Leaders in Logistics conference sees best year yet

Logistics Middle East’s ‘Leaders in Logistics 2017’ saw its largest audience this year, thanks in large part to a renewed focus on networking and a revamped approach to the panels.
This years agenda featured an e-commerce panel for the first time.
This years agenda featured an e-commerce panel for the first time.


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The Leaders in Logistics conference program has been running for eight years now, led by ITP’s director of conferences, Louby Maktari, and has grown exponentially in prominence and though-leadership within the industry.

In 2017, the conference saw one of its largest audiences in recent memory, thanks in large part to Maktari’s focus on bringing in more end-users from the big name brands and allowing more time for networking amongst delegates.

“The Leaders in Logistics Summit is simply the best logistics conference in Dubai. For many years now it’s been my favourite,” says Katharina Albert, managing director, Kat Logics. “I loved the new concept that gave plenty of time for networking with peers.”

Rupesh Sanischara, supply chain manager, EMEA, Tata Steel International, echoed these sentiments, adding that the event “forms a base for learning and sharing as well as networking”. Networking came up repeatedly in our interviews with attendees at the event.

Brian Cartwright, founder and managing director of Top Resources Group, said the event featured “highly informative speakers, panellists and topics, and a good balance was struck between the time allocated for presentations and panel discussions vs time set aside for networking.”

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“Well done ITP!” he added. Though in actual fact all credit must go to ITP’s conference events team.

Louby Maktari and Natasha Cristi, the operations manager for ITP’s business events, were at the heart of all the planning and execution of the event and it’s because of them that delegates such as Guillaume Akbaraly, head of supply chain, Globalpharma - Sanofi Company, were “impressed by the attendance which composed by a high level of Supply Chain professionals. I would definitely recommend the summit to all supply chain professionals.”

This year’s agenda featured an e-commerce panel for the first time, a panel discussion on humanitarian logistics and a roundtable on what end-users such as Johnson & Johnson, PwC and Fawaz Alhokair Group look for in a 3PL partner. Mahmood Al Bastaki, CEO of Dubai Trade, gave the keynote address, during which he urged delegates to embrace the “sea change” occurring in logistics.

“What is happening in ocean freight today mirrors what happened to the IT sector twenty years ago, there was immense consolidation and only the big players, the Oracles, Microsofts and Apples stayed,” he said. “They bought everyone else, integrating the aspects they liked into their own business. What is happening now in ocean freight is a sea change and as players in the logistics market we need to think about how this will impact us.”

For the first time ever in the regional logistics scene, Logistics Middle East was able to shine a light on the crucially important role played by the UAE in the global humanitarian logistics network.

Guiseppe Saba, CEO of Dubai International Humanitarian City spoke about the role Dubai plays in responding to emergencies all over the world, while representatives from the United Nations, WHO, DHL and Tristar made up one of the largest panels ever at the Leaders in Logistics conference.

Underscoring the importance of these operations out of the IHC, Karl Mason, international business development director at Tristar pointed out that “the cost of failure in a humanitarian supply chain is a lost life rather than a lost customer”.

China’s One Belt, One Road initiative is having a major impact on Port Khalifa’s growth plans and Marcus Meissner, managing partner, Middle East & Africa at Camelot Management Consultants, discussed the regional impact more broadly.

Tariq Selah, network manager, Middle East & Africa corporate air & sea at Gebrüder Weiss Cargo said this presentation was especially interesting because “Camelot are specialized in supply chain”.

Food security was another hot topic, covered by Mark Geilenkirchen, CEO of SOHAR Port & Freezone, which was one of the early moves in the recent drive by free zones to enhance their food logistics capabilities. Geilenkirchen spoke about the operational and financial upsides and downsides of developing public-private partnerships, which he said are essential in managing the gap between growing demand and production within the GCC food industry.

Finally, and certainly not least, a huge thanks must go to Michael Stockdale, who returned to Leaders in Logistics this year as our conference chairman, leading discussions and throwing out markedly poignant questions to our panellists, which raised the calibre of discussions. From Logistics Middle East a huge thanks to all of our speakers and to all who attended the event.

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