Small Businesses Big Future





DHL was a brash, upstart small business once. Thanks to an aggressive international expansion in the 1970s and 1980s and a ‘first mover’ philosophy, we have grown into one of the world’s most international companies. That was a different time, and we are a very different (and heavyweight) company today, but we still have a keen eye for the opportunities of international trade. SMEs may have to learn to compete in different ways and to make best use of all resources available to them in order to hold their own on the world stage. However, with good planning, a well-designed supply chain, a clear understanding of their competitive strengths and the right mindset, even the most lightweight of businesses can outperform the global heavyweights.


As a leading logistics provider, we have a number of products and services designed to support the region’s growing SME sector enabling them to meet the challenges of globalization head on. These products include Webship, shipping online using a credit card without the need to open an account and MyDHL, an online portal which has many functionalities such as sending, managing and tracking shipments to name a few.


SMEs play an important role in our global economic development and today they are facing the same macro-economic pressures as bigger businesses face. However, the majority of SMEs see international trade as a vital role for their survival despite the risks and cost associated with expansion. The DHL Global Connectedness Index provides a comprehensive and timely account of the world’s global connectedness and has a “3-D” approach to measuring globalization, through analyzing the depth of international interactions and also their geographic distribution and directionality. Currently the world is still less connected than it was in 2007 due to a slow recovery from the financial crisis.

Surprisingly, research shows us that advanced economies have not kept up with the big shift of economic activity compared to emerging economies, this has therefore resulted in declining breadth of global connectedness and there is now a reliance on emerging economies for survival. Emerging economies are the ones to watch as they are reshaping global connectedness and are the ones most involved in current international trade interactions. SMEs in this region have an advantage as they are situated between the East and the West and can tap into global connectedness in both developed and emerging markets for future growth.



One of the important factors for SMEs to grow is not only focus on the domestic growth of the business but also look at international or even regional markets for their expansion – this is one of the key findings of the DHL Express study by IHS, the leading global source of information and analytics. SMEs in the UAE should look at exporting or establishing a presence in other GCC markets as well as the wider MENA region such as Egypt or Morocco.

Some of the challenges we face here in the region are the sudden changes in customs clearance processes as well as the congested borders for clearance, which can sometimes take weeks rather than days. That is why DHL – being the market leader – works very closely with the different customs authorities across the region. We are also investing in enhancing our presence and infrastructure through the opening of three new gateways in KSA as well as a new ground operations and land side facility in Egypt to name a few. This kind of forward thinking will definitely help ease some of the current challenges our customers are facing.

DHL helps various SMEs and businesses in reaching out to the international markets and establish growth through supporting their logistics needs and providing solutions that will help facilitate their trade. That is why we have various sales channels to cater for the different customers in a personalized manner and advise them on the right approach and paperwork for shipping to avoid any delays in customs clearances or fines. This way our customers can focus on the other parts of their business.

As the Technology is one of the important and crucial platforms that provide our customers including SMEs with the best in class logistics solutions, which is why we constantly invest in enhancing out IT capabilities and offerings. Today, DHL Express UAE holds several ISO certifications including ISO 9001 for quality management systems, ISO 1401 and OHSAS 18001 for environmental and safety management systems standards as well as the ISO 20,000 for IT service management, making DHL Express UAE the first logistics provider in the Middle East to receive the globally recognized accreditation. DHL Express UAE is also GSOP & TAPA Certified elements for the solutions that DHL provides. This is an international standard for the logistics industry in terms of the automation, safety, security for the various facilities.

We expect the logistics industry in the UAE to expand further. The real estate and retail sectors are also expected to maintain their strong growth in the UAE, especially with the new malls and other real estate projects that will be coming into the market in 2015.





About Frank-Uwe Ungerer

Frank-Uwe Ungerer is the Country Manager for DHL Express in the UAE. Based in Dubai, Frank is responsible for all DHL Express operations within the UAE.

Frank’s career with DHL spans more than seven years. He joined the company in 2003 as Country Manager Russia and was the Managing Director of DHL Greece & Cyprus before arriving in the UAE.

Prior to that, Frank worked in St. Petersburg, where he held the position of MD for the Russian/German Joint Venture Cargo Terminal Pulkovo. He started his career in the logistics industry working with international airline Lufthansa Cargo for 12 years, where he held several senior positions in Germany, Russia and China.

Frank is an Honours Graduate in Transport, and holds an MBA from Ashridge Management College in London, UK. 


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