INTERVIEW: Brian Cartwright, Logistics Executive

Q&A with Cartwright, MD-Middle East & Africa, Logistics Executive.
Brian Cartwright, MD - Middle East & Africa, Logistics Executive.
Brian Cartwright, MD - Middle East & Africa, Logistics Executive.

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Brian Cartwright is managing director, Middle East & Africa, of Logistics Executive, an international specialise recruitment and business consulting company. 

What are your predictions for this year’s logistics activities?
The information I have been receiving from senior executives at various LSP’s in the Middle East is that business has been slow yet stable throughout 2014; many don’t expect significant growth until later in 2015 at the earliest.

From a regional perspective, the UAE, KSA and Qatar still appear to be leading the charge when it comes to potential for new business opportunities in the logistics sector.

Also having recently spent a week in Dammam attending the Saudi Transtec conference and talking to many senior executives I would predict that Saudi Arabia is the market which could deliver the most potential for the LSP’s in 2015.

End users in the Kingdom are becoming more demanding as they improve their supply chains, resulting in many locally based LSP’s having to make a shift change from focusing mainly on overland transport services to providing full supply chain solutions in order to remain competitive.

This is opening up a whole host of opportunities for non Saudi-based 3PLs and 4PLs to partner with local LSP’s and/or investors bringing with them additional supply chain experience, processes, and solutions in order to meet market demands.

The opportunities for development in Saudi Arabia are further reinforced by the fact that Logistics Executive Groups Global Training Academy, Executive Coaching and Corporate Advisory services were receiving the most interest throughout the Saudi Transtec conference by a long shot. It is clear that the Saudis are committed to developing the standards of supply chain and logistics professionals throughout the country, and the wheels are already in motion.

When it comes to the UAE we have continued to see interest from companies outside the ME region seeking to establish a footprint here, and in our role as appointed offshore representative agents for Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA) we have met with the leaders of many non Middle East-based organizations recently with the majority involved in cold chain and fashion/retail related activities who are ready to develop their business in the Middle East whether directly or via partner agreements.

We have been supporting these organisations with introductions to potential JV partners, service providers and investors as well as providing information and advice about business in general in the region.

How do you see demand for logistics personnel developing in 2015 and are there Any areas of the industry where you particularly predict a spike in demand?
Based on discussions with our various clients throughout Q4 of 2014 we expect to see a spike in recruiting activity from early 2015 with specific focus from the LSPs on developing their contract logistics and supply chain solutions business, these companies will be looking to attract and engage commercial and operational specialists and managers.

The logistics professionals with very specific industry vertical experience will highly sought after by the LSPs, particularly those who have focused on either pharma, FMCG (cold chain), retail/apparel, project logistics or petrochem/chemicals. The manufacturers and distributors we have been speaking with will be aiming to upskill their management teams with experts who can streamline processes, improve planning/forecasting, and ultimately drive efficiency improvements throughout the end-to-end supply chain.

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