Five minutes with Nadia Abdul Aziz, MD of UNASCO
Five minutes with Nadia Abdul Aziz, managing director of UNASCO.
Nadia Abdul Aziz is the managing director/partner at UNASCO. She also holds senior positions at a number of associations; including the National Association of Freight and Logistics (secretary general), Dubai Land Transport Group (board member) and Women in Logistics ME (chairperson).
 Tell us about UNASCO.
UNASCO LLC, which stands for Union National Air, Land, and Sea Shipping Company, was established in 1982. We offer complete and competitive solutions for sea and air freight, trucking and warehousing, to and from the UAE. We are based in an industrial area [Al Barsha] and have offices on Sheikh Zayed Road, Airport Cargo Village and in Abu Dhabi. On an international scale we have representative agent offices in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Far East, CIS, and the United States.
 What’s your company’s USP?
Partnering with clients, being available as an international presence, and offering competitive rates! We offer a personalised service and have dedicated staff, that are even prepared to work weekends to ensure that all clients’ urgent needs are met.
 What were the main challenges the firm had to deal with in recent years?
If you look at all the world and regional reports, you will see negative growth during the financial crisis. We witnessed bad client payments, fraud cases, lower sales due to lower consumer and industry demand for goods in general. Another difficult area was trying to maintain sales and employee jobs. We were striving to be a stable company as opposed to many other companies who were downsizing and terminating staff. I feel my staff are my second family, and it’s my duty to keep them secure and happy. Even during difficult times there is always a way to get around this –working twice as hard as in previous years and thinking outside the box.
 Why all the trade associations?
My emphasis, in every association I represent, is on giving back to the community. I strongly believe in charity work and I believe that what goes around, comes around: what you give today will come as a blessing tomorrow. The associations I represent also work collectively when there is a need. So they often meet government officials as a collective group. We are all grateful for our proactive government which encourages this, and has an open door for us to discuss these and other complicated issues.
 What are your immediate objectives?
My main objective is to promote and partner with SMEs that have been launched in the region, and to fully support business women who have any import/export or trading businesses. I like to represent the industry and my country on an international level to show them what we really are about, what our true values are, and how professional this part of the world is, as opposed to the various misconceptions about the Middle East.