Leslie McCune: TALKE was one of the first European 3PLs to enter the high-growth Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, comprising Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain. How, and where, has it developed?
Richard Heath: Having started in Saudi Arabia, we progressively developed business in all GCC member states, with the exception of Kuwait. Kuwait has not presented any real opportunities for us so far but we are, of course, keen to fly all the GCC’s flags. We started with the first outsourcing of on-site plastics logistics at petrochemical producer, Tasnee, in Saudi Arabia. Then, as the benefits of outsourced logistics became clear, there was significant growth of the logistics outsourcing concept. Our group now handles more than 10 million tonnes a year in the region. It has become even more interesting now that the speciality chemicals market has started to develop. The largest part of our GCC business is related to materials handling and we are now able to bring in our expertise in liquids, particularly drumming
and services for tank containers. The on-site outsourcing concept has now also been deployed for liquids and we are currently handling three different sites in Saudi Arabia. At these sites, we load and unload tank containers, have drumming facilties and even operate a pastillation unit (which granulates liquid products).
LM: Are there any unique challenges posed by joint ventures in the region?
RH: A joint venture anywhere in the world poses challenges if there are differences in business ethics, lack of alignment on targets, etc. The key element is to take enough time to get to know your partner and make clear professional....................... July 8, 2015