Tuesday, May 21, 2024
Elevating Middle East logistics

Elevating Middle East logistics

Over the years, the Middle East has transformed into a significant global trade hub. The UAE’s strategic location at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa, coupled with rapid economic growth, modern infrastructure development, and abundant energy resources, has propelled the region’s increasing importance in international trade. 

Furthermore, the UAE is poised to maintain its pivotal role in international trade, serving as a vital link between East and West, and North and South. Trade is also set to receive a boost after the BRICS bloc – comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – invited the UAE and other countries including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran, Ethiopia and Argentina to join the group this month.

“DHL’s operations in the Gulf Cooperation region are driven by its mission of connecting people and improving lives,” Amadou Diallo, CEO DHL Global Forwarding Middle East & Africa, said. 

“DHL has played a significant role in driving growth in the UAE and neighbouring countries. As a global logistics leader, we have provided essential infrastructure and advanced supply chain solutions critical to the region’s economic development. Leveraging our extensive network, state-of-the-art facilities, and advanced technology, we’ve empowered businesses in the UAE and nearby nations to expand globally,” he added. 

Stronger stance

DHL Global Forwarding’s recent acquisition of all remaining shares in Danzas AEI Emirates is a strategic move that solidifies their position in the Middle East. This merger is a significant step in their expansion journey across the Middle East. 

“By integrating the strengths of both organisations, we aim to create a compelling proposition for our customers in the region, driving enhanced efficiency and sustainability in logistics services,” Diallo explained. 

“The Middle East has evolved into a vital hub in recent years, and we are proud of our role in this. As Dubai and the GCC countries continue to experience economic growth, we believe that the full integration of Danzas into the DHL network will reinforce our position as a leading logistics provider in the region.” 

Infrastructure investment

Governments in the Middle East have prioritised logistics and trade in their economic development strategies. They have undertaken extensive infrastructure modernisation, resulting in world-class airports, seaports, and road networks that enhance connectivity and logistical efficiency. Furthermore, these nations have embraced digital and sustainable infrastructure development as part of their economic visions, exemplified by the UAE’s Vision 2021 and Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030. 

Notably, the UAE maintains a consistent focus on infrastructure investments, while Saudi Arabia and Qatar continue to channel substantial resources into multifaceted infrastructure development initiatives. Bahrain, too, has unveiled ambitious plans for the near future, bolstering the region’s commitment to solidify its position as a global logistics hub. Middle Eastern governments have laid a strong foundation for forthcoming projects, further strengthening the region’s logistics capabilities.

“Our joint venture with Etihad Rail aligns with the UAE’s commitment to improving the logistics sector. It allows us to contribute to the region’s growth by bolstering capacity through rail freight, and utilising our extensive rail and multimodal transport expertise,” Diallo stated. “Our MEA Innovation Center serves as a platform to address logistics challenges and stay updated on industry trends. Additionally, Saloodo!, DHL Global Forwarding’s digital road freight platform, is pioneering the use of electric trucks in the UAE, highlighting our commitment to innovation and sustainability in the region.” 

Developing sustainable networks

The logistics industry in the Middle East is growing rapidly, driven by digitalisation, sustainability, and decarbonisation. Governments and businesses are working together to reduce emissions and develop more sustainable transportation networks by adopting digital technologies that improve efficiency and reduce costs. 

“At DHL Global Forwarding, we remain guided by our Strategy 2025, which focuses on harnessing globalisation, e-commerce, digitalisation, and sustainability for the long-term growth of our business,” Diallo outlined. “We believe growth comes from a consistent focus on our core businesses, with digitalisation at its heart, improving services, processes, and standards over the coming years.

“As a company dedicated to sustainability, DHL’s Fulfilment Network strives to be an accountable collaborator by considerably diminishing its environmental impact and upholding rigorous social and governance criteria. We are committed to making substantial reductions in our carbon footprint while maintaining top-tier social and governance standards. We have set new standards for responsible and sustainable business procedures, which have improved the logistics sector in the GCC,” he continued. 

Technology aids airfreight’s evolution

The air cargo industry is witnessing the birth of a number of new technologies. Electric aircraft (eVTOL) are offering eco-friendly and efficient options for short-distance and last-mile cargo deliveries. By using robots and cutting-edge technology, automation minimises blunders, boosts efficiency, and handles cargo with precision. Deliveries and cargo monitoring with drones are becoming increasingly popular. Real-time cargo insights are provided by Internet of Things (IoT) and tracking technology, while green initiatives are reducing the environmental impact. Collectively, these innovations are reshaping air cargo systems, making them more efficient, sustainable, and adaptable to evolving logistics needs.

“The DHL Fast Forward Challenge has proven to be a catalyst for the development of technological solutions within the logistics industry,” Diallo highlighted. “This year’s challenge showcased an array of truly remarkable ideas, each of which was groundbreaking in its own right. It was evident that young entrepreneurs were increasingly committed to pursuing sustainable business concepts, underscoring a transformative shift to a clean future.

“Furthermore, technology played a pivotal role in fostering collaboration and innovation, with big data analytics, machine learning, sensors, IoT, and next-generation wireless technologies emerging as key drivers in enhancing supply chain resilience in the logistics sector. Notably, artificial intelligence demonstrated its immense potential in optimising supply chain efficiency by harnessing predictive and vision-recognition capabilities, enabling intelligent workflow automation, and revolutionising customer experiences. This technology enables high levels of data transparency and real-time availability, facilitating the rapid identification of issues and disruptions and enabling prompt corrective actions,” he added.

Picture of James Graham

James Graham

James Graham is an award-winning transport media journalist with a long background in the commercial freight sector, including commercial aviation and the aviation supply chain. He was the initial Air Cargo Week journalist and retuned later for a stint as editor. He continues his association as editor of the monthly supplements. He has reported for the newspaper from global locations as well as the UK.

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