Aramex seeks to expand in Asia



Transport and logistics group Aramex plans to expand into Asian markets that are experiencing unprecedented growth, says its CEO.

The company believes that by enlarging its footprint in Asia it will be able to position itself among the top five global players in the transport and logistics industry.

Earlier this week, the company said revenues for the period ending March 31, 2008 increased by 24 per cent to Dh494.4 million, rising from Dh399.6m posted in 2007.

“We are rolling out an aggressive expansion programme in the next 12 months that will predominantly target the booming Asian market,” said Fadi Ghandour, who founded the company in 1982.

“For a company achieving between 25 and 30 per cent growth the best way to do better is to acquire more facilities and expand in lucrative markets.

“We already have a strong presence in Asian countries and the acquisition of a major company there will expand our operations in these countries and open up markets in other Asian states. Commercial activities are increasing in the region and we want to benefit.”

But Dubai-based Aramex is not neglecting its core regional market, says Ghandour. The company will invest more than Dh700m over the next two years in expanding its facilities and making new acquisitions in the Middle East.

The company has invested Dh150m in a 240,000 square metre facility at Dubai Logistics City and the first phase, measuring 70,000 square metres, will be completed by the end of 2009.

Meanwhile, the construction of the second phase of the flagship logistics facility at Jebel Ali Free Zone is nearing completion. The warehousing complex, which will eventually measure 25,000 sqm, has been designed to provide a centralised hub for Aramex’s key markets throughout the Middle East.

Ghandour was speaking at Wednesday’s opening of Aramex’s Dh55m Infofort facility at Jebel Ali Free Zone.

The complex is the largest documentation centre in the Middle East and is equipped with the most up-to-date technology.

The 20,000sq m, three-level compound has 12,000sq m of warehousing space and 4,500sq m of temperature-controlled space.

It has a capacity of more than 1.5 million boxes and 12 million files and is designed to serve InfoFort’s expanding document management client base, which includes banks, financial institutions, insurance firms, media and telecommunication companies and hospitals.

The centre is equipped with sophisticated safety and security systems to ensure confidentiality and has advanced scanning and sorting capabilities.

Aramex acquired InfoFort in 2005 and has benefited from a trend towards the outsourcing of the management of data storage.

“Document management is an industry poised for major growth across the region as more companies emerge,” said Ghandour. “This investment signals our long-term commitment to the document management business and strengthens our position as a provider of business solutions.”

InfoFort Managing Director Georges Harfouche said: “Firms in the region are becoming increasingly sophisticated and InfoFort is ideally placed to help them manage the growing complexity of their businesses and protect their confidentiality in a secure environment.”

The new facility’s reach will extend across the Middle East through InfoFort’s network of records management centres in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar.

The facility will enable Aramex to consolidate most of its documentation centres across Dubai – apart from the Al Quoz one – into a single facility. The Sharjah and Abu Dhabi centres will also remain open.