Issa Baluch founded Swift Freight International in 1989, with grand ambitions to establish a leading player in the Middle East’s logistics industry.
Flash forward to 2008, as the company celebrates its 19th year of operations, and the veteran’s dreams have clearly transpired into a lucrative reality.
Within nearly two decades, Swift Freight has evolved from a Dubai-centric company with 12 employees into a regional heavyweight with over 500 employees and 40 offices located around the world.
This year alone, it opened a logistics centre in Jebel Ali Free Zone, together with new offices in Mozambique, Ethiopia and the United States.
“The remarkable thing about Swift Freight is the level of dominance we have developed within the logistics industry,” says Baluch.
“When the company was originally created, we developed from a local player into a regional player. More recently, since we have succeeded in establishing ourselves as a leading regional player, we have started to make a strong international impact.”
Evidently, the company’s potential to make a global impact was being watched by a number of industry heavyweights. In a surprising turn of events, Swift Freight was acquired by South Africa’s Barloworld Logistics earlier this year in a deal worth approximately US$70 million.
Negotiations between both companies took place for several months, with Swift agreeing to include its various affiliates in the deal, covering operations in the Middle East, Indian subcontinent, Africa, Europe and the Far East.
“This is a milestone for the company. I am extremely happy that Swift has been recognised for its sound strategy and potential to grow even further as part of the Barloworld Group,” says Baluch. “I believe we have a bright future ahead and will continue our pursuit to serve the world from Dubai.”
The acquisition by Barloworld Group received a mixed response from the Middle East logistics industry, although Baluch confirmed the deal was mutually beneficial to both parties and received the support of everyone involved.
“The media has reported on a number of hostile mergers and acquisitions in recent years. However, the deal between Swift and Barloworld has been friendly, with both companies happy and cooperative,” he states.
“A couple of Barloworld’s top management officials will move to the United Arab Emirates from South Africa to overlook Swift’s operations. In addition, I will continue to play a leading role in the organisation, alongside the management team from Swift.”
Moving forward, Swift has become one of the first companies to reserve space at Dubai Logistics City, totalling 28,800m2 for a purpose built warehouse facility. It had also have an additional 25,000m2 airside facility at the forthcoming Al Maktoum International Airport to provide smooth air connectivity for shipments.
“Dubai Logistics City and Al Maktoum International Airport will play an influential role in our Middle Eastern growth plans. Looking ahead, I think Swift Freight be develop from strength to strength and continue its evolution into a major global player,” ends Baluch.
Source: Arabian Supply Chain