Sunday, March 9, 2008

Doing in Business in Middle East

Fadi Ghandour, founder of Aramex

So where do you think he learned the art of entrepreneurship? You guessed it right- in USA.

Delivery companies are consolidating
“WE ARE competing with giants,” says Fadi Ghandour. The Jordanian businessman has first-hand experience of consolidation in the logistics business. He is chief executive of ARAMEX International, which began life as the Middle East partner of a number of American delivery companies. Partnerships and alliances allow operators to link with others to provide services in places where they have no operations of their own. All went well until 2003, when DHL bought Airborne Express, ARAMEX's chief partner in America. The deal gave DHL a way to compete in the backyard of UPS and FedEx. But for ARAMEX it meant its link to the crucial American market was cut.

To restore it, Mr Ghandour set out his own strategy of alliances and acquisitions, replicating what his big rivals were doing. ARAMEX now offers a delivery service to more than 190 countries. Last year it was listed on the Dubai stock exchange. The company is continuing to buy local operators, and recent acquisitions include logistics firms in Ireland, Britain and Egypt. “There are always entrepreneurs out there,” says Mr Ghandour. “We are never going to be left without a real partner.”

ARAMEX illustrates how local markets present their own, often unique opportunities for logistics companies. ARAMEX's services range from the secure delivery of credit cards and legal documents to delivering goods and accepting payments for users of, an Arab version of eBay. The company also offers a “shop and ship” service for people buying things in America, especially online. Although international deliveries have become easy, some American companies and traders on eBay will not ship goods overseas. ARAMEX helps out Middle East shopaholics by providing them with addresses in America to which goods can be shipped. It then couriers the items to the buyers.

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