MOROCCO - Transport
Country Manager, DACHSER Maroc
A graduate of Toulouse Business School, M’Hamed Chraïbi started his professional career in Europe with large industrial companies, where he held the position of operational director. Thanks to his logistics know-how and managerial skills, he joined DACHSER Morocco in 2011, taking over the management of the Mohammedia agency, then of the southern economic zone before being appointed country director in 2018.
What challenges did DACHSER Morocco face during the pandemic, and how did it overcome them?
The pandemic was a challenge for us all. From mid-March to the end of May, there was an important impact on sales turnover, mainly for international activity. DACHSER Morocco manage the entire supply chain: from road, air, sea logistics to warehousing and customs. Since the shutdown was international, everything came to a halt. Therefore, our first priority was to guarantee sanitary safety and to take care of our employees. We invested in face masks, hand sanitizers, PCR tests, and so on to equip them well. Our second priority was to ensure the continuity of our services and to maintain partnerships with our customers. It was important for us, as a reliable logistics service provider, to keep the supply chain channel open to continue the procurement of consuming goods, and we succeeded. During Ramadan, a period of high consumption, there was no stock shortage. We have been able to succeed thanks to the commitment and resilience of our teams and the strength and reliability of our integrated network of transport and logistics branches.
What is your assessment now?
What was exceptional was the movement created among the community, the Moroccan administration, and companies. During the first lockdown, there was an upsurge in teamwork, and administration was streamlined. During the second lockdown, some sectors resumed their activities quicker than others. For example, all logistics, storage, order preparation, and domestic transport stakeholders restarted faster than other sectors. Slowly, the international transport sector started the recovery, including the airline sector having been the slowest of all due to the global shutdown. For 2021, a big market rebound was expected though it is still difficult to see its effects. It is only at the end of 2021 that the beginning of a positive recovery has being perceived. However, shipment rates in air and sea considerably increased, bringing with it consequences. All the small organizations that did not have the financial capacity to keep up suffered damages, and the market worked in favor of those stakeholders with stronger bases.
What was the impact of the increase in maritime shipping?
We purchase space from maritime companies, and we resell it to our customers. However, the prices of these spaces were multiplied in some cases by 10. Inevitably, this price raise does not allow fragile organizations to survive, and the market is consolidating. Another impact of this raise was truly defining logistical agility, meaning finding individual solutions for our customers. For example, today we are able to transport via road and railway between China and Morocco with reasonable transit time. By ship, a container takes more than 60 days to travel from China to Morocco, while a truck or a train will take 25 to 30 days.
Over the past year and a half, we have witnessed numerous innovations in the logistics sector. What impact has the digitalization of processes had on DACHSER?
The impact is linked mainly to customs administration. Indeed, we have to applaud the outstanding achievements in this field. With the restrictions and COVID-19, the fact that customs accelerated digitalization allowed us to have a better pre-COVID-19 level of service. Before this digitalization, a customer had to go onsite, three or four times, complete documentation, and wait for significant periods of time. Now, all the information exchange and declarations are carried out via PortNet. This also enables the digitalization of validation workflow with different external stakeholders.
DACHSER has a base of operations within Tanger Med port. How important is Tanger Med to DACHSER’s operations?
Tanger Med is one of the treasures of the Moroccan logistics strategy. We decided to establish ourselves there in 2016-2017, because it is an area located before the customs area, which facilitates various operations. There are also several other multinational companies established there to supply the North African, West African, and South European market. Tanger Med is a consolidation and deconsolidation point of goods that can come from Asia, America, or Europe. It is also a place to keep supplier stocks in advance to lower the supply period: only a few hours as opposed to a few weeks. Another potential of Tanger Med is the creation of the added value with the competitive Moroccan workforce. In January 2020, we extended the Tanger Med platform to 5 500 sqm, because we believe in using Morocco as a distribution platform for West Africa.
In May, the New Development Model was announced and aims to modernize all sectors of the Moroccan economy. What do you think of the goals of this model?
They are ambitious and necessary objectives. Regarding our sector, there is a great deal of work to be done, for both private companies and associations. The Moroccan logistics costs are fairly high, with steps that could be minimized and centralized. We have to think about the future and lower the costs for companies and clients by accelerating consolidation. We should also accelerate training because it is important to find people who are qualified and know about logistics.
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