to place in remote work policy and infrastructure for his or her enterprise continuity,” remembers Atif Rafiq, CEO and founding father of Qafila, a Dubai-based startup digitizing freight forwarding providers. However as for Qafila itself, being a digital-first entity gave it an edge over others on this house. “We didn’t have any lag, as we moved to an all-online operations and put in a work-from-home coverage,” he says. “Additionally, being bootstrapped helped us as, we didn’t have any further ‘fats’ to shed away with to outlive the disruption.”
Nour Suliman, CEO, DHL Categorical MENA
Supply: DHL Categorical MENA
At Qafila, Rafiq and his group held true to the mantra that money is king, and subsequently made money circulate their high precedence. Moreover making use of presidency stimulus initiatives, the startup additionally negotiated present contracts with distributors and suppliers for deferred plans or lower cost factors, restricted credit score publicity to new prospects, and elevated its deal with the restoration of funds. The startup additionally took the chance to focus extra strongly on worthwhile sectors amid the disaster, like meals manufacturing, hygiene, and relocation to assist maintain itself. The Qafila group additionally doubled down on building its digital capacities, which embrace new product and companion integrations, in addition to a redesign of its consumer interface and consumer expertise.
Tales like that of Qafila are attribute of how small companies on this business made positive they tailored themselves shortly to the setting they discovered themselves in right here in Dubai. Natalia Sycheva, Senior Supervisor, Particular Initiatives and Entrepreneurship, at Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, notes that following the COVID-19 outbreak and the following lockdowns, SMEs with a robust digital presence have been those that thrived within the Emirate, as opposed to people who have been reliant on brick-and-mortar. “SMEs in Dubai have been extraordinarily lucky, as the federal government acted swiftly and effectively in rolling out a number of stimulus packages and reduction measures, which have lowered the price of doing enterprise,” Sycheva provides. “Free zones like DAFZA and JAFZA additionally launched further incentives to assist logistics companies equivalent to the choice to waive fines and costs, delay lease funds, and facilitate the environment friendly motion of products.”
Sycheva additionally factors out that whereas different economies skilled a halt in commerce exercise, the Emirate remained open for enterprise and capitalized on alternative to deal with exports and re-exports from neighboring transit hubs, strengthening its aggressive place as a worldwide commerce hub. Suliman agrees with this notion, noting that native entry to COVID-19 checks was one of many highest on the planet, in addition to the provision of PPEs for nationals and residents- this, he says, displays Dubai’s resilient logistics capabilities. Al Futtaim’s Hamdan additionally commends the UAE’s response to the disrupted provide chain, saying, “The federal government’s swift actions and foresight and its investments in its infrastructure and services revamped a decade from each the federal government and personal sector all resulted in limiting the influence of COVID-19. We’re seeing the advantages of those investments, and the federal government and personal sector’s collaborative efforts to spice up the financial system.”
Ramez Hamdan, Managing Director – Industrial Tools (FAMCO, HINO, Toyota Materials Dealing with), Al-Futtaim Automotive
Supply: Al-Futtaim Industrial Autos
DHL Categorical MENA’s Suliman additionally factors out that the pandemic has been a catalyst to the exponential progress of e-commerce, most significantly to global shopping habits (coupled with extra individuals now working from dwelling) and its huge alternatives that manufacturers can capitalize on. And so as to guarantee DHL Categorical MENA’s help for its shoppers on this area, the corporate has needed to rely extra by itself air fleet to help operations. “We added two Boeing 767-300Fs to our MENA aviation fleet and boosted load capability by over 25%,” says Suliman. “We are actually analyzing reliance and spend on companion airways, and seeking to proceed to maximise utilization of our personal fleet.” DHL Categorical MENA can also be aligning its investments with rising tendencies, with Suliman stating how the corporate has invested in digitization for real-time visibility, elevated flight frequencies, added courier and customer support capability, and inspired improvements in last-mile supply strategies.
At Emirates SkyCargo, restoring air cargo connectivity to markets all over the world was the primary order of enterprise to make sure the continual transport of important commodities required in response to the outbreak. For this function, the corporate began working its Boeing 777-300ER passenger plane as cargo-only plane. “This had by no means been performed earlier than, and our group needed to work inside a really brief time to plan our new route community with our companions internationally, and in addition work with related authorities to get the required permissions to function the flight,” Sultan remembers. The deployment of the Boeing 777-300ERs thus allowed Emirates SkyCargo to extend its vacation spot community from 35 (served by 11 of its Boeing 777 freighters) on the finish of March, to round 50 by April. However that wasn’t the end- within the subsequent two months, the corporate elevated its community to greater than 75 international locations, and it’s presently flying to greater than 130 locations.
Emirates SkyCargo additionally got here up with different options to extend air cargo capability, equivalent to loading cargo on the seats of passenger plane and within the overhead bins, whereas making certain that such processes nonetheless adopted all security pointers. As an illustration, in June final yr, the corporate went about eradicating seats within the financial system class from 10 Boeing 777-300ER aircrafts to transform them to what they known as as “mini-freighters.” As for the highway forward, the corporate is anticipating the necessity when it comes to the transportation and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines all over the world, and it’s subsequently engaged on re-opening its terminal at Dubai World Central as a devoted airside hub for this function.
Natalia Sycheva, Senior Supervisor, Particular Initiatives and Entrepreneurship, at Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Business
Supply: Dubai Chamber
Such initiatives are pointing towards the recovery taking place within the logistics sector. At Al Futtaim’s Industrial Automobile Division, Hamdan says that the market has remained steady whilst the corporate switched its technique to deal with high-demand important sectors. “We imagine the market is recovering on the again of the concrete steps taken by the federal government to spice up financial actions and the stimulus measures introduced,” he explains. Going ahead, Sycheva is optimistic that Dubai will proceed to draw corporations from all over the world and surrounding markets particularly that need to leverage the Emirate’s logistic infrastructure to restart their enterprise and broaden their world footprint. As such, she believes there are quite a lot of alternatives up for the taking- and entrepreneurs can positively reap the benefits of it. “Entrepreneurs within the logistics sector ought to [invest] in expertise that may drive their enterprise, make sure that their choices meet a market want, and keep knowledgeable concerning the newest government-issued rules and obtainable help and assets,” she concludes.
The Govt Abstract: Recommendation For Entrepreneurs In The Logistics Sector
Nour Suliman, CEO, DHL Categorical MENA
“Firstly, hire the right talent. Persons are the center of any enterprise, and if we have now realized something from the pandemic it’s that our largest and our most worthy asset is our individuals. They’re the core of our excellence and the explanation behind our success. Secondly, deal with high quality. The shoppers of right this moment are high quality targeted, it’s a fast-moving world with an abundance of choices the one solution to keep in enterprise is to ship distinctive high quality that can maintain you all the time in demand. And thirdly, select the best companion. Our companions are a part of our existence, select the companion that can all the time ship in your promise to your prospects; the truth is, select the one that can over ship in your promise to your prospects. Companions are simply as vital to what you are promoting as your individual individuals.”
Ramez Hamdan, Managing Director, Al-Futtaim Industrial Autos
“Firms ought to take into account foregoing outdated practices, like counting on a number of suppliers for items and assets. As a substitute, the main focus ought to be on a number of, even favoring native corporations to assist increase the native financial system. Additionally, there’s a right away want for larger automation, equivalent to GPS monitoring and tracing, paperless or on-line transactions, software program programs for warehouse and transportation administration, in addition to robotics and drones for smoother operations.”
Atif Rafiq, CEO and founder, Qafila
Atif Rafiq, CEO and founder, Qafila
“My high three recommendation can be to deal with digitalization, cash flow, and eventually, work on enterprise continuity planning.”
Nabil Sultan, Emirates Divisional Senior Vice President of Emirates SkyCargo
“Firstly, all the time keep in your toes. Don’t turn into complacent simply because you could have constructed a great product or resolution. If COVID-19 has taught us something, it’s that even the perfect product providing may be challenged in a single day. The one choice is to constantly innovate and keep forward of the sport. Secondly, harness the latest technological innovations– use of AI and different good expertise guarantees to revolutionize the logistics business. Lastly, don’t despair within the face of setbacks. Robust occasions don’t final eternally however robust individuals do.”