Agility Partners ExpandCart, Shipa let sellers build online stores, fill orders quickly, seamlessly

KUWAIT – June 1, 2020 – Agility and two partner companies moved to help retailers and small businesses start or grow online sales through efficient, easy-to-build digital stores and easy-to-use shipping, fulfillment and delivery services.

The partnership teams ExpandCart, one of the Middle East’s leading e-commerce enablers, with Shipa, Agility’s digital innovation arm. ExpandCart lets small businesses and retailers move online quickly by building branded stores in English and Arabic, then plugging into the simple Shipa platform so they can manage first-mile, fulfillment, freight movements, customs clearance and last-mile deliveries.

Henadi Al-Saleh, Agility Chairperson and leader of Agility’s logistics venture strategy, said the partnership would help traditional retailers and others that have seen store traffic, in-person sales and overall revenue plummet as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“E-commerce and logistics have become lifelines to consumers who are confined at home and to businesses that have lost all or part of their in-store revenue,” Al-Saleh said. “We’re seeing a surge in online sales across the region that could signal a permanent shift in the way people buy in the future. Companies must recognize the need to strengthen their online sales through trusted partners who can guide them and help them grow.”

The Agility partner group – Shipa Ecommerce, Shipa Delivery and ExpandCart – can help merchants and social sellers with no technical expertise establish online stores in as little as a couple of hours and choose their own shipping, fulfillment and delivery solutions so they can get up and running right away.

ExpandCart’s six-month free trial allows sellers and merchants to build their websites and online presence with mobile-responsive online templates available in Arabic and English, and a suite of services including: integration with more than 20 payment and shipping options; digital marketing; handling and fulfilment; a point-of-sale system; branded native mobile apps; and after-sale service. The free trial is good for six months for customers who register during June 2020.

Shipa Ecommerce gives online merchants easy access to some of the world’s fastest-growing and most complex e-commerce markets. Shipa Ecommerce offers integrated freight, fulfillment, delivery and returns solutions across the Arabian Gulf, with additional reach into the EU and Africa in the near future. Customers are cross-border retailers based in the US, EU and Asia, as well as regional merchants based in the Middle East. Shipa Ecommerce solutions are underpinned by easy-to-use digital integration: APIs and web interfaces such as checkout integration with customer portals, websites and apps.

Shipa Delivery offers businesses and consumers on-demand same-day, next-day or cross-border delivery across the Arabian Gulf. Intuitive and easy-to-use, the platform is accessible by mobile or directly integrated with its business customers’ systems, and provides solutions to optimize for speed, convenience, and affordability.

Agility has invested more than $100 million in to allow businesses and consumers to manage freight, e-commerce and urban deliveries online. Through the ExpandCart partnership, the company aims to help get more businesses trading online and across borders.

Global Response Aid to manage ‘ethical supply chain’ for governments, medical facilities, NGOs, private companies

DUBAI – May 8, 2020 – Agility, a leading global logistics provider, has launched Global Response Aid (GRA), a Dubai-based company established to procure certified diagnostic, testing and protective products and offer services such as a contact-tracing app and mobile testing used in the detection, treatment and prevention of COVID-19.

GRA works directly with trusted manufacturers around the world to source safe, effective products for governments, health authorities and public institutions; frontline medical facilities such as hospitals and clinics; non-government organizations involved in the COVID-19 fight; and companies looking to safeguard their workers and workplaces.

GRA-sourced products include top-quality ventilators, thermal detection equipment, thermometers, masks, goggles, protective suits, cleaning and sanitation supplies, and new point-of-care test kits that can take pressure off hospital emergency rooms.

A mobile phone app developed by GRA helps stop the spread of the virus through community-driven contact tracing and alerts. The app offers users the ability to record, time stamp, and geo-reference test results.

GRA also is deploying Mobile Diagnostic Testing Vehicles and trained teams that can perform COVID-19 testing safely on site at schools and workplaces.

The four-year awards include sales and disposal of platforms, military equipment and spares

LONDON – May 1, 2020 – Agility Defense & Government Services (DGS) began work May 1 on two four-year contracts to deliver solutions for the Defence Equipment Sales Authority (DESA), a part of the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD).

The first contract is to sell and dispose of UK armed forces aviation platforms, equipment and spares. It has a potential throughput of $17 million. DESA is the arm of MOD authorized to sell surplus military equipment and inventory.

Under terms of the first contract, DGS will handle the sale and disposal of aircraft, aircraft spares, training aids and ground support equipment, along with other military equipment and spares such as communications systems. DGS performed similar work for DESA for five years as a subcontractor before selection as prime contractor under the new award.

Agility DGS will collect equipment and spares from the MOD in the UK.  Sales will be made worldwide, subject to applicable export controls.

To fulfill the scope of work, Agility DGS will use a customised IT system to target buyers in aerospace businesses. It also has developed databases to sanitise, cross-reference, and manage the inventory. Collection, sales and reporting activity is managed with the same database, which has been tailored to the requirements of the contract.

The second contract is to collect, demilitarise and sell surplus military equipment and property. This includes disposal of surplus assets in operational and non-operational locations outside of the UK and has a potential throughput of $12.8 million over the four years.

This contract includes disposal of surplus assets in operational and non-operational locations outside of the UK. DESA handles the disposal of all materiel that can generate revenue within the UK and overseas, including aircraft, aircraft spares, ships, boats, river craft and other marine vessels and spares, military, domestic vehicles and hazardous waste removal with the exception of nuclear, domestic waste and infrastructure.

Agility DGS had held the DESA Middle East overseas disposal contract since 2012 and was initially focused on the draw-down of the UK armed forces in Afghanistan.

Under terms of the second contract, the global overseas sales and disposals agreement will be managed from Agility DGS’s Stoke-on-Trent facility in the UK, utilizing a customised Quantum ERP system to track inventory, manage the sales process and provide reporting.

Efficient disposal of the surplus inventory saves the MOD and UK taxpayers from the expense of shipping items back to the UK for disposal. Agility DGS will arrange for shipment of valuable items elsewhere if sales are not feasible in local markets.

“We are pleased to begin these two contracts with DESA and look forward to a fruitful continuing association with the UK MOD,” said Gareth Webberley, Vice President of Agility DGS Europe. “Our innovative solutions for sales, disposal, recycling and reporting, coupled with Agility’s global footprint, will complement the vital work DESA and the wider MOD are doing on the global stage.”

Emirates operated a special charter on its Boeing 777-300ER aircraft to transport 50 tonnes of hazelnut paste

Post by Emirates SkyCargo

Emirates SkyCargo, working in partnership with Agility, deployed a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft on a unique mission to transport close to 50 tonnes of fresh hazelnut paste from Istanbul to Melbourne via Dubai. The special consignment was uplifted by flight EK 122 from Istanbul to Dubai and then on flight EK 406 from Dubai to Melbourne on 17th April. Turkey is a world leader in the production of hazelnuts which is a key ingredient in the manufacture of many confectionary products.

Hiran Perera, Emirates senior vice president, cargo planning & freighters said: “Emirates SkyCargo has always prided itself on being an important connector of goods that touch people’s lives. We are currently working flat out every day to transport hundreds of tonnes of medical supplies to help combat the Covid-19 pandemic across the world on our aircraft. So, we were especially delighted to partner with Agility to execute a special charter to fly in some delicious hazelnut paste from Turkey which is sure to bring cheer to customers in Australia.”

“Agility is proud of its collaboration with Emirates airline and the VIP customer we worked to serve together. This shipment was a race against time. The teamwork demonstrated the effectiveness of highly skilled professionals, all of them focused on the need to “keepcargomoving” said Michael Blaufuss, SVP Global Air Freight at Agility.

Emirate SkyCargo is currently transporting cargo across a global network of 50+ scheduled destinations using its Boeing 777 freighters and Boeing 777-300ER passenger aircraft. The air cargo carrier has transported more than 20,000 tonnes of pharmaceuticals and more than 93,000 tonnes of perishables on its flights since January.

Machine brings vital care closer to home for Maldivians

MUMBAI, India – April 22, 2020 – Agility, a leading global logistics provider, recently teamed with Chapman Freeborn Airchartering to deliver CT scan and MRI machines to Malé, capital of the Maldives.The Ministry of Health in Maldives ordered approximately 41 tons of cargo consisting of MRI, CT scan machines and other health equipment for distribution to four different hospitals across the chain of islands and atolls that make up the nation.

Agility airlifted the cargo into Dubai from various locations in the USA, China, France, Japan and India.

The seamless movement of more than 287 pieces from five countries into Dubai was a challenge, especially when availability of flights and space became limited due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Agility worked with Chapman Freeborn and chartered a B747 freighter from Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai. Using B747 aircraft provided significant cost savings when compared with alternatives such as the Antonov An124 or the smaller Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft, which would have required three separate flights.

Satish Lakkaraju, Chief Commercial Officer of Agility India, said: “From the countries of origin, to the consolidation point in Dubai and to the final destination in Male, we were pleased to have such talented people working on this global project. We knew how vitally important this equipment is to the health of the people in the Maldives. We thank our Agility Dubai team and our trusted global partner, Chapman Freeborn, for expertly handling all challenges that arose. The timely execution of this shipment is another example of Agility’s commitment towards patient safety.”

Vikas Chaturvedi, Chapman Freeborn’s Dubai Commercial Manager-Cargo, said: “Once again we’re very proud to have successfully executed another charter flight to Maldives on behalf of Agility. Transporting this type of medical equipment on short notice requires careful planning and close attention to detail. Our strength is the global aviation professionals working with Agility and Chapman Freeborn. We want to thank our partners and colleagues Afsar Ali and Ayshil Chandra for their valuable support.”

Fears of a global recession and concern over a US – China trade war have not diminished the resilience of the emerging markets in this broad-based logistics survey.

The rise of digital technology has spurred the growth of ever more complex business ecosystems. As companies partner with competitors and become “frenemies”, traditional boundaries are dissolving and co-opertition is now the new normal.

At an event hosted by Agility alongside the 2020 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, global business leaders from diverse industries and roles discussed the ways they are using collaborative and interdependent ecosystems to drive growth at their companies.

Watch the video highlights to discover how Unilever has shifted its mindset from looking to drive savings from its suppliers, to a relationship where they partner for mutual growth. Toshiba’s Chief Digital Officer introduces “ifLink”, a new IoT platform and shares his 3 ‘A’s approach to building a successful platform: affordability, agility and availability. Siemens Nigeria CEO describes how she uses partnerships to expand to local markets and also to drive collective action towards solving issues such as cybercrime and corruption. And PayPal’s SVP core markets explains why whether you build, buy or partner, platform integration is key.

MoU signed with the aim of providing ADNEC customers with world leading logistics solutions

Abu Dhabi-UAE: 07 January 2020: Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC) has renewed a five-year strategic partnership agreement with Agility’s Fairs and Events, a division of Agility Global Integrated Logistics. This MoU will continue to enhance ADNEC’s service offering to exhibitors and event organisers with a full range of logistics and freight forwarding services.



Agility is one of the largest integrated logistics providers in the world with more than 26,000 employees and operations in 100 countries. Under the MoU, ADNEC and Agility will continue the success of their established, mutually beneficial cooperation with the aim of providing ADNEC customers with world-leading logistics solutions.

Commenting on the agreement, H.E. Humaid Matar Al Dhaheri, MD and Group CEO of ADNEC at ADNEC said: “ADNEC is committed to providing our clients and customers with the highest quality services across our facilities. To further show our commitment on this, we have partnered with Agility again to ensure the seamless provision of highly efficient and cost-effective logistics solutions to exhibitors and organisers.”

H.E. added: “The collaboration with Agility will continue the significant improvements we’ve put in place with them over the last five years with operational and cost efficiencies, while further showcasing a competitive edge. Additionally, this partnership will continue to boost the leading status of Abu Dhabi as a key destination for business tourism.”

Elias Monem, Agility GIL, CEO – Middle East, said, “This strategic partnership with ADNEC further strengthens Agility’s position as a market leader within the fairs and events sector, allowing us to provide highly sophisticated logistics solutions to ADNEC customers. Agility offers a wide range of supply chain solutions to meet both traditional and complex customer needs. In addition to air, ocean and road freight forwarding, warehousing, distribution, Agility Abu Dhabi also offers specialised services for fairs and events that mirrors the specific needs of ADNEC and its exhibitors.”

Successful implementation could see 80m jobs transferred from Asia

African leaders after agreeing to establish the African Continental Free Trade Agreement at an African Union summit in Kigali, Rwanda in March 2018 © AFP/Getty Images


May 2019 saw the launch of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, creating a single market of 1.3bn people that will grow to an estimated 2.5bn by 2050. A market where 60 per cent of the population is under 25, and where there’s an appetite for high levels of consumption of fast- moving consumer goods. The challenge is: how do we make it work?

The AfCFTA has been signed by 54 of the 55 countries in Africa (only Eritrea has not signed it) and ratified by over half of the signatories. It creates a real opportunity for Africa to liberalise over 90 per cent of intra-Africa tariffs and deliver significant growth on the continent.

Successful implementation of the agreement has the potential to establish Africa as a global manufacturing centre and could, ultimately, result in an estimated 80m jobs in Asia being transferred to Africa.

CEOs of African businesses have their fingers crossed that this is, finally, tangible progress towards a homogenous single market. But they remain sceptical that such an ambitious agreement can be successfully implemented, given the limited success of previous African regional free trade zones and initiatives.

The first step to a successful AfCFTA was a high level of participation which, against all odds, has been achieved. The second step, due to commence in July 2020, is the implementation and practical adoption of the trade practices, processes and infrastructure required to establish a working free zone across 54 countries. Precedent for such a Herculean task exists: the Asean free trade zone has been a notable success, creating a platform for manufacturing, regional trade and a stimulus for jobs and prosperity.



By this year Africa will have a larger working population than China and India combined


Much of the momentum to date has been driven by the African Union and the continent’s development finance institutions, which have ushered the process forward, often having to use all the leverage and persuasion they have available. Encouragingly, they are now fully committed to implementation, resourcing and supporting a meaningful launch and delivering achievable steps by July 2020. The agreement will take until 2030 to be fully operational.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa takes on the presidency of the AU in 2020 and understands the benefits of the AfCFTA and the need to drive the process forward. There is concern, however, that he will be preoccupied with the domestic issues boiling in South Africa. It remains to be seen how important the AfCFTA is on his agenda and how much time he is able to allocate to advancing the process.

Africa currently has the lowest intraregional trade in the world. Only 15 per cent of African trade is cross border between neighbouring countries, whereas cross-border trade represents around 65 per cent of the trade in developed markets. The free movement of goods has the potential to trigger a manufacturing boom and establish Africa as a world centre for manufacturing.

Asia’s transformation into a global economic engine began with the production of cheap goods in countries where wages were low and workers abundant. What followed was the development of sophisticated regional value chains, knowledge transfer and upskilling, and the transition from export-led economies to more balanced ones with rising domestic consumption.

Africa has yet to experience anything like that. The lack of cross-border trade today stifles manufacturing across the continent, constraining production to local markets that are difficult to scale. The elimination of tariffs will stimulate trade, enabling companies to expand and develop as they address larger regional markets.

The manufacturing sector will also begin to draw foreign direct investment. This, in turn, will lead to larger production volumes and bring about new efficiencies, enabling African manufacturing to finally have the ability to compete not only in domestic and regional markets but to be more competitive with global manufacturing.


For Africa, successful implementation of the AfCFTA is a game changer with the potential to move millions from a rural subsistence agriculture- based society to an early stage industrial society


By 2040 Africa will have a larger working population than China and India combined. Low wages on the continent are attracting manufacturers from high employment industries, such as the apparel sector, which can manufacturer at a lower cost in Africa than in traditional Asian production centres. The current slowdown in developed markets means that increasing numbers of multinational companies are becoming interested in the African opportunity as a market and as a global manufacturing base.

For Africa, successful implementation of the AfCFTA

is a game changer with the potential to move millions from a rural subsistence agriculture-based society to an early stage industrial society.

Manufacturing wages are five times more productive for GDP growth than agriculture.

Many of the criteria needed for Africa to prosper finally appear to be aligning. These include a highly competitive young workforce that is willing and able to adopt new technology and embrace the fourth industrial revolution, combined with increasing political stability across the continent and vast, untapped energy resource discoveries that are attracting billions of dollars of foreign investment.

The latter is generating dividend payments for governments in countries such as Mozambique, Tanzania, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Ghana and Mauritania that are sufficient for them to develop as they become net energy exporters.

The AfCFTA has the ability to bind all these prospects together and deliver real growth.

China is first out of the blocks. It is interacting with the private and public sectors in Africa to realise the benefits anticipated from the AfCFTA. Already at the forefront of infrastructure projects in Africa, Chinese manufacturing initiatives are now spreading across the continent.

Chinese companies are relocating their manufacturing hubs from China to Africa in the expectation of tariff-free regional trade and competitive export markets. The alignment of Africa with the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative is now at the forefront of all Sino-African intergovernmental discussions.

If Africa can implement the agreements in practice, and other countries and trading blocs follow China’s lead, the AfCFTA has a good chance of living up to its promise, propelling Africa to the forefront of global manufacturing.

Geoffrey White is chief executive of Agility Africa, a logistics company.

beyondbrics is a forum on emerging markets for contributors from the worlds of business, finance, politics, academia and the third sector. All views expressed are those of the author(s) and should not be taken as reflecting the views of the Financial Times.


Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2019. All rights reserved.

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