Feature / 06 Aug 2023

Empowering the Middle East's infrastructure aspirations

by Gopalakrishnan Srinivasan, Group General Manager, Special Projects, Energy Division, GAC Group

The Middle East has witnessed massive growth as countries in the region have sought to make the best of their natural resources and develop into global centres for industry, trade and leisure.

For example, Saudi Arabia in July 2021 announced its plans to invest more than USD133 billion in the transportation sector, with a focus on airports, seaports, rail, and other infrastructure by the end of the decade as it looks to become a global transportation and logistics hub.

Gopal photo July 2023 CROPPED

One thing that new roads, bridges, stadiums, shopping malls and oil or gas facilities have in common is the need for infrastructure and the materials to build them. But that means some serious heavy lifting is needed to get key components for such projects that are too big, unwieldy or demanding for standard transportation.

When handling such massive project logistics shipments, a special approach is needed. Fortunately, GAC has extensive experience and the right resources to deliver the goods for such projects.

Every project is unique but they all demand flexibility - one of GAC’s strongest assets.

Before securing a project, a potential customer evaluates our ability to manage various complexities. Our strong presence in the Gulf since the first GAC office opened in Kuwait in 1956 is a key element of its success. And with our robust global network and a vast amount of resources, the Group has the resources to simplify things for customers that deal globally or with more than one port or warehouse at a time.

GAC Projects Logistics SA21

Our long-standing relationships with customers and authorities lead to deals, with each project a testament to the good work we have previously undertaken.

As an industry leader, GAC has extensive global and local connections to help bring projects to fruition, which is vital for any type of major infrastructure project.

Our excellent relations with the local authorities were essential in securing multiple approvals from the local police, road transportation authorities and the electricity company for the delivery of multiple out-of-gauge structures worth US$4 million for a major project within a limited timeframe. To enable its transport by road, power cables had to be deactivated overnight and – reactivated the next morning, minimising the impact on public. With GAC’s resources, teamwork and proactiveness, the project with a combination of Heavy Lift trucks, Barges and Tugs was a huge success.

Continuity and reliability
Regardless of the size of a project or the role that GAC plays in it, we are only as good as our last job, and how well we perform on our current project determines our success in securing future projects. Continuity and reliability are key. It is a huge hassle when a customer has to change their service provider mid-way through a project, which sometimes happens due to dissatisfactory service.

It is therefore vital to ensure we exceed our customers’ expectations on every project assigned to us, to ensure continuity, reliability and securing repeated projects from the same customer throughout our global network.

The future
The logistics sector is going through a transformation with smart technologies to increase efficiency throughout the region. The Middle East has witnessed significant infrastructure development, including large-scale construction projects, transportation networks, and energy facilities.

The future of project logistics in the Gulf is likely to see continued growth as more mega-infrastructure projects are planned and executed.

At Breakbulk Europe 2023 in July, speakers on the Planning for the Future of Project Logistics panel shared three wishes stated for the future of project logistics:

  • More digitalisation
  • Greater transparency
  • Greater co-operation and sharing of information on sustainability, flexibility, better Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) connections with logistics providers, improved proactiveness and mentoring of the older generation to the new generation

All the above, along with 24x7 operational track & trace capability and Management KPI reports, are key to GAC’s success.

The future of project logistics in the Middle East will be driven by the region's infrastructure development, upcoming energy projects, urbanisation and continuing economic growth. Technological advancements and a focus on sustainability are also likely to shape the industry's direction in the coming years.

Service providers who can demonstrate their unique value and adapt to changing landscapes will find themselves at the forefront of these exciting developments.

Latest Insights