Winners Quotes: SCATA 2011

Interviews with the winners of the Supply Chain and Transport Awards.
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The fifth annual Supply Chain and Transport Awards (SCATA) took place in the United Arab Emirates on May 9, with over 250 figureheads from the Middle East logistics industry in attendance. Hosted at the Zabeel Saray hotel in Dubai, the prestigious ceremony was organised by ITP Publishing Group and featured 16 categories in total, which covered the entire spectrum of supply chain and transportation activities. LogisticsMiddleEast.com talks to the winners.

Express Logistics Provider of the Year
Nominees for the express logistics provider of the year were asked to provide evidence of outstanding performance in the Middle East, including network coverage, volumes transported, customer service, world-class facilities and a broad range of delivery options. The winner was TNT Express, which has continued to expand its road network and vehicle fleet in the Middle East over the past year, launched a dedicated freighter route from Dubai to Belgium, and opened a flagship new hub at Dubai International Airport. It’s little wonder, therefore, that the company has reported a year-on-year volume growth of around 50% in both 2009 and 2010.

“Its always a great pleasure to be part of the Supply Chain and Transport Awards and to be recognised as the express logistics provider of the year once again is fantastic. This award recognises the ongoing hard work that TNT has been putting in to maintain customer satisfaction and growth during the last four or five years. In particular, our road express product has excelled and with the upgrade to our air facilities and the 767 connection direct from Liege we expect even greater results in the future. Winning for the second time in three years is especially satisfying in such a competitive arena.”

Mark Woodcock, sales and commercial director of TNT Express Middle East

3PL Service Provider of the Year
This category is aimed at third party logistics (3PL) service providers that have delivered a pioneering range of supply chain solutions in the Middle East over the past 12 months. The winner was Gulf Warehousing Company (GWC), which was selected for developing its Qatar-based business to such an extent that net profits have more than quadrupled in the first quarter of this year. And considering the first phase of the company’s Logistics Village Qatar (LVQ) development is now operational, more growth can safely be expected in the future too.

“We are extremely pleased to receive this award for 3PL service provider of the year. Over the last three years, Gulf Warehousing Company has done a commendable job in growing the company, expanding our services, and primarily focusing on all the verticals, especially the oil and gas sector. The impact of this strategy is evident in our latest financial report and we look forward to continued growth in the logistics industry over the coming years too.”

Ranjeev Menon, CEO of Gulf Warehousing Company – GWC (pictures with GWC quality manager Elangovan Rajah)

Supply Chain of the Year
This category is dedicated to companies that have continued to raise standards in the Middle East logistics industry with their regional supply chain operations. The winner, Landmark Group, was founded in 1973 with a single store in Bahrain and has successfully grown into one of the largest and most successful retail organisations in the Middle East. Its central logistics team was formed in 2006 with the objective to add value and share best practices across the group, and by working alongside the likes of Maersk, APL and Aramex, they have achieved that and much, much more.

“We are honoured to win this year’s supply chain of the year award. The Landmark Group has experienced a significant amount of growth over the years and while this has resulted in supply chain challenges, we have adopted world-class practices to ensure success. In the future too, we are preparing for the future by automating our warehousing and upgrading our technology solutions.”

Swapan Choudhury, head of supply chain at Landmark Group

Logistics Hub of the Year
This trophy is awarded to the industrial area or free zone that provides world-class services to the Middle East freight forwarding industry, with exceptional business incentives, transport and logistics infrastructure, customer service and marketing. Winning for the first time, Dubai World Central is a relative newcomer that hopes to revolutionise the Middle East logistics industry, already providing a base for the likes of Panalpina, Kuehne + Nagel, RSA Logistics and Ehrhardt + Partner Solutions, with several new warehouse expected to open in the coming years.

“We are thrilled to receive this trophy at the Supply Chain and Transport Awards and would like to thank the prestigious judging panel for their decision. Dubai World Central has been established as the region’s first aerotropolis, which positions Dubai as a leading international trade centre and a global fast-cycle logistics hub. The concept is very unique, not only in this region but throughout the world, and will be needed for the emirate to reach the next level in terms of supply chain and transportation excellence.”

Rashed Bu Qara'a, chief operating officer at Dubai Aviation City Corporation

Cargo Operator of the Year (Commercial Airline)
With continued growth in airfreight volumes across the Middle East, this award is dedicated to cargo divisions within commercial airlines that have delivered a consistent industry-leading service in the Middle East and throughout the world over the past 12 months. The winner, Qatar Airways, has been positioning itself as a regional leader in recent months, with new cargo routes launched to destinations such as Hanoi, Kozhikode, Bengaluru and Kuwait, supported by a cargo fleet expansion to 15 aircraft by 2015, mainly consisting of converted Airbus A330s. It has also confirmed the purchase of a 33% stake in European airfreight specialist Cargolux.

“This is really a great moment for Qatar Airways. The cargo division has been working very hard in such a critical time for the industry and this is award has highlighted our many achievements over the past year. Qatar Airways is well-known as a five-star airline on the passenger side, but we strive to offer that same level of quality for our customers on the cargo side too. The entire team would like to thank everyone involved in the Supply Chain and Transport Awards for this honour.”

Irfan Tungekar, Middle East cargo manager of Qatar Airways

Cargo Operator of the Year (Cargo / Charter Airline)
Cargo operator of the year is awarded to the independent cargo operator that has delivered a consistent industry-leading service in the Middle East and throughout the world over the past 12 months. Winning this category for the third time was Maximus Air Cargo, the largest dedicated cargo aircraft operator in the United Arab Emirates, which has achieved a turnover of US$117 million in 2010 – marking a growth rate of 16% compared to the previous year. In addition, three Airbus A300-600 freighters were recently purchased from Japan Airlines (JAL) - each offering 48 tonnes of payload capacity and representing a total investment of $95.2 million, including conversion.

“This is the third time that we have received this prestigious trophy at the Supply Chain and Transport Awards and we are delighted, especially with such a strong level of competition. Maximus Air Cargo entered its latest chapter of growth with the purchase of three Airbus A300-600 freighters, which will be introduced to our fleet in July, September and November this year. They will provide strategic support for our ambitious expansion plans, which strengthens our positioning as the Middle East's largest all cargo operator with opportunities to serve the Middle East North Africa (MENA), Asia and European regions.”

Mohammad Bassam Abu Hijeh, vice president of flight operations at Maximus Air Cargo

Air Cargo Hub of the Year
This category is awarded to the Middle East airfreight facility that has consistently delivered world-class service over the past 12 months. As the most successful airfreight hub in the Middle East, Dubai International Airport (DXB) has won this award for five consecutive years. According to the latest statistics from Airports Council International (ACI), 2.27 million tonnes of cargo were handled in 2010, which was supported by the growth of operators such as Emirates SkyCargo and marks a healthy increase from the 1.92 million tonnes achieved in 2009. This means the airport is fast-approaching its full capacity of 2.5 million tonnes, although support is now being provided by the launch of cargo operations at Al Maktoum International – DXB’s sister facility at the Dubai World Central development.

“It’s a great honour and privilege to receive one of the most prestigious awards in the Middle East. In fact, I believe that we’re the only company that has won the same category at the Supply Chain and Transport Awards five times in a row, which is a matter of pride for everyone involves. It also highlights our leadership position in the market and we have implemented a number of world-class initiatives over the past year to maintain this position and strengthen our operations for the benefit of customers.”

Youssef Beydoun, head of cargo control authorities, Dubai Airports

Shipping Agent of the Year
This category is awarded to the shipping agent that has delivered a groundbreaking service across the Middle East and to the international market over the past 12 months. Sharaf Shipping Agency was selected as the winner for consolidating its operations over the past year to maintain a leadership position in the market. It has grown to meet the needs of some of the world's largest companies, covering everything from container vessels, tankers and car carriers to dry bulk carriers, cruise vessels and trampers. In addition, a number of breakthrough products were launched, such as an anti-piracy solution, while offices were also opened in five West African countries.

“I am very pleased to collect this trophy for shipping agent of the year at this year’s Supply Chain and Transport Awards. We have been pro-active in offering relevant and cost-efficient services to the maritime community, which are regularly adapted to changes in the market place. For example, when maritime piracy and terrorism emerged as a formidable threat in the world, impacting negatively on the seaborne trade and commerce, we launched security solutions for vessels transiting through the Gulf of Aden. This award has shown that we’re on the right track and I dedicate this achievement to the entire team.”

Saleh Sharaf, director of Sharaf Shipping Agency

Shipping Company of the Year
This award honours a shipping company that has delivered a standout performance in the Middle East sea freight sector over the past year. Maersk Line was selected as the winner after turning around a loss from 2009 to create an impressive net profit of US$2.9 billion around the world in 2010, with a significant contribution from Middle East operations. The company has eight main line services calling at Jebel Ali port in the UAE, providing access to Europe, America, Far East, East Africa, South America, South Africa, Indian Ocean Islands, West Africa, Australia and New Zealand, in addition to 13 feeder services serving the Middle East region. Most of these are based on the positioning of Dubai as a trading centre to serve the re-export market to Iran, Iraq, Qatar, Bahrain and other GCC countries.

“Maersk Line is deeply honoured and humbled to receive this award. What we achieved last year was the result of a journey that we embarked on a few years ago, in 2008, when our organisation was reshaped to make it more agile, more client-focused, and easier to do business with. It’s always encouraging to be recognised for the work that we are doing in this region and the contribution we are making to the economy. This award will also motivate the entire Maersk Line team to continue with our efforts in the future.”

Kapil Mehta, trade and marketing manager of Maersk Line

Shipping Port of the Year
The category is aimed at shipping ports or terminals that have delivered world-class services and facilities in the Middle East over the past year. The winner was Khorfakkan Container Terminal (KCT) in Sharjah, which is operated by Gulftainer as one of the fastest working container terminals in the world, whether dealing with smaller ships or the leviathans of 13,000TEU – which can all be accommodated without problems from a location that is optimally located to serve the Gulf and Indian Ocean. Volumes at KCT, as well as Gulftainer’s other facility in the United Arab Emirates, Sharjah Container Terminal (SCT) increased by 10% last year, compared to 2009 levels, reaching three million TEU.

“We actually won this award a couple of years ago, so it’s fantastic to receive it again a second time. As we always say, once is a fluke, twice is for real. I think Khorfakkan Port has proved itself as the most productive shipping port in the region. We offer our client base high productivity at reasonable prices and that’s the way to keep your customers happy.”

Peter Richards, managing director of Gulftainer Group, operator of Khorfakkan Container Terminal

Technology Provider of the Year

As logistics operations become increasingly technological, this award recognises the company that has supplied the market with cutting edge solutions, such as warehouse management systems, RFID and fleet management solutions. The winner, Ehrhardt + Partner Solutions (EPS), actually collected this award for the first time in 2009 and was selected once again this year for achieving a number of regional breakthroughs, with new customer wins, new implementations, and the first anniversary of its Logistics Solutions Centre at Dubai World Central.

“We sincerely appreciate this trophy and would like to thank everyone involved, including the judging panel and ITP Publishing Group. Ehrhardt + Partner Solutions did a lot of groundwork over the past year, built a solid foundation, and continued our mission to educate customers in the region, so that it’s a win-win situation for the company and for the logistics industry as a whole.”

Muthanna Muckatira, marketing director of Ehrhardt + Partner Solutions (EPS)

Material Handling Provider of the Year
Recent innovation in material handling has created an exciting market for products such as pallets, forklifts and warehouse racking. This category is aimed at suppliers that are helping companies in the Middle East to increase their supply chain efficiency with world-class products. The winner, Al-Futtaim Auto & Machinery Company (FAMCO), has successfully demonstrated its capacity as a turnkey solutions provider for world-class brands such as Linde Material Handling Equipment and Dexion Industrial Storage Equipment, while offering a guarantee that every piece of equipment provided can be supported by complete after-sales and service. FAMCO is also certified to ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 14001:2004.

“I’m totally overwhelmed to collect this trophy for a third time at the Supply Chain and Transport Awards. In all honesty, I feel my team should be stood here, because in reality in their achievements that has resulted in this prestigious honour. There is a large team behind the scenes that are provided an excellent service to our clients and they really need to be appreciated for that. Thanks once again to the judging panel for selecting FAMCO as the material handling provider of the year.”

David Dronfield, general manager of storage and handling solutions division, FAMCO

Training and Education Provider of the Year
With increasing demand for qualified professionals in the Middle East logistics sector, this award recognises the achievements of a leading training provider or education institute that offers a flagship course or series of courses on supply chain management. Beating the competition this year was the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT), a global institute that has significantly boosted its presence in the Middle East over the past few years, with a range of specialist courses and popular networking sessions run specifically for the region.

“Although we have been watching the Supply Chain and Transport Awards for a number of years, a decision was made not to submit a nomination for the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport until the time was right. This year, we have continued to work hard and achieved a great deal of progress in further strengthening our Middle East operations, so this the ideal opportunity to compete for this prestigious category. And now that we have actually won, it’s a great feeling for the entire team and we would like to thank the judging panel and organisers for their continued support.”

Alex Borg, regional director of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport – CILT (pictured with Anna D'Souza, administration membership and projects)

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Award
This trophy is awarded to the organisation that has taken responsibility for the impact of their activities on customers, employees, shareholders, communities and the environment in all aspects of their operations. DP World was selected as the winner for undertaking a number of successful initiatives over the past year, including the refurbishment of Al Wasl Hospital’s Thalassemia centre, awareness workshops for breast cancer, sponsoring the Al Amal Wedding for couples with special needs, the UAE’s biggest mass wedding.

“This award means a lot to DP World and will further reinforce our stance on corporate social responsibility. For us, sustainability means generating maximum value for customers and stakeholders, while helping to build local economies and mitigate the environmental impact of our activities. Sustainability is embodied in our corporate values, and manifested in our overriding concern with safety and security, efforts to create new jobs and training opportunities, and participation in global policy forums on climate change and the environment.”

Tariq Bin Khalifa, director account manager of general cargo, commercial department at DP World

Outstanding Achievement Award
The category for outstanding achievement is aimed at companies that have experienced a breakthrough year within the Middle East’s supply chain and transportation industry. That definition is perfect for this year’s winner, Dubai Trade, the innovative online service provider of Dubai World, which handled more than 11.4 million transactions through its portal last year, a remarkable 25.7% increase compared to the transactions recorded in 2009. The record-breaking results were reached as Dubai Trade expanded its offerings to serve the growing clientele of DP World, Economic Zones World, Dubai Customs and Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC). Today, Dubai Trade offers 758 services to customers, 12% more than the services offered in 2009.

“It feels great that the industry has appreciated and recognised Dubai Trade. The entire team has been working hard over the past year with one ambition – to make trade easier and faster in Dubai. As a result, our services have helped enhance supply chain visibility, quality of service and improve the global competitiveness of Dubai. The number of registered users has been steadily rising and we hope to continue with the same momentum in the year ahead.”

Mahmood Al Bastaki, director of Dubai Trade

Hall of Fame Award
The prestigious Hall of Fame award was introduced in 2009 to honour a leading and respected figurehead from the Middle East logistics industry. Selected as the winner, Hamdi Osman, FedEx’s senior vice president in the Middle East, Africa and Indian subcontinent, started his career at the express logistics firm in 1978 as a truck cleaner in the United States, but made such an impression on management that a string of promotions were soon to follow, including positions as a courier, operations manager in New Jersey, senior operations manager and managing director for the US Northeast District. In September 1991, he moved to Dubai, taking on the role of managing director for the Middle East and Indian subcontinent of the same company, which was upgraded to vice president of operations for the Middle East, Indian subcontinent and Africa in 1997, and later to his current position. His influence on the company and the regional logistics industry on the whole is unquestionable.

“This is one of the highest honours in our industry, so I am very proud to be inducted into the SCATA Hall of Fame. Such recognition is a great feeling and much appreciated. Having worked in the transportation business for 33 years, there is still a smile on my face, and that’s because my passion for the industry and my passion for FedEx as a global leader in the market has continued to this day. Thank you very much to the Supply Chain and Transport Awards for this honour.”

Hamdi Osman, senior vice president of FedEx Middle East, Africa and Indian subcontinent

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