Enter the dragon

PWC Logistics has announced a major rebranding, with a brand new name and plans for massive expansion throughout the world.

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By  Robeel Haq Published  December 6, 2006

PWC Logistics has announced a major rebranding, with a brand new name and plans for massive expansion throughout the world.

Rumours about PWC Logistics entering a period of massive change have been circulating in the Middle East for several months now. Although the company initially shielded the story with silence, it finally revealed the details last month, announcing a major rebranding with a new corporate name and logo.

In essence, the landmark decision unites the entire group of companies, which includes the regional success story PWC Logistics, as well as several other logistics brands acquired around the world, such as GeoLogistics, Trans-Link and TransOceanic.

“Each company will be rebranded with the name Agility,” explains Tarek Sultan, chairman and managing director of Agility. “This completes the integration of services across the PWC Logistics group of companies and reflects a single face to customers throughout the world.”

The launch announcement is the first phase of a long-term transitional strategy, with migration to the new brand name scheduled for completion by 2008.

The word Agility was apparently chosen because it perfectly describes the culture of the organisation. According to Sultan, it represents speed and dexterity in responding to customer needs. “We wanted a perfect description of our character, mission, vision and goals,” he says. “This was an exceptional challenge, because we wanted to convey all of that with just one word.”

The company has also designed a brand new logo, in the shape of a dragon. Again, the image was created to match the company’s personality. “It’s a very powerful metaphor,” says Sultan. “It symbolises wisdom, independence, heritage, empowerment, leadership, strength and speed.”

Since its founding over 25 years ago, PWC Logistics has become a leading provider of integrated supply chain solutions in the Middle East.

The company has always been publicly traded on the Kuwait Stock Exchange, but for a long time the Kuwaiti government retained a significant holding in the company. In 1997, the government sold off its controlling stake in the old PWC and new management came in.

The new team put in place a plan to transform a company that was effectively a real estate provider hiring out warehousing space. The idea of outsourced logistics took some time to catch on in the Middle East, with FMCG retailers leading the way. These days, following a number of ambitious international acquisitions, Agility/PWC has grown into a US $4.5 billion publicly traded company.

In April 2005, US-based Transoceanic Shipping was acquired in a merger. The deal strengthened PWC’s presence in the oil & gas and industrial logistics sectors. In July 2005, the company paid US $454 million to acquire GeoLogistics Corporation from Questor Partners Fund II, a private equity fund.

Based in California, the company specialises in freight management and customised logistics services. Under Questor’s ownership, the company was refocused on core international freight forwarding operations and great effort was put into improving operational efficiency. The previous year, PWC had strengthened its presence in Lebanon when it acquired a warehousing facility from the Spinneys retail group. Under the agreement, PWC provides warehousing and distribution services to Spinneys stores in Lebanon on a long term contract.

These days, the new Agility has a combined employee base of 20,000 people, working in 450 offices located in more than 100 different countries.

“Although we have a new name, we are still known for our rich heritage. The rebranding means we have woven our capabilities into a single name, with the goal of providing the very best customer service possible,” says Sultan.

The company currently offers a range of logistics services, such as warehousing facilities, transportation and freight management services for customers from a wide range of industries, including apparel and footwear, automotive, consumer and industrial electronics, engineering and construction, food and grocery, healthcare, and petrochemicals.

“We truly believe our customers are our partners. We strive to understand their business needs, their competition and the metrics that are critical to their business. We then develop customised solutions incorporating our industry focused capabilities, and deliver with a highly personal service,” says Sultan. “Our customers span a range of industries. In addition, Agility has three specialised business units: defence and government services, project logistics, and fairs and events logistics. Each unit has a dedicated team to meet the complex requirements in these markets.”

Agility will continue to work with governments and emergency aid organisations around the world to deliver critical materials. Its team of experts have already gained experience in the transportation of food, shelter and clothing throughout the world on short notice, using either airlifts or shipping. “Global presence brings social responsibilities and we take ours seriously,” says Sultan.

The company is also planning to continue its expansion into new territories, such as North Africa, Europe and important Asian markets, including Pakistan and China.

It is also planning further expansion in the booming Middle East market, including moves in the United Arab Emirates, where it is spending approximately US $150 million to build its capacity and network. The investment includes a new logistics centre in the Jebel Ali Free Zone, covering 300,000m², in addition to another facility in Dubai Investment Park.

Agility is also planning to invest approximately $270 million in Saudi Arabia, $50 million in Oman and a further $50 million in Turkey. “While concentrating on our global customers, our global services and our global reach, we have not forgotten our local communities,” says Sultan. “Expansion in the Middle East region will continue to play an important role in our growth.”

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