David Ross, regional president of FedEx Express Middle East, Indian Subcontinent, and Africa, talks about the company’s latest aerospace solutions and its relevance to the regional market.
Could you please give me a brief about FedEx Aerospace Solutions? What are the features of the same?
FedEx Aerospace Solutions are designed to give aircraft operators service continuity with fast and reliable freight services that can resolve Aircraft on Ground (AoG) situations, whenever and wherever they happen. Using FedEx Aerospace Solutions, customers can express ship any item that is required to get a plane flying, from the smallest parts to oversized cargo such as engines, via our own fleet.
Besides shipping to more than 220 countries and territories worldwide, customers can benefit from our product, SenseAware, which provides end-to-end visibility into their supply chain. Using technological breakthrough in the world of sensor-based logistics, SenseAware enables customers to go inside their shipment in real-time through its journey, giving them the power to react to unexpected situations and improve their supply chain efficiency. More specifically, SenseAware can monitor information about the shipments, including current location, temperature, light exposure, relative humidity, shock thresholds, and barometric pressure.
According to FedEx, what are the best practices for moving large and over-sized shipments?
For more than two decades, our Dubai hub has handled oversized shipments for numerous customers, in compliance with the various aviation regulations. This has allowed the team to develop best practices to move large
shipments. Time is a significant advantage while planning large shipments’ movements. We are very familiar with some large items that are regularly shipped. However, when dealing with a new and unfamiliar shipment, we must understand its specific requirements to ensure a successful move, while following standard procedures.
FedEx has contingencies in place for several scenarios, enabling us to quickly and efficiently handle any new shipment that comes to us. Our teams also undergo continuous training to ensure they can deal with any situation
they may face. Rigorous training allows us to speed up our processes when dealing with last minute or unusual requests. In short, successfully handling large shipments means being prepared and understanding the various requirements, following safety and quality principles, and having contingen-cies in place that enable us to meet our commitments in unforeseen scenarios.
What kind of response have you seen for FedEx’s latest aerospace solutions in the market?
Our Aerospace Solutions have been well-received in the Middle East. FedEx currently provides the solutions to most regional airlines and maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) companies. Our capabilities enable us to provide critical services to airlines, especially when they have an AoG situation. FedEx also developed services that are encompassed within our Aerospace Solutions to enhance the customer experience. For instance, the FedEx Global Returns solution provides our customers the control, flexibility, and customs documentation assistance required
to ensure a streamlined process at all steps of their shipping process, when moving parts across the world.
Aerospace parts shipped with FedEx can also be tracked with our SenseAware product, which differentiates from traditional tracking solutions. These packages may require monitoring beyond the normal scope, to track conditions
such as current location and light exosure for security reasons; temperature, relative humidity, shock, and barometric pressure for environmental reasons. Customers can choose how best to monitor their shipments
based on their needs. This solution has been well received in the UAE market, from a wide array of industries where shipments are critical, high-value, extremely time or temperature-sensitive, or even irreplaceable objects – making it imperative that their location and temperature is known.
Some of these industries include healthcare and life sciences industries, covering scientific instruments, medical equipment, lasers and pharmaceuticals; aerospace such as AoG, MRO; high-value luxury items such as couture fashion, jewelry, and precious metals; and consumer electronics such as computers, smart phones, gaming systems,
What kind of trends are emerging in the region for the logistics industry in 2017?
Consumers increasingly turn to technology to make their lives easier. E-commerce is a big trend in the Middle East, with around 43% of consumers using the internet for shopping, while four out of 10 UAE residents make at
least one online purchase a week. The potential in e-commerce is significant as the majority of online purchases result in shipping requirements. A key component to any business successfully taking advantage of the potential
of online retail is having a strong and reliable network of business partners to enhance their customers’ experience.
This network can include cross-selling services through like-minded companies, or companies that can offer
support in the areas that the business itself is lacking expertise such as logistics. FedEx conducted a study across small and medium businesses around the world, which revealed that around 70% of consumers state shipping-related factors as the most influential in their decision to buy from online retailers in other markets. Engaging the services of a third-party, who has expertise in the logistics sphere as well as proven capabilities in potentially complex areas related to shipping, enables peace-of-mind for the business and its customer.
The Internet of Things (IoT) concept is 100% applicable in the logistics industry, and we expect sensor-based logistics to grow. The SenseAware solution developed by FedEx is a pioneer in this field and has been designed to
offer end-to-end visibility on shipments. I am confident that customers will continue to see the benefits of enhanced visibility throughout their supply chains.
Are you planning to add to your existing operational fleet from the GCC to the rest of the world? If yes, by when?
We expand our fleet based on customers’ requirements. For instance, to accommodate growing demand, we have expanded our air network to 44 FedEx flights per week in and out of Dubai. This is in addition to using in excess of 730 commercial line-haul flights per week at the Dubai International Airport.
What kind of competition does FedEx faces from the big names in the market?
The FedEx history of innovation is built on a series of ‘firsts’. For instance, the company was the first to install computers in delivery vehicles, providing sophisticated automation for corporate mailing services and developing
capabilities and software. FedEx was also the first express courier provider to offer package status tracking for improved customer service via fedex.com, which was launched in 1994. In 1978, FedEx founder, Frederick W Smith, said that the information about the package is just as important as the package itself.
The SenseAware device uses patent pending technology to control the device’s radio during takeoff and landing while logging and storing information during flight. SenseAware is the only cellular device permitted by the FAA to be used on FedEx aircrafts. There are several other aspects of our business that set us apart from competition in the region. FedEx operates the fifth largest fleet in the world, and the largest amongst courier companies, counting 688 aircrafts, that operate globally.
Our company is the largest dangerous goods carrier, and we have strong expertise in handling oversized cargo, particularly in the Middle East. Our team in Dubai has significant experience in moving aircraft parts such as engines and helicopter rotor blades to various locations around the region.