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DB Schenker in Africa and Middle East

Decoration for Dubai
Qatar, Oman and a lot of oil and sand. This cliché of the Arabian Gulf and its neighbors is just as wrong as the Fata Morgana on a thirsty camel ride through the desert. Because the region has more to offer than caravans and conveyors. Much more. The world’s trade in goods is flourishing and people are shopping more than ever.

Customs Union like the EU
An important role is played by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). It includes Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Emirates and Oman. The six member states, with a total population of 40,000,000, pursue close economic and social cooperation. Since 2003, a customs union has facilitated the exchange. The whole thing is reminiscent of the European Union. A little bit. In any case, we are dealing here with an alliance that is also interesting for logisticians. The GCC is the EU’s most important trading partner in the Arab world.

Gaurav Kapoor, Director Key Account Management
„Our warehouses in the Gulf bring handbags and cosmetics to shopping malls as well as furniture and the latest fashion.“

In the Arab states, oil loses its dominance. Other industries are booming. Where a lot of money is made, there is a lot to spend. That makes the region interesting for the consumer goods industry. Wholesale and retail are flourishing. For example, the Landmark Group in Dubai. Launched in 1973 with a single store in Bahrain, Landmark now has 2,300 stores and has become one of the largest retail and hotel groups in the Middle East, Africa and India.

Cinema boom in Saudi Arabia
Billions of franchise operators have also established themselves in the Gulf. Headquartered in Kuwait, Alshaya Group’s portfolio includes 90 world-renowned brands that everyone in retail, hospitality, hotel and leisure knows: Starbucks, H & M and The Body Shop. According to the company, Hampton by Hilton will soon be added. It is an open industry secret that Alshaya opens a shop anywhere in the world every week. Or several more. Focal points are – in addition to the Middle East – North America, Russia, Turkey and Europe. Al-Futtaim, to give a final example, has announced that it will open a number of cinemas together with PVR Limited in Saudi Arabia. We are talking about “600 screens”.

Trips to the shopping centers
What the wealthy clientele in the glitz-and-glamour malls in the Gulf are buying comes from Europe, the US and eastern Asia. “Our warehouses in the Gulf bring handbags and cosmetics to shopping malls as well as furniture and the latest fashion,” says DB Schenker’s regional head of key account management, Gaurav Kapoor. He has been with the company in Dubai for 5 years and knows the assortments of his customers – from the logistics center and window shopping. The DB Schenker team manages the logistics for high-quality articles from all over the world. Vases, candles, pillows and other decorative items – everything is included.

If the comparison were not too worn-out, one would like to recall the 1001-night fairy tales, given 10,000-dollar shoes. The equipment of the shopping centers looks fairytale and their attraction is enormous. “People don’t go just shopping there,” explains Kapoor. “These are destinations for the whole family."

Second logistics center of DB Schenker in Dubai
DB Schenker is positioning itself and expanding its infrastructure for the further supply of retail and industry to the Gulf. The most recent proof was the groundbreaking ceremony for a second logistics center in Dubai in April 2018. The 35,000 square meters are located near the planned world’s largest airport Al Maktoum International and the Jebel Ali Port. This port has a handling capacity of 11,000,000 TEU (20-foot standard container). Hamburg handled about 20 percent less in 2017.

The new temperature-controlled logistics center in Dubai is DB Schenker’s first location worldwide with 100 percent solar energy. The opening will take place in the first quarter of 2019. And should anyone reading this article get the impression that the industrial and automotive industries do not get their fair share compared to all the consumer goods: do not worry – DB Schenker also organizes supply chains for large suppliers in this region.

Thomas Ruelke
CCO Middle East & Africa

Content courtesy: Andreas Pietsch