During 2018 and 2019 there has been a general decline in the size of government infrastructure projects in Egypt compared with the period between 2014 and 2017 where there were substantial projects, such as the Suez Canal expansion and the Siemens mega power plants. Daily News Egypt interviewed the Chairperson of Khedivial Marine Logistics SAE (KML), Mohamed El Dahshan, to discover their plans regarding the issue along with their anticipated results from participating in Breakbulk 2019, the transcript for which is below, lightly edited for clarity:
How did you face the decline which affected the results of many companies operating in the project services industry?
We have been very lucky to have played a major role in many of the megaprojects in Egypt during the past four years and we are looking optimistically toward the future. We are currently involved in many ongoing projects in Egypt especially in the power generation and renewable energy markets. Our major advantage is our diversified setup as we aren’t dependent on a specific industry.
What is your investment plan for 2019 and 2020?
As usual we have a very ambitious investment plan for 2019 and 2020 which we aim to fulfil. Apart from investing in new facilities and equipment, most importantly we are investing in our people. Our most valuable asset is our highly experienced team of project logistics experts.
We would like to know the major accomplishments and results of KML in 2018.
We have been very busy with several power generation and infrastructure projects. Over and above we have transported a large number of production lines for the manufacturing industry, fertilisers, cement, steel, and FMCGs.
How do you perceive the Egyptian market during the next five years? Is the Egyptian market still attractive and does it offer opportunities?
The policies of the Egyptian government have had a very positive impact on the economy. We are very optimistic regarding the future, and strongly believe that the Egyptian market is moving in a very good direction. The next five years will feature many government-driven investments in infrastructure, power generation, oil and gas, as well as heavy industry. This will definitely have a positive effect on our business.
Does the development of the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone) present an opportunity for you?
The new SCZone surely presents an opportunity for us and other logistics providers in Egypt and the Middle East. We aim to invest in warehousing operations in that area where we plan to offer our customers tailor-made state-of-the-art third-party logistics (3PL) solutions in accordance with international standards.
Are you interested in participating in this year’s Breakbulk Europe Exhibition 2019 in Bremen? Do you aim to establish new partnerships? Do you intend to purchase new equipment?
As usual we will be present with our own booth at Breakbulk Europe 2019 in Bremen where we will meet our friends, business partners, and customers. There are several new projects and investments in the pipeline which will help us improve the quality of services we are offering our customers.
Do you see any legal obstacles/red tape curtailing your planned investments?
Though the investment climate is far from ideal, we have witnessed that it is gradually improving and we are optimistic that the government is moving the right direction. There is still a lot to do but it is obvious that things are improving.
Does the lack of uniform pricing for toll stations by Wataneya present a problem?
This is surely one of the biggest problems that we face in our industry. But customers are now well aware of the situation and have accordingly adapted themselves.
Have you prepared for the upcoming liberalisation of fuel prices in mid-June 2019? Do you expect an increase in costs and road freight prices?
This is an extremely challenging matter as it is almost impossible to come up with an accurate estimation for the repercussions of fuel price hikes. It is understood that all transport prices will be affected by such increases but most customers in Egypt have become accustomed to the situation.
Do you have any existing business or expansion plans outside Egypt? Are you currently bidding for any projects outside Egypt?
Although we don’t have any offices outside Egypt, we are currently handling projects in the UAE, Iraq, Uganda, and Tanzania for some of our international customers.