- The Pages:Can you speak a short History about Aramex? How did start Aramex journey in Bangladesh?
Aramex is a leading global provider of comprehensive logistics and transportation solutions. Established in 1982 as an express operator, the company rapidly evolved into a global brand recognized for its customized services and innovative multi-product offers. In January 1997, Aramex became the first Arab-based international company to trade its shares on the NASDAQ stock exchange. After five years of successful trading, Aramex returned to private ownership in February 2002 and continued to expand and excel as a privately owned company, establishing global alliances and gaining stronger brand recognition. In June 2005 Aramex went public on the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) as Arab International Logistics (Aramex) with its shares traded under ARMX. Today, Aramex employs more than 12,300 people in over 353 locations across 60 countries, and has a strong alliance network providing worldwide presence.
The range of services offered by Aramex includes international and domestic express delivery, freight forwarding, logistics and warehousing, records and information Management solutions, e-business solutions, and online shopping services.
Aramex launched in Bangladesh with its Express Service in 2002 as a franchise operation, with Expo Express Services Ltd by serving all express needs for imports and exports of urgent sensitive Documents and Parcels of valued customers covering Dhaka District. The service operation was gradually expanded in all over Bangladesh within 3 years of the launch of operations. In 2010, Aramex International made a joint venture operation and formed as Aramex Dhaka limited as a registered company in Board of Investment. Since then, other services of Aramex’s such as Freight, E-Commerce and Shop and Ship etc. all of which operate globally, were also launched. Today we serve customers with a wide range of services and aim to ensure committed services required by our partners, clients & other relevant stakeholders.
- The Pages: Please tell us about yourself? How did you start your journey as a professional?
I have started my career during my graduation period after completing 1st year of the BBA program I joined the Expo Freight Limited as a part timer at the Finance Department. I was working there for 20 hours a week at the year of 2003, and continued to do the same for almost one year and transferred to SG logistics Finance department to gain and expand my knowledge with them. During my part time period I was transferred again to sales department where I have learnt about various sales and marketing skills. In 2005 I decided to pursue my Graduation majoring in HRM based on my guardians’ choices and finally I had started my full time career as HR – Executive at Expolanka Group, Bangladesh on 2006. From the day of my full time start up I was deputed to Expo Express Services (which is now Aramex Dhaka Limited) on 2008 as Head of HR & Training, in order to develop the business’s assets also known as the Human Resource Development on behalf of my management. Therefore the company has been accredited as Joint Venture Company on 2010 and I have again shifted my career in order to increase my business knowledge further more to Express Operations Manager of Bangladesh from the HR. from there on, I have learnt about the entire express industries Operations and started thinking to introducing one of the global product of eCommerce Delivery Solutions under Aramex Dhaka Limited. So from 2013 to date I am continuing my career as Operations Manager & BDM – eCommerce for Aramex Dhaka Limited.
- The Pages: Tell us about current E Commerce market of Bangladesh.
According to the report published by BTRC on April 2015, in Bangladesh, total number of internet subscribers has reached 45.67 million. The internet penetration rate has been booming significantly in past few years due to the infrastructural development and availability of cheaper smart phone and computers. On top of that the government has taken timely action through ‘access to information (a2i) project to leverage the ICT growth and to take initiative on digitalizing every possible sector. Online banking, availability of high speed internet and specialist e Commerce delivery options are helping to capitalize this new industry. All these favorable factors have given birth to many e-commerce companies and thus developing a new industry in the industrial sector.
Although the e-Commerce industry in Bangladesh has yet to flourish to its full potential, from 2012 onwards, a significant improvement has been observed by the industry specialists. Many International companies, such as German based Rocket Internet, Indian giant classified website olx.com etc., has started their venture in Bangladesh. Locally there are more than 200 active e commerce website along with above 1000 FB pages based e Commerce business which are successfully conducting their businesses. Currently customers can purchase almost everything, from household, regular necessities to train/bus/air ticket to apparels, to daily utensils, from online.
While eCommerce has been flourishing mainly in Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet, but there are a big progression and increase in the industry as a result of the government initiative of establishing High-Tech Park in Barisal, Comilla and Rajshahi. This has ensured the countrywide growth of e commerce and its success.
- The Pages: Aramex is Market leader of Logistics and eCommerce Delivery Solutions in Bangladesh Tell us about the quality of Service .
Currently we are offering express, freight and e Commerce delivery solutions in the Bangladesh market. And according to our present service quality we have done some highly recognized project work which helps us to increase our strength to move forward with the product line. We have successfully delivered all the t20 World Cup 2012 cricket tournaments viewer’s tickets throughout the country. To measure the quality from the vendors point of views; Book My Show management has appreciated us immensely because of our services and quality deliveries. We have got the appreciations towards our standard delivery services from Book My Show for 100% tickets delivery completions. We offered to all of our eCommerce Merchants a tailor made delivery solutions where Merchants requirements is been preferred and we organized the solutions based on the Merchants requirements. Apart from this there are some occasional delivery solutions we have done like: wedding cards delivery as of digital solutions where the person will gave the responsibility to us and spend their delivery time to others wedding ceremony arrangements. For customer support, we have dedicated in-house contact center, where the customer can find solutions from morning until the late night.
- The Pages: How would you assess Bangladesh as a potential zone for Logistics and Courier service industries?
According to the Agility Emerging Market Logistics Index (AEMLI), Bangladesh is one of the 45 major emerging markets in the world. We are world’s second largest exporter of apparel and Ready Made Garments.
Bangladeshi export related logistics, especially which of food and textile, operates at an advanced state in comparison with the rest of the country’s logistics sector. The development of export related logistics is stimulated by foreign freight forwarders and third party logistics (3PL), i.e. foreign parties that offer logistics services, integrating, among others, warehousing, transportation and other logistic services. These foreign parties mostly create joint venture agreements with local Bangladeshi parties. These collaborations build a foundation for creating further domestic logistical expertise. The primary needs for rest of the logistics sector are the development of a transport infrastructure and modern transport systems.
- The Pages:What is plan for E-Commerce development in Bangladesh?
Recommendation for e Commerce development in Bangladesh:
- Tech-Savvy customers usually compare products available on the Internet and usually buy the lowest total price offerings. It is also necessary to offer prices lower than the traditional outlets to encourage buyers to shop online.
- A Credit Card Gateway should be established. A credit card gateway is a server that makes online credit card transactions safe. The software protocols in the CCG use the information provided to check for availability of funds and to make sure the credit card is not expired, lost or stolen.
- To expedite the installation of second submarine cable joining for extending high-velocity internet facilities. Yet at present is the time to plan for the installation of a third submarine cable.
- Our Government might invite individuals and private sectors to extend broadband joining in rural areas under public private partnership. In that connection, NGOs working in the remote areas possibly involved. This will then be measured as government-private-NGO Corporation.
- Some of the products are of such nature that the customers desire to touch see or try out prior to purchase. Therefore, these products may require to be displayed in convenient retail outlets for customers to visit and make up their minds.
- Reduce the internet cost and make high speed internet available in every corner of the country, could be another way to develop the e commerce in Bangladesh.
- Mostly the customers also need to be well educated about the online purchasing so the false purchase will be reduces below .01% which will result in our youth entrepreneurs being encouraged to invest their ideas to sales through online which will in turn grow as eCommerce industries.
- The Pages: What is your opinion about the current Courier market development in Bangladesh?
In general Bangladesh can be an attractive market for companies active in the logistics sector. Investment in infrastructure is important to further develop these business opportunities and scale them up. It is an especially attractive market for those who carefully select a reliable local partner in Bangladesh after performing due diligence and feasibility studies prior to committing to any trade or investment activities with local companies. A prerequisite for any such initiatives is to have thorough knowledge of the coverage, scope, and goals and objectives of the company within the parameter of the organization’s strengths and skills. Sound knowledge of governmental laws and regulations related to the start-up of any venture is also important, especially due to complexities in remittances and taxation. Furthermore companies engaging in trade or investment activities should be prepared to encounter adverse situations such as natural disasters. The assurance of on-time quality and the creation of healthy working environments with well trained employees making use of
Hi-tech equipments, is very important for the provision of competitive logistics services in Bangladesh. In this respect familiarity with logistics technical knowledge and innovative technology is a competitive advantage for investors in the logistics sector in Bangladesh. Local partners can provide knowledge about the industry and the market, help find clients, and advise on how to navigate through the local government requirements.
- The Pages: Do you think the E Commerce industry is booming?
Yes. Especially in last 3 years it’s been flourishing rapidly. As per a 2009 study by Boston Consulting Group and Telenor, by 2020, there will be 18.3 million internet subscribers in Bangladesh, equaling approximately 10 subscribers per 100 inhabitants. At a household level, 32% will have at least one internet subscription, and business adoption will be around 66%. Moreover, as of 2014, according to E-commerce industry experts, the current volume of online shopping is more than Tk. 3.5 billion. This figure rises further during festivals such as Eid ul Fitr, while Facebook based commercial activities alone account for more than 60% of all online shopping during Eid. Also during the recent Eid it was shown that the growth level where the entire print media has published or cover the news on their front page about the eCommerce success in Bangladesh.
- The Pages: What’s the secret behind the success of your organization?
Personally I believe, adopting smart technology, creating dedicated human assets and having integrity in service- are the key success factors for the service industry. My company avail state of the art technological solution which offers 24/7 online tracing, API integration and database management to facilitate its customer with the blessings of modern technology. On top of that, my company strongly emphasizes on hiring, developing and retaining the best talents that are available in the market. Aligning with strong global footprints and countrywide local network, our people and the technology allow us to perform beyond the customer satisfaction in every possible way in this fierce competitive market.
- The Pages: Would you like to tell the reader to your upcoming Service?
We are planning to start our other product under eCommerce that is Shop & Ship where Bangladeshi people can buy the international online products through cards and Aramex will provide them the secure shipping to get their shopping in their BD door steps. Also we are starting the ‘logistics service’ and warehousing in a short period of time. Logistics service will facilitate the local trade to move their goods inside the country with reasonable price and world class service. Additionally the warehousing will meet the demand of storing facility of all the small entrepreneurs enabling them to make their business succeed as a part of the e Commerce solutions.
- The Pages: Where do you see the future of the Bangladeshi E Commerce industry in Global Market?
If we go back to the history we would see that the online shopping trend has drastically developed ever since its inauguration. Online shopping was invented in the UK by Michael Aldrich in 1979. Minitel was introduced nationwide in France by France Telecom and used for online ordering in 1982. World’s first recorded B2C online home shopper was established where Mrs. Jane Snowball used the Gates head Tesco system to buy groceries in 1984. Swreg begins to provide software and shareware authors means to sell their products online through an electronic merchant account in 1987. Tim Berners-Lee writes the first web browser, World Wide Web, using a NeXT computer in 1990. In 1992, J.H. Snider and Terra Zippering published “Future Shop: How New Technologies will Change the Way We Shop and What We Buy”. Netscape releases the Navigator browser under the code name Mozilla, Pizza Hut offers pizza ordering on its Web page, the first online bank opens, attempts to offer flower delivery and magazine subscriptions online and adult materials also become commercially available, as do cars and bikes in 1994. Jeff Bezos launches Amazon.com and the first commercial-free 24 hours, Internet-only radio stations, Radio HK and Net Radio start broadcasting, Dell and Cisco begin to aggressively use Internet for commercial transactions, eBay is founded by computer programmer Pierre Omidyar as Auction Web in 1995. Business.com sold for US$ 7.5 million to eCompanies which was purchased in1997 for US$ 149,000, the peer-to-peer file sharing software Napster launches, ATG Stores launches to sell decorative items for the home online in 1999. Day by day online users have expanded; developed countries have increased E-commerce. In 2011US e-commerce and online retail sales projected to reach $197 billion, an increase of 12 percent over 2010 Quidsi.com, parent company of Diapers.com, acquired by Amazan.com for $500 million in cash plus $45 million in debt and other obligations. GSI Commerce, a company specializing in creating, developing and running online shopping sites for brick and mortar businesses, acquired by eBay for $2.4 billion.
In this long history, we would see the e commerce industry has grown massively as time passed by. In our neighbor country India, it took around 10 years to get themselves established in this sector. Bangladesh has been rapidly growing in this sector, hence, it can be said that within next 5 years, e commerce industry will be one of the topnotch industries of the country after RMG.
Interview by M Tauhidul Islam Apu-
Editor The Pages.