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SAUDI ARABIA - Transport

AbdulAziz Busbate

Country Manager, DHL


AbdulAziz Busbate is the first Saudi national to be the Country Manager for DHL Express Saudi Arabia. The appointment comes as part of DHL Express Saudi Arabia’s ongoing commitment and efforts to support the Saudization objectives of the Vision 2030 program. He brings a wealth of logistics expertise and experience to the new role. After joining DHL in 2000 as Territory Manager, he rose through the ranks holding progressive responsibilities in various sales and customer solutions roles. The previous positions during his distinguished career at the company include Global Customer Solutions Manager, National Customer Sales Manager, Eastern Regional Sales Manager and National Sales Manager. Most recently, he was Country Manager for the Kingdom of Bahrain. Under his leadership, the company achieved significant growth and shining milestones. Bahrain was awarded as the best country of the year and the most improved country for several years among other DHL markets.

“The logistics industry in Saudi Arabia and within the region is extremely promising, and we have many plans to grow in line with that demand.”
TBY talks to AbdulAziz Busbate, Country Manager of DHL, about growth plans, digital transformation, and priorities for the next six months.
What are DHL’s plans and strategies to maintain its growth, and what innovations do you expect to introduce?

The logistics industry in Saudi Arabia and within the region is extremely promising, and we have many plans to grow in line with that demand. From a facility perspective, we operate in Saudi through five gateways. We have two dedicated aircraft that feed the country on a daily basis to Riyadh and Jeddah; all of them travel out of Bahrain. Our central hub is in Leipzig, Germany; therefore, we also have flights coming from Leipzig to Bahrain, as well as from the US and East Asia. We recently upgraded our network and also have a dedicated aircraft from Hong Kong that goes via Bahrain, because the regional hub is centralized in Bahrain. After that, all the shipments go to Riyadh and Jeddah. Currently, we are upgrading our facility in Riyadh by increasing our footprint and preparing our operations center. These developments are necessary as the volume is growing when it comes to imports into the country. COVID-19 spurred a massive growth in business. Before COVID-19, B2B operations were principal, and now our business is being diverted to B2C. However, we continue to give B2B the proper focus. We want to take advantage of the booming of the oil industry in Saudi Arabia. We want the B2B and the B2C businesses to be equivalent. We are growing heavily and looking at other sectors such as manufacturing, high-tech, and entertainment. We are part of a number of entertainment activities happening in Riyadh by being the logistics partner, moving and storing all kinds of materials for these businesses. Thus, strategic plans are focused on developing our Riyadh capability and having our aircrafts land in Dammam to enhance our network, especially to move the outbound via Bahrain or Riyadh. On top that, we will continue to focus on the people and their safety. During our weekly meetings, our first opening topic is about the pandemic and the strategy to deal with it. DHL is focusing heavily on engaging with its employees.

How has DHL leveraged digital transformation and technology to streamline its daily operations?

DHL has invested heavily to ensure the entire team is equipped and has the technology to deliver the best to its customers and clients within the Kingdom. The pandemic was an difficult experience, but we managed it in phases. The entire team was fully equipped to do its job remotely. From a technology perspective, we first upgraded our network capability in the Kingdom, because as a global company we have a network connected to different countries. To prevent challenges from an import perspective, we upgraded our system and network. On top of that, we focused on further integrating and engaging with our customers by developing tools. We focused on doing away with physical interactions when it comes to ordering and tracking a shipment, as well as pick-ups and deliveries, which can all be done through the system. Overall, digitalization is a focus for us on a global level.

What are your plans and strategies to develop B2B business, and what other expansion projects do you have in the Kingdom?

The key for success is investing in network. In 2010, we depended on the Riyadh causeway, so DHL management decided to invest heavily and opened the Dammam facility, as well as Riyadh and Jeddah gateways. We continue to invest and review the whole scenario and how it will reflect our business. Thus, now we are investing in a new major location in the north of Riyadh to serve Riyadh. This will support our B2B business development. We are also upgrading our fleets by adding a number of aircrafts to enhance our capability and network and launching them globally. Investing in aircraft and fleets is our backbone to ensure a solid network and grow. Thanks to our network, DHL did not face any challenges during the pandemic, and deliveries were done in time no matter where the package came from. We are committed to offering high-efficiency of service quality to our customers and having the best and quickest transit time within Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is an import country. We have a large number of inbound shipments coming from all over the world, so we are a key player to the network.

What are your priorities for the next six months?

Regarding the business, we want to achieve our KPIs, control costs, and have more engagement with our staff. We have a number of activities and initiatives to have our staff engaged. We are also developing a team, especially with locals. More than 50% of our staff are Saudis. In Bahrain, we have a number of programs such as a management training and development program. We are selecting some of the team members from here after their graduation. This program develops and grows their managerial level and targets both men and women. Women represent 10% of our staff but DHL is aiming to reach 50%.



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