18 November 2019 - DWC, Dubai Airshow Site, Dubai, UAE
Abhishek Ajay Shah,
Director and Board Member, RSA National
Can you give us an overview of what you will be presenting at Cargo Connect 2019?
At this year’s Cargo Connect we want to showcase our service capabilities, our global network as well as our new state-of-the-art smart air cargo terminal which was completed earlier this year. This brand-new terminal with a total footprint of 13,000 m² (phase I), conveniently located between the Jebel Ali Free Zone and Al Maktoum International Airport with direct access to the airport ramp, is a unique selling point for us at RSA National. With the support of a sophisticated cargo management system, the terminal enables us to offer a wide range of air freight, multimodal and logistics solutions, as well as value-added services to our customers from a single source. Our services comprise of air freight via different types of aircrafts, including our own National Air Cargo fleet, in-house police and customs clearance, first-class security standards and extensive transit capabilities.
In addition, we plan to demonstrate our solutions for the perishable and pharmaceutical as well as ecommerce industries. With our temperature-controlled storage capacity with chambers varying from -25 to +25 degrees Celsius covering 800m², we are equipped to store and handle temperature sensitive commodities from the F&B and pharma industries. Moreover, ecommerce is heavily growing worldwide and, particularly, in the Middle East & Africa Region. The UAE is emerging as an important trans-shipment point for Europe-Asia trade, and as a multimodal logistics hub to cater to the needs of increasing trade within the region. Our terminal facility, fulfilment centres and transportation services, complemented by robust technology platforms and a global partner network, enable us to meet the fast-growing demands of the ecommerce industry.
How would you describe the cargo sector in the Middle East?
Overall, air cargo volumes within the Middle East have declined by 6 % year-on-year (yoy) according to reports published by IATA. In comparison, volumes shipped globally fell by 4% compared to 2018. One of the main reasons for the weaker performance over the last year is the current trade war between China and the U.S. which has been going on for more than a year now.
An interesting development is that Africa has been growing by 3% yoy, and this stretches across practically all African countries. This is of great importance for us as we are developing the African trade lanes.
Despite the worldwide recent downturn, the future looks quite promising for the air cargo sector. Global air cargo volume is expected to double within the next 20 years with an increase of freighter fleets by up to 70%, according to World Air Cargo Forecast. The Middle East is in a good position to serve the increasing demand of moving cargo from the East to the West and vice versa by freighter fleets. Several of the world’s largest airlines are based in MEA such as Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad Airlines.
Major industry investments of the future will be in the development of technology and ecommerce capabilities. While other industries have been heavily focussing on technology in recent years, the logistics sector has taken a while to catch up. This is now changing. Customers request more visibility and accuracy along their supply chains. Freight forwarders and logistics service providers are now looking into improving and speeding up their service portfolios by applying latest technologies.
Ecommerce business within the GCC region is expected to growth to US$ 24 billion by 2022 mainly driven by service optimization of last mile delivery, fulfilment, returns and supply centres, as well as business blocks. Dubai is already supporting the ecommerce sector on a big scale. Dubai South is investing in the appropriate infrastructure and set-up to facilitate moving cargo between the seaport Jebel Ali and Al Maktoum International Airport airport, a distance of 20 km within the same free zone.
Can you tell us about RSA National?
Company formation, joint venture
RSA National is a joint venture (JV) formed in 2017 between RSA Global, a Dubai based freight forwarding and supply chain management company, and National Air Cargo, a US based freight forwarding provider with an own airline called National Airlines. National Air Cargo’s strength in delivering global wide reliable air and ocean freight solutions complements RSA Global’s dependable and flexible contract logistics, transport and distribution services. The JV offers best in class warehousing and 3PL services to customers specialized in air freight, multimodal and contract logistics.
Your mission, products & services
RSA National’s mission is to solve multimodal challenges for a better tomorrow. This means delivering world class freight and logistics services that are compliant, fast, and customized, with high viability and no compromise for our customers.
Our main products and services comprise of freight forwarding, contract logistics, air charter, odd sized shipments, aviation AOG, project logistics, customs clearance, last-mile delivery and value-added services such as picking, packing, labelling and relabelling. We provide our solutions to customers from all kind of industries including ecommerce, perishables, valuables, hazmat, retail, government and humanitarian services.
How does the market benefit from your offering?
With our state-of-the-art facility in Dubai equipped with the latest technology, our local expertise and global wide network, RSA National, a boutique integrator, provides customers best in class contract logistics, temperature-controlled, end-to-end international freight solutions, local transportation and distribution services out of Dubai. Our strategic location in what’s known as the Dubai Logistics Corridor (between Al Maktoum International Airport and Jebel Ali Port) shortens lead times and accelerates our customers’ supply chains due to short distances between relevant logistics touch points and facilities. Our in-house customs clearance set-up allows us to process shipments clearance and procurement quickly, further creating efficiencies for our clients. In addition, we apply the highest international safety and security standards benefitting, particularly, our customers shipping pharmaceuticals, DG or luxury items.
What benefits does your international network offer the ecommerce supply chain?
Our extensive international network covering MEA, China, Europe and the US enables us to offer our clients end-to-end ecommerce solutions comprising:
• First mile transportation
• Customs clearance
• Last mile delivery
We have been able to provide our clients with different shipping options due to their specific needs including air and ocean freight as well as courier services effectively reducing their transaction costs. As said earlier, Dubai plays an important role in the development of ecommerce business as it is becoming the distribution hub for shipments going into Middle East, Asia & Africa Region. For that reason, we are able to leverage our warehouse facilities in Dubai South, and consolidate and dispatch parcels to their final destinations, further reducing costs for our customers.
What do you consider the main opportunities and challenges currently facing the cargo industry in the Middle East?
Growing trade with China and the development of Africa’s economy are significant opportunities. 22% of Arab-Chinese trade goes to the UAE and 30% of China’s exports to the Arab world goes through the UAE. In addition, China is the world’s largest ecommerce market handling more than 40% of global transactions. Meanwhile, Africa was reported to have had the fastest growth rates in internet penetration in 2018 and is expected to be a highly lucrative ecommerce consumer market in the future. As the demand for ecommerce rises, the need for transport and logistics services increase as well.
We also see an increased demand for temperature-controlled supply chain management. The lack of appropriate service equipment and facilities cause huge annual losses for the biopharma industry.
The rapid rise of ecommerce also poses a potential challenge. Logistics companies must prepare well and get the right infrastructure in place to be able to catch up with the demanding requirements and high expectations of the ecommerce market, reaching a much wider geographical radius than ever before whilst constantly having to reduce delivery times.
Another challenge is the high fragmentation of the logistics market and many newcomers entering the market making this industry highly competitive. As a logistics company you need to constantly innovative and differentiate yourself in order to stay relevant and competitive in the market you operate in.
Finally, current political circumstances bear challenges as they create uncertainty and impact international trade negatively. Both Brexit and the trade tensions between the US and China have contributed to declining new export orders.
How is RSA National in particular, preparing to meet these opportunities and challenges?
At RSA Global and National we constantly innovate, improve and develop our service-portfolios. We make sure to hire the right talent who share our company vision and steer the company towards the right direction. We heavily invest in technology in order to make our working processes more efficient and transparent. In addition, we aim to provide our customers with more visibility and better experience journeys when working with us.
A special focus is currently on supplying the ecommerce industry and optimizing our service portfolio according to the industry’s logistics requirements. The convenient location of RSA National is crucial when it comes to efficiently catering to the rapid ecommerce market.
In order to develop the UAE-China and African trade lanes, we have recently opened a branch in HK. In addition, we have formed strategic partnerships that give us access to 40 countries including a wide set-up in China. The objective is to create a holistic ecommerce fulfilment hub for customers in China and the UAE fulfilling orders for the Middle East and African continent. The new hub proposes an integrated solution that simplifies the acceptance, consolidation and shipping of merchandise, with superior technology platforms that provide visibility along the entire process. Through this solution, we will meet the growing logistics needs of sellers from China while enabling millions of customers in the Middle East and Africa to gain access to a more global selection of products.
Our extensive cold chain set-up consisting of several temperature-controlled warehouse facilities and trucks enable us to cater well to the growing supply chain demand of the pharmaceutical industry, another focus industry of RSA National.
Why is it important for RSA National to be part of Cargo Connect?
The Cargo Connect is a crucial industry event and gathering of the Middle East Region. We want to participate in order to meet leading industry players, network, exchange experiences and ideas with them, as well as learn about and get inspired by latest regional and international industry developments.
Moreover, we intend to present RSA National as well as RSA Global, introduce our set-up and services to a broad audience, increase brand awareness, foster our customer relationships and further develop our business by exploring new opportunities.
What activities do you have planned for your stand at Cargo Connect?
One idea is to arrange info and Q/A sessions where our logistics specialists will talk about current logistics challenges faced by our customers, present solutions, as well as answer the questions of the audience. In addition, we would like to present our new terminal facility, its extensive capacity and its operations. We plan to arrange customer on-site visits to foster our relationships and discuss further business opportunities. We also plan to showcase innovative features at our booth which we don’t want to reveal at this stage.