By Logistics Middle East Staff Writer www.arabianbusiness.com
Although RSA Logistics celebrated the success of its first anniversary at Dubai Logistics City early this year, the company is focused on the future rather than the past, explains marketing director Kirit Mehta.
It’s been over a year since RSA Logistics became the first company to commence operations at Dubai Logistics City. What circumstances led to that achievement?
The management team at RSA Logistics was looking for new opportunities to meet the growing needs of the market. Being one of the first customers to be issued a licence in 2007, it was deemed a bold step. However, we were confident about proceeding and construction work was started in February 2008, taking around a year to complete. The first three containers arrived at our warehouse facility on 2nd April 2009.
The logistics industry suffered a number of challenges in the Middle East last year. Did this situation impact your operations?
Even though our operations began in the middle of a global downturn, RSA Logistics was able to finalise a three-year partnership with APL Logistics and another three-year contract to provide Diversey with warehousing and distribution services. In addition, we inked a strategic relationship with UTi that focuses on contract logistics opportunities and started our dedicated freight forwarding and shipping division.
Do you believe these developments have vindicated the decision to base your operations at Dubai Logistics City?
Everyone at Dubai Logistics City has always been very supportive about our decision to establish a presence here. Of course, due to the recession, some of their commitments were delayed, which is understandable. However, there were some other issues, such as the customs and documentation process, which have since been sorted out. When you look back at our achievements in the first year, we are fairly content with progress. It would be difficult to ascertain whether a different location would have made a much bigger impact or not for our company.
The partnership between RSA Logistics and APL Logistics was much-talked about in the industry. What does it cover?
APL Logistics was our first customer at the Dubai Logistics City facility. The agreement came about through our common contacts that APL Logistics was looking for some warehousing space. We approached them and showed our facility and the whole project. With that the company was happy to take a dedicated space and grow its operations hand-in-hand with RSA.
Are there plans to expand your presence at Dubai Logistics City or anywhere else?
Yes, we are planning to fully develop the land on which our current facility sits on. A further 20,000m2 can be developed, which should be a viable option in the near future. Although no plans have been finalised, we aim to have dedicated warehouses or chambers for pharmaceuticals, dangerous goods and temperature controlled storage. Looking outside the United Arab Emirates, RSA Logistics has reached the early stages of extending our service portfolio to various markets, such as India and Singapore.
Will there also be a conscious effort to increase brand awareness in the future?
The RSA Logistics brand has steadily boosted its exposure to the customer’s eye. With our state-of-the-art facility and current clientele, we are already a strong brand within Dubai Logistics City. Close synergies with global brands such as UTi, APL Logistics and Diversey have increased our exposure to potential customers. This has further been enhanced by RSA buying its own fleet of vehicles for deliveries within the UAE. Future developments include a second warehouse in the freight forwarding zone at Dubai World Central. Right now, the warehouse is about 80% complete. We aim to have that facility up and running by August 2010.
What other developments have you seen at Dubai Logistics City in the past year?
Since our operations commenced, we have seen large investments in infrastructure, such as road networks, accessibility and utilities. All these are vital to any start-up business, not only for operations but the impression it leaves on existing and potential customers. Moreover, with Al Maktoum International Airport commencing cargo flights from this month, there has been development at a rapid rate. This has not only attracted attention to the project, but RSA as well.
Looking ahead, what are your overall predictions for the logistics industry’s growth in the Middle East?
This region is still expected to become one of the world’s largest in terms of CAGR growth over the next five years, with 8.50% growth. The only difference between the last five years and the next is that the growth will no longer be in double digits, although it still remains higher than the rest of the world.