Hellmann bucks downward trends; expands in the region.
Opening new offices in Egypt and Oman makes the company’s performance a standout in a challenging landscape
Global logistics service provider Hellmann Worldwide Logistics is expanding and has entered new markets in the Middle East. After launching operations in Oman last summer, the company has now also inaugurated its first branch in Egypt. The inauguration was recently conducted via a virtual ceremony.
With market entry in these two strategically important Middle East and South Asia (MESA) countries,
Hellmann is expanding its regional network with the aim to acquire new customer groups and business fields in
the Middle East.
Hellmann has been present in the MESA region since 1999 and has since grown steadily to become the leading logistics service provider across multiple industry verticals including automotive, healthcare, chemical, FMCG and
fashion. With a total of 80 locations and cumulative warehouse space of over 2.2million sqft, Hellmann currently
employs over 1,800 staff in the region.
Comprehensive portfolio Hellmann covers the entire product portfolio via the Egyptian head office in Cairo, with the national operation primarily handling imports from Europe, North America and Asia. At the same time, the new location serves as a gateway to COMESA—Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (the largest regional economic organization in Africa, with 19 member states and a population of about 400 million) and Middle East countries, especially for automotive, healthcare, FMCG, and fashion customers.
Furthermore, in order to sustainably develop the strategically important and economically strong Egyptian market,
Hellmann plans to open two additional operational locations in the country’s growing and strategically important
ports of Port Sokhna and Alexandria in October of this year (2021).
Already in July 2020, Hellmann pursued its expansion in the Middle East with the opening of several operational and administrative branches in the Sultanate of Oman. The aim is to establish a seamless supply chain in the Middle East and to have an increasing presence in the strong economy of Oman, which is also an important trading partner for the neighboring Gulf States.
“The investments in Egypt and Oman clearly show the strategic importance of the region for Hellmann as a global company and the potential we see here,” commented Reiner Heiken, Chief Executive Officer, Hellmann Worldwide Logistics. “In recent years, Hellmann has already established itself as a market leader in the MESA region, especially in the automotive and healthcare logistics sectors, but increasingly also in e-commerce business. The expansion into Egypt and Oman marks another decisive step for our growth path in the Middle East and North Africa,” affirmed Madhav Kurup, Regional CEO—MESA, Hellmann Worldwide Logistics.
Germany-headquartered Hellmann Worldwide Logistics has had a Middle East South Asia regional presence
since 1999. Global Supply Chain conducted an exclusive interview with Madhav Kurup, the long-serving CEO, MESA Region, on the occasion of the announcement of the company’s inroads into Egypt and Oman.
Kurup is the quintessential senior Hellman official with over a decade of service with the company. He spoke expansively on a wide range of subjects, the current industry scenario, the company’s resilience, the present
challenges and opportunities and his vision for the future Global Supply Chain (GSC): The year 2020 has been unprecedented and like no other with the onset and continuity of the pandemic. What is your brief assessment of the impact of the pandemic on your business to date and your performance in 2020?
Madhav Kurup (MK): As a global logistics provider, the impact that occurred over 2020 and even in Q1-2021 has been staggering with various challenges from enabling a safe work environment for our people operating in our offices and warehouses, border challenges, to space capacity on air and sea.
With a drop in fashion and automotive, other industries such as healthcare and FMCG certainly correspondingly
increased in volumes. With skilled personnel across our organization we were pleased that we did not release any
staff members due to an impact of the pandemic, and I am proud to confirm that we actually hired personnel across
the region for our business growth that we supported and in 2020 we are pleased that we were also above budget.
GSC: How significant is the role of Hellmann Calipar Healthcare Logistics in the present context?
MK: Our specific Healthcare JV in the UAE had changed working operations to support the additional volumes as well as keeping in within local regulations.
The teams also created new solutions to support our customers where many direct options had ceased due to
passenger flight aircraft capacity reducing from alternative air to air options or Air Charter support not just for PPE, but also other important Healthcare lines. We have been fortunate in the UAE that strict protocols at the start, which enabled a shorter lock down compared to other countries around the world, with continued proper control by the UAE Government had allowed functions to operate in safety for logistical activities via the UAE.
This implies that Hellmann Calipar Healthcare UAE was also able to support not just our UAE customers,
but in addition to our other Hellmann International customers in providing solutions to ensure products arrived
safely and swiftly to the country required.
GSC: How important is now the Pharma-Cold Chain logistics sector within the wider Hellmann Logistics
MK: Healthcare is one of Hellmann largest industry sector specialized industry focus globally; whereby we provide solutions across the world, led by skilled healthcare logistics professionals from solution to product experts. We have in addition created a global Covid-19 specialized taskforce that is supporting countries and organizations
on the deployment of our resources. We are pleased that in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia region we
have supported movements despite pandemic disruptions by virtue of being a member of the UAE Hope Consortium.
GSC: How significant is the region for Hellmann Worldwide Logistics?
MK: Hellmann Middle East, North Africa and South Asia having a professional and experienced team of more than 1,900 personnel covering all solutions with Sea/Air via Dubai, a strong warehousing footprint in majority of countries, with specialized teams from healthcare, automotive, fashion, FMCG, chemical and Oil & Gas projects.
Our track record is good with strong employer staff retention and we have been growing proudly year after year and
supporting all global strategies, and in many cases have been at the forefront on developments and continuous
GSC: Hellmann Worldwide Logistics as recently announced expansion in Egypt and in the Sultanate of Oman
with the inauguration of new offices. Give us the lowdown on how these two countries have fared to date?
MK: We are pleased that towards end of 2020 opening in Oman and within March 2021 opening in Egypt greatly
strengthens our regional solutions for our customers with our own office/warehouse solutions.
Within Oman we have opened offices in Muscat and Sohar, and for Egypt our first stage opening in Cairo is complete along with full customs brokerage solutions. Frankly we were careful in our first year planning on these new countries; however the positive leadership in the country and supporting functions from the regional office in Dubai has allowed us to perform beyond our expectations. We are pleased with the accomplishments of our people following which our performance inQ1-2021 has been very positive.
GSC: What does this imply in real terms and how does it strengthen your regional network?
MK: Whilst Hellmann has had agency representation in these countries for many years, it was a very tough decision
to replace our agents with our own operations, however the time had meant that in order to create a full business end-to-end solution for key customers that we had to open our own operations in these very important countries within the Middle East.