Is halal logistics the next big thing?

Malaysia has cleverly pioneering the concept of halal logistics and plans to establish itself as a global superhub for the halal food industry. However, opportunities still exist for logistics companies in the Middle East to quickly jump onto the bandwagon and capitalise on the emerging market.

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By  Robeel Haq Published  May 29, 2006

|~|halal2.jpg|~||~|Questions surrounding the legitimacy of halal products being imported into the region have existed for several years now and food manufacturers are striving to ease consumer concerns. In Islam, halal meat is considered tainted following contact with non-halal meat. Therefore keeping both categories separate during storage and transportation is essential. Dubai-based food manufacturers such as Al Islami Foods have strict regulations in place to ensure their items remain halal from the manufacturing process right through to being purchased in retail stores. However, such companies keep control of the situation by handling their logistics inhouse. The lack of specialist halal services offered by 3PL providers limit the potential of such activities being outsourced. However, any logistics company guaranteeing such a service could potentially tap into the annual US $25 billion spend on international halal food distribution. Cha Ching! Malaysia has cleverly pioneering the concept of halal logistics and plans to establish itself as a global superhub for the halal food industry. However, opportunities still exist for logistics companies in the Middle East to quickly jump onto the bandwagon and create partnerships with their Malaysian counterparts to capitalise on the emerging market. In fact, the Malaysian Transport Ministry is planning a Dubai trade mission to attract a variety of investors, manufacturers and shipping liners to participate in the country’s ambitious halal logistics initiatives. This includes the construction of Halal Industrial Food Parks in strategic locations such as Port Klang, where logistics companies can offer a range of specialised halal cold chain and distribution services. Of course, industrial areas with freezone status are becoming commonplace in the Middle East; so don’t be surprised if a similar concept is introduced in the region sometime later. In the meantime, as part of Malaysia’s trade mission to Dubai, around 100 Malaysian businessmen will arrive in the emirate to explore potential collaborations in food and non-food industries from both countries. Companies dealing in food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, herbal supplements, leather and cosmetics will be invited to discuss potential partnerships. Interestingly, although unsurprisingly, the collaboration process has already begun with one of Malaysia’s leading logistics companies, MISC Integrated Logistics, forming a joint venture company with Dubai shipping agents RHS Group to offer halal logistics services in the UAE. At the moment, RHS Group is refusing to comment on the newly formed company. “No comment,” stated a RHS Group spokesperson when contacted by Logistics Middle East. A surprising move considering the company plans to possibly start operations from this month. Perhaps it wants to receive approval from the relevant authorities before spreading the word. Either way, the joint venture is set to become one of the only logistics companies to specialise in halal logistics. However, in all probability, other companies are likely to follow suit in the future.||**||

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