LEBANON - Transport
CEO, Net Holding
Mourad Aoun has over 25 years’ experience in sales management, leadership, and strategic development. He started Net Holding in 1994 by representing the international express network, Skynet Worldwide Express. The group grew to own and manage 12 subsidiaries in the express and freight forwarding industry in the Middle East. Mourad has a BA in Economics and a Master’s degree in Marketing from Saint Joseph University, along with a Finance for Senior Executives qualification from Harvard Business School.
Our group counts over 12 companies rolled into a legal and statutory structure. We run two independent companies, one engaged in express (Net Express) and the other in logistics (Net Logistics), both subsidiaries of Net Holding. Additionally, Net Holding includes Net Manager, an IT company powering the Group’s IT infrastructure and moving into IT solutions development. We are developing innovative software solutions mapped onto the concept of express in a global dimension. Our multi-branch mail distribution, management, and tracking software, which was specifically developed for financial institutions, has been adopted by Bank Audi, a leading bank in Lebanon.
In the express industry, we experienced growth of 20% in 2013, a good figure considering the geopolitical situation. A number of logistics strategies had to be changed, for example, we used to have a regular truck coming from Dubai to Lebanon called a Time-Definite Trucking Service. Due to the situation in Syria Time-Definite Trucking had to be replaced by active airfreight from Dubai into Lebanon—a substantial transformation in our business model from a logistics point of view. Overall, Net Logistics has shifted to ocean freight for most logistics into and out of the GCC, and this is where we saw considerable TEU growth in exports.
The company has been growing at a rate of 30% to 35% over the past three years.
The unique position of Net Holding is that we have our feet in both industries—express, and freight forwarding and logistics. Other companies are either express or freight forwarders. This is where we get our edge, as a single-point solutions provider.
The storage facility that we have in the free zone has not grown, as we are not concentrating on warehousing or 3PL, as other companies are. We are focused on cargo flow in and out of the Levant. In Lebanon, Net Logistics is growing its business on the basis of exports in TEUs, and on imports in the absence of a road network. In Iraq, market development is extremely interesting. The transit business between Lebanon and Iraq is not happening due to the situation in Syria, but many businesses coming into Iraq from Jordan and Turkey are counter balancing that.
We are getting more involved in the oil and gas sector in Iraq and this has brought additional business to the organization, along with additional expertise.
We are positioning ourselves with the major IOCs, making sure they become familiar with our capabilities and expertise. We already know that many are interested in exploration in Lebanon.
Our infrastructure in Syria has not changed, and we are always ready to service the country. Consumption continues, regardless of the conflict. There are many new flows of humanitarian aid coming into the country that need effective logistics solutions.
Abiding by the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) is important for us. We are a compliant company and our work and contracts reflect it. This is a prerequisite for working with multinationals looking for suppliers that can provide them with adequate operational transparency, which is what we focus on most. In terms of potential for future oil and gas projects, logistics companies must realize that they will only secure contracts if they are compliant and reliable.
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