On top of the usual service offerings, the company has a couple of specialty areas it would also like to branch into, particularly the contract logistics sector as well as developing further the air freight business in the Middle East. “Though it’s not our top priority, we would like to get into the contract business as soon as possible,” says Oestreich. “As it looks at the moment, we are thinking perhaps June or July.” At a corporate level Leschaco is also investing heavily in air freight. “We are taking a stronger approach to air freight − we want a bigger share of the air freight market,” he comments. “This is a starting point − our objective is to grow in the region.”
When Leschaco decided to establish a branch in Dubai, it was identified early on that someone with a strong local presence would be required to help build the Leschaco brand − someone who had the contacts and the desire to succeed. Given the difficult challenge of recruiting suitably qualified staff in the region, however, it was always going to be difficult to satisfy those criteria. But Leschaco found those qualities in former Schenker, Panalpina, DHL and CEVA Logistics executive Shamsudeen Ahmed. “Management was discussing the need for quite a while that we need to get a footprint here in the Middle East,” remarks Oestreich. “It became clear to us visiting this region we needed to find someone who is very familiar with the business – someone who has experience and can lead the process over here. Fortunately, I was told about Ahmed and how knowledgeable he was about the industry and region, so I met with him,” he says. And the rest as they say is history. “Having Shams (Shamsudeen) on board as the managing director, he is very familiar with the sea freight and air freight logistics business and contract logistics, which is very important here in Dubai because it is the hub for the region.”
Repaying the faith shown in him by Leschaco, Ahmed has already begun the task of building awareness of the brand in the region and has so far singled out a raft of opportunities where the company can grow over the next five to 10 years. “The first step is to get into the market and build the brand, boosting the current volume of the business,” he says. “We want to recreate the hub concept which is already here in Dubai,” he explains. “Personally I would like to start trucking services in the Middle East. When we have trucking services it gives us a competitive edge as it enables us to make our deliveries faster. This will be a major revenue boost for us,” he adds. In terms of the tank container system, the managing director explains the firm is also working on some major players right now, especially with the tank container volume, but he cannot reveal who.
Not limited to Dubai, Ahmed casts his vision further afield to the regional markets of Qatar and Saudi Arabia. “We want to go into Doha because this is a booming market especially with projects. Leschaco has a huge projects division in Germany and we are specialised in project forwarding,” he comments of his vision for the Qatari market. And with Saudi Arabia experiencing similar economic growth, Leschaco has its eyes firmly fixed on the Kingdom too. “Do we want to go to Saudi Arabia? Of course we do! We want to establish offices in the other countries,” he exclaims emphatically. “In ten years I would like to cover the entire GCC and Middle East and Levant countries with our own footprint.”
For now though the company is ready for a challenge. “We are very much looking forward to having our own presence in Dubai and we will extend this presence throughout the Middle East,” concludes Oestreich. “We are up for a challenge and we want people who are up for a challenge,” he states emphatically.