Panalpina is a respected brand in the logistics world. As one of the leading suppliers of forwarding and logistics services, the company operates around 500 branches in over 80 countries worldwide. Veteran executors of end-to-end supply chain management solutions and intercontinental air and ocean freight shipments, Panalpina’s own mantra, ‘Passion for Solutions’, perfectly sums up the vision and growth strategy of this logistics giant. It is this same passion that has been the driving force behind its commitment to take supply chain management solutions to a whole new level.
For the region’s logistics industry, having such a hot contender in the market place has been good for competition. With its high standards and years of experience, Panalpina Middle East has ground its footprint into the region’s landscape – promising more innovative and efficiency-driven supply chain solutions in the years to come. The Panalpina Group has often referred to the Middle East as a ‘linchpin between continents’ and it is easy to see why. Geographically located as a convenient hub between trading continents, the region has held a magnetic draw for leading logistics players for many years now.
Backed by forward-thinking leadership, the emirate of Dubai has paved the way for logistics innovation and growth in the region. Not surprisingly, this was Panalpina’s first port of call back in 1992 and is now the home of its Middle East headquarters. The firm has spread across the region, with offices in the neighbouring Emirate of Sharjah, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait.
“The main industries in this part of the world have always been closely aligned to some of our core competencies – oil and gas projects, logistics and the hi-tech side,” says Claus Schmidt, Panalpina’s Middle East managing director. “We recognised that we needed a regional hub in place to service these opportunities and to meet the needs of our clients here.” Traditionally, it was the oil and gas industry that provided the mainstay of Panalpina’s earlier work in the region. Although this remains an important market segment for the company today, diversifying its portfolio has been a key element of its current success. When the recession left targets unmet, Panalpina bounced back with new targets and contracts.
With many ambitious business plans, both in terms of geographical expansion and targeted market segment growth, the company is now looking to leave the effects of the global recession far behind. “We certainly felt the effects of the recession in 2009 and early 2010 on the oil and gas side,” says Schmidt. “Luckily we had other industries to focus on and this kept us steady and performing.” Focusing on a wider range of key market segments, known as ‘industry verticals’, including projects, pharmaceutical and healthcare, and hi-tech and telecoms, the company has been making strong strides in the Middle East.