Gulf Warehousing: Growing a business with a developing economy

June 13, 2014 in Retail

The meteoric growth of Qatar over the last decade has been phenomenal and has created a wealth of opportunities for business. Growing with the nation over that period of time, Gulf Warehousing is proud to have partnered with the country, to help provide the logistics infrastructure which is developing the nation.

“Gulf Warehousing is a logistics company which was established in 2004, starting with a small 4,000 square metre warehouse,” recalls Ranjeev Menon, Group CEO for the Dohar-based company.

forklift-factory“It took us 10 years to develop into a business with a one million square metre facility and today we are an integrated logistics company offering a complete range of solutions including: 3PL, 4PL, Customs Clearance, Freight Forwarding and Transportation, Ambient and Frozen/Temperature controlled storage, Bonded storage, Hazmat Chemical Storage, Records Management, Sports and event Logistics, Asset Management, Local / International Moving and Relocation Solution and Project Logistics.”

Of course the company has also evolved as the country has sought to diversify its economy and among the key sectors Gulf Warehousing serves are: Electronics, Food And Beverage, Healthcare, High Value Commodities, Industrial Products, Government, Retail, Oil, Gas, Chemicals, Steel and Automotive. 

“Today we are a one-stop shop for all logistics needs for companies of all sizes,” Menon affirms.

Whilst the company is headquartered in Doha, it has sites in strategic locations across Qatar, including in Ras Laffan Industrial City, where Gulf Warehousing has established sites specifically tailored for the petrochemical industries, while there are other sites based in Dohar’s industrial area and also at the Port of Mesaieed.

A good measure of how far Gulf Warehousing has grown is to look back at the company’s humble beginnings, as Menon reflects:

“Back in 2004 we operated a 4,000 square metre site with just a few trucks and our services were just for general logistics. Nowadays we have dedicated sites that serve the highly-dangerous and specialist petrochemical industries and we operate a fleet of 450 trucks and 780 trailers. 

“As our client base grew there was a need to expand our storage facilities. The second site we developed was for general logistics and then around 3 years later we started to look at developing separate sites for chemical storage.” 

Whilst the company’s growth has been exceptional in its first decade of existence, Menon is quick to recognise the role of his workforce in accomplishing remarkable feats.

“Our success is down to the people we have and how we grow them; we have established a good mindset for our employees and they are all well-trained. Customer service is a big focus for Gulf Warehousing and our staff does not differentiate clients based on the size of a company or job. We run integrated services and we want to give the best service to all our clients.

“We currently have around 1,500 employees hailing from 25 nationalities. Our primary focus is on training and that covers a number of issues including IT systems, health and safety, quality and procedural training. In addition we provide English and other language training so communication is never a problem.

“We also support Qatari initiatives and provide skills training to give the local population opportunities.

“Our success is also inter-linked to the economics of Qatar and this has grown widely over the last 5 years particularly, with the demand for supply chain and logistics increasing. We want to continue to support the needs of the country and we are proud to do so,” he adds. 

Menon says that another area that has played an integral role in the Gulf Warehousing success story has been technology:

“IT software is most critical to our operations as we are running a complex industrial warehousing business with up to 4,500 pallet locations. We have invested a lot on software that creates an efficient Warehouse Management System, transport system and freight management system and about 5 years ago we invested in an Exceed package which has helped us to grow the business without compromising on the quality of our service and operations. 

“Growing too quickly is a challenge but I think we have achieved balance and maintained good services.”

With such a large fleet of vehicles, technology also plays an important role in scheduled maintenance and Gulf Warehousing runs an in-house team of engineers but also works closely with the Mercedes and Man service centres, occasionally even sending employees to Germany for training.

scannerLooking to the future, Menon is excited, with the company having almost completed its 2 billion Qatar real investment in a new Logistics Village:

“I don’t see too much new competition in Qatar from 10 years ago but as Dohar continues to grow there will be lots of volume for logistics. It is more important for us to focus on what we have won and on our own customers.

“With the country’s 2030 Vision in place and the Qatar 2022 World Cup on the horizon (and plenty of projects already well underway), we have established a Logistics Village in the industrial area which encompasses over a million square feet and will help to support infrastructure efforts.

“The facility is about 92 per cent completed and in the final phase of construction (having started in late 2010) and this hub is strategically located close to the airport and port. We have introduced a number of new initiatives including a new data centre which provides a back-up for all of our systems.” 

With so much happening in Qatar and so many opportunities, it would be easy for a company to lose it focus, but Menon insists that service must remain a priority:

“Our biggest challenge comes where customers have different requirements and expectations and sometimes the short time of scale can be a challenge. That is where our equipment can play an important part in making sure we meet deadlines.

“We celebrated our tenth anniversary in March with a series of newspaper and magazine features and I feel that there are many more years of growth for Gulf Warehousing.

“The next 18 months we will be looking forward to working with the State of Qatar and we have supplied a large proportion of logistics infrastructure to them and are very proud to work with the nation. We have always been a partner to the country and hope to continue to work in tandem,” he affirms.