The Business Year

KW23_TR_DHLGlobalForwarding_FirasSukkar_PORTRAIT

KUWAIT - Transport

Firas Sukkar

DHL Global Forwarding, Kuwait, Country Manager

Bio

Firas Sukkar is the Country Manager of DHL Global Forwarding of Kuwait, having assumed leadership for DGF, MISNAK, AGILITY, and UPS-SCS in the MEA region. He has over 25 years of experience running multi-functional tasks that support freight forwarding, transportation, and project logistics as well as extensive experience related to operating government contracts, having worked with Kuwait customs to modernize and automate operations and procedures under multinational (WTO, WCO, and GATT) bilateral trade agreements. Sukkar has worked for over five years in Iraq from 2014-2019 as country manager of Misnak International Heavy Lifting & Move Services. Sukkar holds an MSCM from Robert Kennedy College, University of Salford.

Technology has tremendous potential to improve operations for shippers and freight forwarders.

Firas Sukkar, Country Manager of DHL Global Forwarding, Kuwait, talks to TBY about being focused on harnessing globalization, e-commerce, digitalization, and sustainability to ensure the profitable long-term growth.

What tools and technologies is DHL Global Forwarding taking advantage of to ensure the highest quality of service?

Firas Sukkar: Technology has tremendous potential to improve operations for shippers and freight forwarders; more so during unpredictable times such as the pandemic and its subsequent recovery period. It can simplify daily business, giving logistics customers greater control over shipments. It is against this challenging climate that we are convinced that our group’s strategy 2025 to focus on digitalization as one of its pillars is the right one. In early 2020, we launched myDHLi—the only fully integrated online platform for freight forwarding customers, to access online services for full shipment visibility and control on a single platform. myDHLi provides complete visibility in the management of freight rates, offers, transport modes, carbon emissions, and all other relevant shipment data. The highly intuitive interface makes it easy to use and ensures that customers have all relevant information at hand. It also features common social media functions like follow and share, and relevant information can be easily accessed across organizations and shared with trading partners. We have also fully rolled out Saloodo! our digital road freight solution platform, in the region, to inject greater transparency, real time visibility, and efficiency to the regional road network. Saloodo! enables shippers to identify trusted and reliable freight carriers, and in turn, help carriers manage existing fleets and optimize capacity with full-truckload shipments.

How does the organization strive to create such a positive employee experience?

Firas Sukkar: With our broad geographic set-up and comprehensive portfolio of logistics solutions, DHL Global Forwarding’s business model is resilient, especially in the face of adversity. Our top priority has been the health and safety of our employees, ensuring that they maintain their livelihoods and continue to meet our customers’ needs. Gaining new perspectives in terms of team collaboration, communication, trust, and adaptability are key. Recognizing an often-unexpressed need for emotional support, we adopted virtual engagement tools and platforms to continue connecting and communicating internally and externally. Newsletters and a Connect app on the intranet, where the DHL team can post messages, share pictures and videos, and keep in touch with coworkers, keeps morale high. These open lines of communication with our staff have proven to show higher engagement levels. Moreover, to adapt to the flexible work environment, we leveraged existing technology to maintain close contact with employees and continue to promote effective flexible work arrangements.

What is DHL Global Forwarding’s perspective on Kuwait’s aspirations to become a stronger logistics hub in the region?

Firas Sukkar: Kuwait has set forth several initiatives such as the New Kuwait 2035 reform program, which will help in the development of the country’s logistics sector. One area would be the improvement of custom procedures, rules, and regulations that would reduce the transit time of goods and, in turn, raise the efficiency of customs. The program also seeks to improve logistics coordination and will involve the building of a single electronic platform for interaction among the various government bodies, which is in step with DHL’s push for digitalization as part of its Strategy 2025. Additionally, the Kuwait Port Authorities ‘Logistics Cities’ Project, one of the country’s largest national development projects within the logistics sector, has the potential to enhance Kuwait’s connectivity, further consolidate its position as an increasingly important hub in the region and facilitate trade and investment flows. This project will invigorate job creation in Kuwait’s logistics sector, a crucial pillar in Kuwait’s economic diversification efforts. Kuwait’s position as an attractive investment destination is being enhanced by recent investments in infrastructure, aligned with the government’s New Kuwait 2035 agenda. It is for these reasons that we strongly believe in the potential of Kuwait’s economy. Moving forward, DHL aims to support the government’s efforts, by helping companies navigate complex border procedures, customs clearance processes, and transportation infrastructure to facilitate international trade and fuel Kuwait’s economic growth.

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