Celebrating another year of phenomenal success in the Middle East region, the second annual Supply Chain and Transport Awards (SCATA) was truly a night to remember.
The annual Supply Chain and Transport Awards (SCATA) is trailblazing its way to becoming the leading beacon for excellence in the region. Last month saw the second annual SCATA ceremony take place at the prestigious surroundings of Al Murooj Rotana hotel, in the heart of Dubai.
The evening provided ample opportunity for the regional glitterati of the supply chain and transportation sector to pat themselves on the back for yet another triumphant year within the fast-moving and exciting growth of the Middle East.
Organised by magazine publisher ITP Business, the awards leverage the breadth and experience of the group's leading transportation magazines - including Logistics Middle East, Air Cargo Middle East & India, Sea Freight Middle East and Aviation Business.
The magazines have also grown amidst the frenzied development of the Middle East to become amongst the most reputed publications for the industry on a global level.
"The Supply Chain and Transport Awards have gone from strength to strength. Against the backdrop of the unrelenting growth being experienced by the supply chain and transportation sector in the Middle East, the awards provide a beacon for those in the industry striving for best practices," highlights Walid Akawi, CEO of ITP Publishing Group.
"The impressive standard of nominations received this year shows that the industry continues to provide opportunities for ambitious individuals and companies to thrive. We look forward to 2009, when the SCATA ceremony will return to again reward the industry for excellence."
As sponsor for the 2008 awards, Ibrahim M. Al Janahi, senior vice president of commercial sales at Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (Jafza), had the honour of opening the ceremony by welcoming in the second year of the awards.
"SCATA is a new benchmark of excellence. Jafza is proud to be associated with ITP and will continue to support them in their efforts to raise the bar," he says. "It is not enough to just be good anymore - you have to be excellent. You have to stay focused, stay sharp, and stay on your toes."
Instituted awards such as SCATAs have increasingly been welcomed by the industry, not only as a way of recognising its achievements, but in order to share and promote best practice.
"The growth of the logistics and supply chain industry is the region's much neglected success story," highlights Professor Cedwyn Fernandes, chair of the College of Graduate Studies at the University of Wollongong in Dubai. "The SCATA awards bring the growth of the industry in the public domain and highlight and celebrate its achievements."
His views are echoed by Captain Mansoor Ghafoor, president of National Association of Freight and Logistics (NAFL) and vice president of FIATA, who believes that the awards play a pivotal role in raising the bar of services provided in the Middle East's logistics and transportation industry.
"Unless there is a selection process of separating the great from the mediocre, then there is no incentive for doing better," he points out. "Growth in any sector is measured against recognised benchmarks. The SCATA awards contribute to increasing awareness and improving the quality of all the individual and company players."
With so many companies performing outstandingly well over the past twelve months, the difficult task of selecting a winner was left in the capable hands of the judging panel, who are featured on the cover of this month's Logistics Middle East magazine.
This year saw the return of both Captain Mansoor Ghafoor and Professor Cedwyn Fernandes, together with industry experts Issa Baluch (CEO of Swift Freight International) and Dr Kanak Madrecha (senior manager of Dubai World and founding member of the Supply Chain & Logistics Group), back into the judging hot-seat.
Newcomer to the panel, Sebastian Thomas, logistics manager of Al-Futtaim's retail division also joined the team, following his own win as the SCATA Logistics Manager of the Year last year.
As the online nominations for the awards flooded in, the judges admitted that the standard was very high. "It's a tribute to SCATA for attracting high quality nominations in just its second year. All the companies nominated are winners - their excellence in their field will bring them business success," comments Fernandes.
The SCATAs included 16 award categories, spanning across the logistics, sea freight and air cargo sectors - including awards for 'Express Logistics Provider of the Year', '3PL Service Provider of the Year', 'Logistics Manager of the Year' and ‘Outstanding Achievement of the Year'.
One of the biggest victories of the night was claimed by Jafza, winning the awards for 'Industrial Area of the Year, as well as the coveted 'Outstanding Achievement of the Year'. Some categories also saw a double year win for companies who had received a coveted award last year.
DHL again picked up the award for 'Express Logistics Provider of the Year', and Dubai Cargo Village repeated its success as 'Air Cargo Hub of the Year' for the second time. DryDocks World was also named 'Best Shipyard' twice in a row.
Reflecting the growing importance of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the region, an award was introduced this year - presented to logistics provider, Aramex, for its active commitment and promotion in the region.
This was the second award for the company, having also won the '3PL Service Provider of the Year' award earlier in the evening. Following the footsteps of Sebastian Thomas, this year's winner of the 'Logistics Manager of the Year' award went to Vikas Bansal of Nikai Group.
As the ceremony drew to a close, participants in the awards enjoyed a lavish dinner and the opportunity to discuss the awards. What was the special factor that had distinguished the winners from the rest of the nominations?
"Those who got the SCATA this year excelled in their given area and did something a bit more innovative than the others," offers Fernandes.
"Size, quality, leadership, professionalism - these things are pretty obvious but then there is something special that you have to really look for," adds fellow-judge Dr Kanak Madrecha.
SCATA 2009 is poised to be another stimulating milestone in the region's calendar - and the judges fully expected to see some new up and coming names added to the nominations list.
"The standard is always good and I'm sure that, as interest grows, we will have even better quality nominations next year," says Dr Madrecha.
As benchmarks to growth, the SCATA awards continue to act as a worthy reminder to the industry of what can be accomplished. And in the Middle East, opportunities for growth continue to available for anyone brave enough to grab them.
Indeed, the last words of the evening belong to Jafza's Al Janahi, who concludes, "These awards are not only a way to celebrate our efforts, but a reminder to us all to never stop, to push and above all to be the best".
Logistics Award Winners
Logistics Manager of the Year
Winner: Vikas Bansal (Nikai)
"It's great to win the Supply Chain and Transport Award for Logistics Manager of the Year. And quite unexpected too. My greatest achievement this year has been the implementation of state-of-the-art technology to increase the efficiency and productivity of Nikai's supply chain operations. I am pleased this has been recognised by the prestigious panel of judges for the SCATAs. Nikai has entered a phase of explosive growth, especially over the past year, and we have established our position amongst a number of giants operating in the Middle East, such as Sony and Panasonic. This award marks an important milestone for both Nikai and, on a more personal level, my career as a whole."
Express Logistics Provider of the Year
Winner: DHL Express
"DHL is very proud to receive the Supply Chain and Transport Award for Express Logistics Provider of the Year. After winning this category during the inaugural SCATA ceremony last year, I wondered whether DHL would continue its winning streak in 2008. It's been a fantastic night and, of course, being handed this trophy is definitely the highlight. These awards are vital for the Middle East logistics industry and we support them 100%. It's been another strong year for DHL in this region and winning this trophy endorses our achievements and success in pushing the boundaries of supply chain solutions. We are already planning our entry for next year."
3PL Service Provider of the Year
"It's been a hugely successful year for the logistics industry in the Middle East, and we're very proud that Aramex has continued to play an influential role in the sector's continued growth. We would like to thank ITP Business Publishing for organising this ceremony and giving the supply chain and transportation industries the recognition it deserves. And of course, the honourable judges for the awards, who are pioneers in this industry. After receiving this award for our achievements during the past year, we are planning to build on this success by looking at revenue growth figures at around 25% for the next twelve months, and have every confidence we can achieve this. The award encourages us to continue providing an excellent service for the consumer, as we expand throughout the Middle East and beyond."
Sea Freight Award Winners
Shipping Agent of the Year
Winner: Maersk Kanoo
"Maersk Line experienced a strong period of growth in 2007, in terms of imports, exports and throughput, which is thanks to the support of customers and the cooperation of ports throughout the region. It feels excellent to win this award, and we would like to extend our thanks to everyone who has helped organise this event. It is good to have recognition for our performance in the industry and I am certainly excited that we have achieved the high standards that have been rewarded by the Supply Chain and Transportation Awards. Looking at the future, I think Maersk Kanoo will continue to excel as a shipping agent, even with potential market challenges in the maritime industry. For example, the industrial sector has a tendency to underestimate the capacity and infrastructure bottlenecks that we will be facing in this region when production levels go through the roof. Additional vessels, coupled with port developments and souring bunker prices, come at a cost. Let's make sure we keep rates at a healthy level on the Middle Eastern trade lanes, so Maersk Line has an incentive to act as long-term investor and service provider in this market."
Shipping Company of the Year
Winner: National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia (NSCSA)
"The National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia has always strived to achieve the highest standards of excellence within the industry. Thanks to the Supply Chain and Transport Awards, the hard work has been officially recognised for everyone within this company, and this even extends to our valued partners. It feels excellent. I think we're a cut above the rest and we've always been trying to improve standards within the industry. We have established a service for our customers which is efficient, professional and very safe. These awards are important because as a shipping company, it feels good when the hard work that you've put in over the years is rewarded and recognised, it gives you the incentive to try and better yourself for next year. Thanks very much for honouring us."
Port Authority & Terminal Operator of the Year
Winner: DP World
"It's an honour to receive the Supply Chain and Transport Award for Port Authority & Terminal Operator of the Year. This is actually the second year in a row we have received this award and it's a credit to the entire team at DP World, which has worked incredibly hard over the past year to ensure we have seamless and agile operations. Of course, it's been a year of rapid growth for our company, with our operations continuing to grow in stature. We are therefore proud to receive this acknowledgment, although it is not a complete surprise, because we always try to be winners and sustain the level you need to keep the spirit strong. We hope to continue this momentum in the future too and perhaps we will achieve a hattrick at next year's SCATAs."
Shipyard of the Year
Winner: Drydocks World
"The Supply Chain and Transport Awards are highly regarded within the industry, so it's a pleasure to receive the award for Shipyard of the Year. We are delighted that both the maritime community and ITP Business Publishing have recognised Drydocks World as a leading contender in the Middle East supply chain and transportation sector. Our commitment to meeting the requirements of customers to the fullest extent has been the key to our success and we hope to continue in this regard for many years to come. We also thank ITP Business for initiating this ceremony and bringing the industry together to celebrate its achievements."
Air Cargo Award Winners
Cargo Operator of the Year (Commercial Airline)
Winner: Etihad Crystal Cargo
"We are very excited to win this award, especially since we were competing against such strong competition. Over the last year or so, we have focused on the basics and made no claims about being everything to everyone. We have the ability to be creative, focus on the needs of our customers and make the right investments where needed. The support from our customers has been tremendous and they have ensured successful introduction of our MD11F. This year we will concentrate on consistency through our hub and work with the airport authorities to cope with our future growth. The rising cost of fuel and US economy concerns are impacting the industry but we remain positive and where justified will continue investing in our business."
Cargo Operator of the Year (Commercial Airline)
Winner: Maximus Air Cargo
"The major reason for our success this year has been the staff and management team at Maximus, who have had the imagination and the belief to turn ambition into reality. Through the first four months of this year we are already doing very well; we will continue to do what we are doing and we will expand our business even more, especially outside of the UAE. One of the issues I am most proud of is our agreement with the Red Crescent to provide them with aid flights on a cost basis. I want this partnership to become such a success that all cargo operators will be convinced to support good causes in this way. We are proud to have won this award, and I would like to thank the organisers and the judges."
Air Cargo Hub of the Year
Winner: Dubai Cargo Village
"It's an honour to receive this award on behalf of Dubai Cargo Village for the second year in a row. Last year we invested more than one billion dirhams into our cargo facilities, and our focus is definitely on trying to please our customers not only in the Middle East but worldwide. Our future is looking bright - we are the number one facility of our kind in the region and about the eighth biggest globally. We intend to keep on growing and providing our clients with the kind of seamless cargo solutions they deserve. We are fortunate to win a lot of awards in different locations around the world, but it is a real pleasure to receive one in our home city and hub of Dubai. Thank you for the support you have provided the industry."
Judges Award Winners
Education Provider of the Year
Winner: Gulf University of Science and Technology (GUST)
"This is the second year I have attended the Supply Chain and Transport Awards. Last year's event was a huge success and we left the venue feeling proud that such an initiative has been established for the Middle East logistics industry. So, to actually win an award this year is a great feeling, because we've been working very hard to establish a logistics forum for our students. I am actually very nervous holding this trophy in my hands. It's rare for students in Kuwait to know about the logistics industry and how supply chain management is conducted. However, teaching this topic is very rewarding and looking at each student's face when they start to grasp and understand all the information is great, it feels like our efforts are truly worthwhile. These awards are very important and its great to have recognition for our work. We'll certainly be celebrating this achievement back in Kuwait and thank the judges for selecting GUST."
Material Handling Equipment Provider of the Year
Winner: SSI Schaefer
"We're really happy to receive the award for material handling provider of the year. It's very encouraging that the judges for the Supply Chain and Transport Awards have appreciated the effort of SSI Schaefer in advancing and developing the supply chain and transportation industry. It's been a fulfilling year for this company and we have achieved a number of milestones in terms of greater technology, improvements in delivery, efficiency and performance. This process never stops and we will strive to continue such advancements in the future too. This award is unexpected, but I truly believe it's well deserved, because we've been working very hard and laying the foundation for even more growth in the future, with expansions in both Jebel Ali Free Zone and Dubai Logistics City too."
Technology Provider of the Year
Winner: Business Systems Group (BSG)
"We are obviously delighted to receive the Supply Chain and Transportation Award for Technology Provider of the Year, especially since the other nominees were such strong contenders. This makes this achievement all the more rewarding. In the last nine months alone, we picked up close
to seven or eight new customers, which has been a very significant achievement. The key customers include brands such as Nikai, Sun & Sands Sports, and GEAP Group. The SCATA ceremony really signifies industry recognition - in our case, as a technology solutions provider, it means that we are doing the right job and getting more traction then our competitors - that can only be a good thing. So overall, it's very encouraging to be recognised for our efforts that we have put into making our products. We are also grateful to ITP Business and the judging panel for organising this excellent event."
Industrial Area of the Year
Winner: Jebel Ali Free Zone
"We are always proud to be perceived as a great service provider in terms of logistics and the supply chain. This business is not new to us, but we are always striving to sustain and improve our growth into becoming the best logistics hub there is. The SCATA award will give us added energy to improve ourselves and expand our business to cope with the demands of the supply chain. We are honoured to win this award for a second time and the fact that we have won again confirms that Jebel Ali Free Zone is the place where business should come to establish and grow, especially with the south zone expansion and the forthcoming Al Maktoum International Airport being within close proximity. We would like to invite both multinational and local companies to come and expand their business in this part of the world. Thank you once again."
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) of the year Award
"It's been a great year for Aramex at the Supply Chain and Transport Awards 2008 and it's been quite a surprise to win another award at tonight's ceremony. We really appreciate the contribution that ITP Business Publishing and the SCATA judging panel have made in honouring the industry and encouraging us to raise standards, especially when it comes to topics such as social corporate responsibility.
At Aramex, we believe it's important to make a mutual effort to support our society in response to all the support we receive from our clients.
We therefore take social corporate responsibility very seriously and it's our ambition to lead the logistics industry in this regard, not only in the Middle East but throughout the world."
Outstanding Achievement of the Year Award
Winner: Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (JAFZA)
"We're very proud to receive this prestigious award. Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority has certainly experienced an outstanding year of achievement, so this recognition is very timely.
In particular, Jebel Ali Free Zone continues to grow in strength, especially in regards to the current expansion of our south zone, which has resulted in a higher number of warehouse facilities being established by leading regional and international companies.
Indeed, over 6000 companies are now operating within the free zone, which accounts for over one-forth of Dubai's GDP.
We work hard to support our customers to expand their business. This has always been our main objective and our success. We hope that this award will help us to spread the name of Jebel Ali Free Zone and Dubai itself throughout the world."