It’s difficult to comprehend fully just how vast 1,000,000 square metres is, even if you’re standing inside the building site of Gulf Warehousing Company’s landmark project: Logistics Village Qatar (LVQ).
As you stare across the state-of-the-art facilities at LVQ, it is even harder to imagine that Gulf Warehousing Company (GWC) was established in 2004, with only one 4,000 square metre warehouse. Today, GWC is the largest logistics services provider in Qatar, with facilities in six different locations. Ranked as the fastest-growing company in the Logistics sector by the International Business Times New York, and the second fastest-growing company in the country, the firm has become an integrated supply-chain service provider, offering end-to-end solutions for a multitude of industries.
However, the company’s other achievements take a backseat when Logistics Village Qatar is mentioned. Situated on a 1,000,000m2 site, the project boasts 350,000m2 of distribution centre spaces; truck parking and maintenance workshops; 65,000m2 of container depots; 250,000m2 of lay-down area and 3000m2 of residential and recreational facilities.
Construction for Phase 1 began in 2010 and was completed in Q1 of 2011. Phase 2 started soon afterwards and was completed in Q1 of 2012. Both these sections are now fully occupied, up and running. Phase 3 is set to be completed next year, while a fourth phase will be added to give additional warehousing space, to cater for the increasing demand.
“The grand vision behind developing LVQ was to provide regional companies a platform that was tailor-made for their logistics needs and to meet the country’s growing need for logistical support and expertise,” says Ranjeev Menon, Group CEO of GWC. “Many industries needed space and a company capable of managing their logistics needs. LVQ was designed from the very beginning as a integrated and self contained full-service logistics hub for variety of industries.
“The idea was to create a one-stop-shop for all logistics needs, where customers using the LVQ will not have to look for logistics support anywhere else: we are able to provide them with all the necessary equipment and expertise they might need.
“LVQ is a platform that is configured to bring convenience to customers, as we are able to serve the needs of both internal and external stakeholders within the supply chain. GWC’s customers at LVQ have been able to focus more on their core competencies and implement their regional strategies faster.
“LVQ is located in the new industrial area, with a good infrastructure and access roads. Its connectivity is strategic: it is close to the new Doha International Airport and the new Doha Sea Port. This makes it easy and convenient for operators to use our facility as their hub. Our core businesses vary from contract logistics to freight forwarding and transport management. LVQ was the missing piece in the puzzle, and it will be our driver for growth in the next five years.”
Menon was appointed CEO of GWC in 2009, right at the heart of the global recession. However, as most companies were looking to consolidate, GWC sought to expand, and it paid off, he reveals.
“The economic downturn was hard on everybody,” says Menon. “When I came on board in 2009, we had a clear vision to invest and expand. Though many questions were raised, as many companies were downsizing, we chose growth.
“We wanted a face-lift for the company and so we invested in IT systems and added more niche service lines to our business. The other challenge was to retain our workforce and keep them motivated. We encouraged our employees to think outside the box, beyond their roles. The results reflect the strength of our business model: our employees are the best in the industry and are constantly being re-trained, and encouraged to move on to the next level. We have been recording a year-by-year growth rate since the downturn.
And that growth, which includes increased warehousing capacity from 40,000m2 to more than 220,000m2; a fleet size that has increased from 172 to 400; and an employee growth rate from 400 to 1150 employees, looks to continue through 2012, with more record-breaking performances predicted by Menon for the rest of the year.
“Our first quarter in 2012 has been very strong. As the leaders, we tap into every opportunity to meet our customers’ increasingly diversifying needs. We see ourselves as the new 3PL powerhouse in the region,” he says.
“With the economy growing at about 9.8 per cent, and the many infrastructure projects to do with the Fifa 2022 in the pipeline, Qatar is expected to spend about $125 billion in the next five years, so we are gearing ourselves up,” reveals Menon. “And our vision is not only for Qatar. GWC plans to expand in both Dubai and Saudi Arabia in the next few months.
“We have set our sights on some of the many emerging markets. But our immediate plans for the future are, firstly, to develop LVQ and then we envision similar complexes in other parts of Qatar. We also intend to remain the leading logistics provider for all business sectors.”
With the phenomenal Logistics Village Qatar driving the firm’s growth, one thing that is not hard to imagine is GWC remaining “the leading logistics provider for all business sectors”.