Backed by over 130 years in the logistics industry, Leschaco is not a newcomer to the global logistics market. But here in the Middle East they are the new kids in town. Shamsudeen Ahmed and Oliver Oestreich reveal to Logistics Middle East in an exclusive interview that they are far more than just another freight forwarder.
Dubai’s economy is on the move. It is expected to expand by 4.5 percent this year, up from an estimated increase of more than 3 percent in 2011, His Highness Sheikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of the Dubai Supreme Fiscal Committee, recently told reporters at the Dubai Economic Outlook 2012 presentation.
This is in sharp contrast to 2009, when Dubai rattled global markets with its request for a standstill on flagship conglomerate Dubai World’s US$25 billion debt pile. At the time, the world cruelly viewed Dubai as symbolic of the unsustainable greed which had gripped the world leading up to the global financial crisis. But now the picture is looking much rosier, with the emirate since completing several restructurings to state-linked entities, and renewed investment fueled by proximity to regional emerging markets as well a strong performing tourism and logistics sector. It’s no surprise then with growth returning to the emirate, plus the regional booming economies of Saudi Arabia and Qatar nearby, Dubai is again luring investors to its sandy shores.
Leschaco is one such company which has been attracted to the emirate amid the recent growth success story. The German firm, active in the fields of air freight, contract logistics, sea freight, and tank containers, saw a Dubai base as inevitable and a natural progression in the company’s evolution. “Dubai is the hub for the Middle East, East Africa and even the hub for the Indian subcontinent, says Oliver Oestreich, member of the Leschaco management board, from the armchair of the firm’s brand new Middle East regional office in Dubai Airport Free Zone. “We knew sooner or later we needed to come to the area. This region is developing in a very fast manner and we need to be here because this is one of the most important hubs in the world,” he explains.
Founded in Hamburg, Germany, Leschaco has built a solid reputation for quality since its initial establishment in 1879. Today, the owner-managed business has 42 separate companies, works with select agents around the globe, and employs 1500 employees in more than 20 countries worldwide. Even when firms are content to merge, acquire and grow bigger at whatever cost, Leschaco remains committed to quality with one owner (Jorg Conrad), along with Oestreich and Martin Pieper at the helm of its entire global operation. And there is good reason for this given the firm’s long standing reputation to protect. “We are not another freight forwarding company,” comments Oestreich. “We are a customer focused company. Mergers and acquisitions are not really the business of Leschaco,” he comments of the company’s business philosophy.
True to this mantra, Leschaco’s logistics services exhibit everything you would expect of a company whose core value involves a “strong quality awareness”. From tank containers to IT systems, the company has developed some ground breaking products and services. In fact, when it comes to tank containers in particular, there is really nothing else like it on the market. Made from stainless steel, Leschaco’s tank container system complies with ISO standardisation and is capable of moving all classes of chemicals except for Class 1 (explosives) and Class 7 (radioactive).