Agility’s new Shipa platform expects $300m boost from GCC e-com

The Agility subsidiary was started in May for the GCC’s small and medium sized businesses to use freight services at an affordable rate, according to its chief executive Borhene Ben Mena.
Shipa freight, Agility, SMEs, Dubai, Gcc, E-commerce

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Shipa Delivery expects to achieve revenues of $300-million this financial year on the back of rising freight bookings in the Middle East from the region’s growing e-commerce sector.

The Agility subsidiary was started in May for the GCC’s small and medium sized businesses to use freight services at an affordable rate, according to its chief executive Borhene Ben Mena.

“[We’re servicing] clients who will not be served by Agility because they’re small,” Mena told The National. “Agility [by comparison] caters to large clients who have high purchasing power, and want full service, a dedicated account manager with a blocking capacity up front.”

With around 1,000 SME clients in the UAE, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, Shipa is eyeing expansion into Egypt and other lucrative markets in Africa. Shipa is betting on the growth of regional e-commerce and has allocated capital expenditure of $6-million this year for that expansion.

“[Next year], we’re looking to increase that to twice that amount,” Mena added.

Nearly 80 per cent of the firm’s investments are in technology, of which the company is specifically eyeing the potential to leverage artificial intelligence and block chain.

“We have all these block chain initiatives but we’re not there yet but the technology exists. AI is already mature,” said Mena.

With capital from Agility, which is planning to invest up to $2-billion in its operations next year, the company is being groomed to disrupt the regional logistics sector allowing for cash-strapped SMEs to have more domestic shipping options.

It currently carries out around 100,000 bookings of shipping containers per month, and is looking to increase the total number to 1 million per year on the growth of regional industry. Much of the traffic comes from China, which is a key source for garments, textiles and other products imported by regional e-commerce firms.

"The two main geographies are US and China. The UK used to be big but we see that slowing,” said Mena.

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