SDV moves into Dubai with Dnata joint venture

SDV has reached an agreement that will enable it to start its own operations in Dubai. It is to set up a joint venture – SDV-UAE – in a 49-51 per cent partnership with Dnata Cargo and Bahrain logistics group, Kanoo.

The new entity will absorb all the business previously done for SDV on an agency basis by Dubai Express – Freightworks, the forwarder jointly owned by Dnata and Kanoo, which has represented SDV in the UAE for the past 12 years.

Opening a branch in Dubai has been an ambition of SDV for some time, as part of a wider strategy of filling in the gaps in its global network. “As a global player we can no longer afford not to have a presence in Dubai,” says Herbert de Saint Simon, SDV’s chief executive officer, Europe. “When you have a worldwide contract, it is difficult to tell the customer that they will be working with SDV in France or Singapore but an agency in Dubai.”

Dubai has also become a key gateway into Africa, which is a key market for SDV out of Europe. “It is becoming an important trade lane and will definitely be one of the goals of the new operation,” says Saint Simon.

Working with Kanoo gives SDV a strong regional partner with which to develop further operations in the region – the Bahrain company already represents SDV in Saudi Arabia – and Saint Simon confirms that “our plans in the region will not stop at Dubai”.

Meanwhile in Dnata, it will have a close relationship with the Emirates Group, the most powerful player by far in the Dubai airfreight market. “As an international company, you have to have a sponsor to operate in the Dubai market, so it made sense to work with the most powerful ones,” Saint Simon says.

SDV is also searching for a suitable acquisition in the Italian market, but Saint Simon reports no recent progress there. However, he says the company will shortly announce further acquisitions in Germany and South Africa, both countries where it already has operations.

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