Pioneering logistics solutions

Award-winning, Dubai-based RSA Global continues its growth trajectory with international expansion, collaboration, and a drive to digitalise

RSA Logistics - rebranded as RSA Global – was named Business of the Year at the Gulf Capital SME Awards 2017, run in partnership with MEED. RSA’s co-founder and CEO, Abhishek Ajay Shah, was also named Business Leader of the Year 2017.

Judges at the awards said that the Dubai-based logistics company, with its comprehensive suite of supply chain solutions, was playing a key role in developing the vital infrastructure of the UAE.

“The logistics sector is going through enormous changes, but remains critical to the success of the entire economy,” says Dr Karim El Solh, co-founder and CEO of UAE-based alternative asset management firm Gulf Capital. “The energy and innovation of RSA Global is a valuable asset to ensuring that the UAE and its companies remain competitive in the global marketplace.”

Spotting a gap

Shah credits his father for seeing the business opportunity in Dubai in 2001. Realising that industrial real estate was in short supply, he decided to build and rent out warehouses.

After graduating in 2009 with a degree in civil engineering from the UK’s Warwick University, Shah approached his father about creating an associated, branded service.

What started as a warehousing company for general cargo, then moved into specialty products such as chemical products, cold-chain and automotive vehicles as well as distribution, B2B services and final mile delivery.

RSA Global has continued its growth trajectory and now has 700 employees based at 25 sites across 4 different geographies.

Through key investments, partnerships and collaborations, the company has a comprehensive suite of supply chain solutions to offer cross-border delivery for e-commerce fulfilment, and for customers who want to hold stock in the UAE to serve the region.

But managing complex logistics operations is not straightforward, and Shah was quick to recognise the potential of technology to drive efficiency and transform the customer experience.

“Digital became very important to us in 2018 and we were left with a very significant choice, do we build or do we buy technology?” says the entrepreneur. His solution was to make early investments in two technology startups – UK’s Buytasker, and Dubai-based Fero AI – and to become an incubating house for them to test and refine their freight management platforms.

“Our ambition is to become one single company that you can API (Application Programming Interface) integrate into, to have access to the India, Middle Eastern and Africa markets,” says Shah. “One API, the entire market is yours.”

 

Regional benefits

The current focus on driving digital transformation within the company has required investment in the best available talent because, according to Shah, it is only brains and technology that are driving the company. However, early priorities were on securing funds and building physical assets.

Shah says that it was a challenge to gain the confidence of investors. “When people came to our office at that point, we were in this mythical new airport that was coming up. There were no roads, no electricity, we were in the middle of sand dunes.”

“Even after significant investment in hard assets, borrowing was expensive,” says the CEO. However, the Dubai and UAE governments, who believed and followed the vision, and stepped in as a private entity to help with funding.

“I do not think that what we have achieved would have been possible in any other part of the world, as openly, freely and quickly as Dubai,” says Shah. “Bringing in external partners and foreign investment was easy because of what Dubai has to offer.”

 

On 24 November 2021, the Gulf Capital SME AWARDS 2021 in partnership with MEED will recognise and celebrate the best small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UAE. The programme has attracted 1,922 total entries from 1,209 participating companies​, and has recognised 553 finalists​ and 350 winners​ across 17 categories​ with one unifying purpose – to accelerate and enable innovation in the economy’s most vital sector.