PROJECTS: Interview: Shipping volumes between Saudi Arabia and Egypt will only grow - Transmar official

Saudi Arabia and Egypt are transforming into manufacturing hub, Sudan is poised for strong economic growth, says Ahmed El Ahwal - Commercial Manager, Transmar

Image used for illustrative purpose. Container ship in import export and business logistic.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Container ship in import export and business logistic.

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For Egypt's Transmar, the only regional carrier in the Red Sea, 2020 was a year of growth in its Egypt-Sudan and Saudi-Sudan trading volumes, a top company official said. 

"Transmar is currently active in 12 ports in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and the UAE. Following the government directive to enhance economic relationships with Sudan, 2020 was a year of growth for us in both the Egypt-Sudan and Saudi-Sudan trades," the company’s Commercial Manager Ahmed El Ahwal told Zawya. 

The 40-year old Egyptian-owned and operated integrated container line started with a dedicated container service between Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and later, it expanded into Sudan in 2008 and the UAE in 2016. 

Ahmed said the company is among the few companies in the region with a broad range of services covering the entire container shipping supply chain. 

Ahmed El Ahwal - Commercial Manager, Transmar

"As a subsidiary of IACC Holdings, Transmar covers the maritime transport aspect of our integrated service. Our sister company, Transcargo, acts as the terminal operator in Al Adabiya, while IACC Logistics provides trucking and customs clearance and Safina acts as the port agent."  

He said Egypt's strategic geographical location and its proximity serving the GCC and East African countries position the country as an influential player in inter-regional trade. 

"The shift in global supply chains and global disruptions in the USA, Europe, and Asia have solidified Egypt's position as a key player in certain commodities and industries. We've experienced this first-hand at Transmar with the increase in our trading volume [with neighbouring countries] of agriculture products and building materials," he said. 

Overcoming COVID-19 challenges 

Despite lockdowns and movement restrictions triggered by the Covid-19 outbreak, Transmar shipped 75,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalents) containers in 2020. The company reacted swiftly to the breakout of the pandemic by closing its offices in early March 2020 and shifting all office roles online, said Ahmed. 

"Balancing between business continuity and looking after the health and safety of our team was our top priority. We were the only shipping line in Egypt to close our counter during the pandemic and shift our documentation and invoicing process to be managed remotely to protect our team and our customers. The use of cloud-based IT solutions for our communications and operations enabled us to maintain zero disruptions to the service level our customers expect from us."  

The Transmar official said the company is continuously enhancing its service offering as a regionally focused container line. 

 "We invested in expanding and upgrading our fleet of refrigerated 'reefer" containers, expanding into new ports, and enhancing our on-ground services. Since 2019, we have also doubled our fleet of reefers as well as invested in a fleet of gen-sets to complement our existing service," he said.  

Ahmed said the industrial and economic reforms in Egypt and Saudi Arabia are seeing two of the region's largest economies cementing their positions as global manufacturing hubs.  

"Having played a regional role in facilitating trade between the two countries, we believe that we will be seeing a jump in shipping volumes from our existing and potential clients.  

He said Sudan would also grow in the years to come. 

"Certain developments in Sudan, such as the lifting of sanctions as well as political and economic reform, positions Sudan as one of the region's promising economies in terms of economic development and growth in the years to come," he concluded. 

(Reporting by Marwa Abo Almajd; Editing by Anoop Menon) 


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