DHL: Amazon acquisition of Souq is major opportunity
The recently confirmed takeover of Souq.com by Amazon will create huge opportunities for express couriers in the Middle East, says DHL Express country manager for the UAE Geoff Walsh.
“The e-commerce scene in the region is undergoing massive changes and we expect a lot of growth in the next 2-3 years,” he says. “With the likes of Noon.com and Amazon coming into the region, this will accelerate the growth of the platform and set a path for other retailers and manufacturers to quickly establish a presence.”
Walsh tells LogisticsMiddleEast.com that this in turn will drive the growth of global logistics and global trade. “There will be a lot of opportunities for us to grow and support many new business set ups,” he says.
Walsh adds that having technology and facilities on the ground in key markets will be the big differentiator for express logistics companies looking to partner with the likes of Amazon and Noon.com.
“We have our gateway at Dubai airport, which we are currently expanding to around seven and a half thousand square meters so it will have a brand new automated process that will allow us to process five thousand shipments in one hour,” he says.
“Because we use that as a trans-hub as well, so the shipments connect from our network onward for the rest of the world on commercial aircraft as well as our own. In Abu Dhabi, we own a facility at Abu Dhabi airport as well so we have flights into Abu Dhabi. We also have a flight to Sharjah so we use all the airports in the UAE. In addition, we have a presence in every emirate, apart from that we have about 350 couriers on the road now.”
In a recent interview with Souq.com, its chief operating officer Wisam Daoud said that Saudi Arabia was its next major focus for enhance of last mile delivery.
“We have fulfilment centres in all the major MENA markets, including the UAE, Egypt and of course Saudi Arabia,” he said. “Saudi Arabia is the largest consumer market, so we want to expand our same-day delivery offer to KSA by the end of the year.”
Daoud added that because Souq.com is “exporting out of the UAE, we need to work with world-class 3PLs and express logistics companies to make this happen”.
DHL Express, recognising the high stakes involved in e-commerce logistics in the Middle East, has invested more than 100-million euros on expanding its facilities across the region.
“We’ve built facilities at Riyadh airport, Dammam airport and recently Jeddah,” says Walsh.
“What that means is that we now have the fastest clearance into Saudi Arabia at all three airports of any other logistics company, our transit time to Jeddah is one day quicker, thanks to our new direct flight from Bahrain into Jeddah,” he says. “Everyone else has to clear through Riyadh or Dammam or the land border.”