Positive Middle East Change Expected

Bolloré Logistics Regional CEO Expresses ‘Optimism’

Anticipated “very positive change” in the Middle East region is expected to propel Bolloré Logistics’ operations for 2019.

Philippe Lortal, chief executive of Bolloré Logistics for the Middle East and South Asia, told Breakbulk that he was very excited about the Saudi region and projects being planned under Saudi Vision 2030, as well as project work involved in final preparations for Dubai, Expo 2020.

He acknowledged that the situation in Iraq, Yemen and Syria is “difficult,” but added that he is “optimistic” that 2019 will bring “very positive change in the region.”

“There is negotiation in Yemen and the situation is improving, and will continue to improve, in Syria. We are established in Jordan, and Jordan will be one of the main gates to Syria and to Iraq. If the situation improves in the region, in Syria and in Iraq, we can expect double-digit growth in the coming years,” he said.

Lortal added that Bolloré Logistics expects to continue its growth in the aerospace sector, and that recovery of the hospitality and luxury industries is anticipated. There are also some renewable ventures in Lortal’s domain, mostly in South Asia, with India spending much on renewable developments.

Digitizing Operations

On an operational level, Bolloré Logistics, a French-headquartered company covering five world regions, is digitizing its supply chain processes to speed up processing and improve transparency for customers. However, Lortal said this digital transformation will not be at the expense of a continued focus on people.

“Companies tend to … try to implement stuff without taking the human side into consideration,” Lortal said. “For us, this is a key angle in terms of digitization and innovation in general — keeping up with the human in the middle of everything.”

Bolloré Logistics is one of few breakbulk and project cargo companies to have achieved authorized economic operator status in Dubai, with Lortal explaining that the designation will mean “better service, smoother clearance and less physical documentation” for customers.

He added: “It will increase the speed and the quality of service, and internally, it’s also an opportunity for us to put in place new standard operating terms and to improve … our process.”

Lortal also discussed the company’s human resources at Breakbulk Middle East, explaining that Bolloré Logistics has a culture of taking people on and retaining them through training.

“When we look at the seniority of the staff, I think we are a very, very special group,” he said. “On average, people stay almost 10 years in the group before moving forward.”

“Locally, we are really focused on diversity also,” Lortal added. There are more than 20 nationalities within the company’s staff in Dubai and there is a goal to reach a 50:50 ratio of men and women.

“We can see very well-trained young Emiratis coming to the private sector, including our sector in transport and logistics, and this is quite good for us,” he said. “They are bringing with them the local culture and we welcome them on board.”