- Logistics in Saudi Arabia advances with the 2030 Vision, as the Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman says, “Saudi Arabia’s strategic location is the most important gateway to the world as a linking center for the three continents.”
- Common challenges in the shipping process include the absence of effective communication, insufficient operational support, and a lack of knowledge regarding available resources for these services.
- Areen Abdullah, Head of Commercial at Baredex, focuses on developing external strategies to offer solutions to clients by collaborating with them and understanding their unique shipping requirements.
The logistics industry in Saudi Arabia is undergoing a digital transformation driven by technologies like AI, robotics, and data analytics. The growth of e-commerce is increasing the demand for last-mile delivery solutions and omnichannel logistics capabilities. The Saudi government is heavily investing in infrastructure development to improve connectivity and reduce transportation costs. There is a growing focus on sustainability in the logistics industry, with companies implementing measures to reduce their environmental impact.
Areen Abdullah, the Head of Commercial at Baredex, has made innovative strides in overcoming the industry’s perennial challenges. Baredex is a global shipping platform offering services to over 500 destinations, positioning itself as the go-to choice for finding the best shipping company. Baredex simplifies logistics by being a single place for many global shipping carriers.
In the latest interview with Business APAC, Areen Abdullah shared the story of dedication and innovation, demonstrating an invincible drive that propels Saudi Arabia’s logistics industry ahead, enabling the flawless flow of business in an interconnected globe.
(The following Q&A has been edited for length and clarity)
Business APAC: Today’s youth often prioritize their careers as the primary goal, seeking unique opportunities across various industries. Could you share your journey into the logistics industry and shed light on what motivated your choice?
Areen: My main motivation was the support of my family and the huge empowerment of women in Saudi Arabia. I graduated from King Abdulaziz University with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing in 2020.
After the pandemic, I started my career as a sales representative at Baredex, a logistics solutions company. Working in a startup company with a small team provided me with an opportunity to develop my skills. I had the privilege to learn different aspects of the business in a short time.
Within a year, I was promoted to the product manager of Baredex. I continued to self-learn and gain more experience in this field. Recently, I became the commercial manager of the company.
Business APAC: You had been a sales representative, and are now a Head of Commercial in the logistics industry. What changes have you noticed in the logistics market of Saudi Arabia and what are the challenges or opportunities that you foresee?
Areen: The logistics sector in Saudi Arabia is undergoing rapid advancements, driven by the ambitious goals outlined in the 2030 Vision by His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who said, “Saudi Arabia’s strategic location is the most important gateway to the world as a linking center for the three continents.”
With its diverse geographical features and extensive transportation infrastructure, including ports, airports, and road networks, the Kingdom has the potential to become a major gateway for trade and commerce between these continents.
As I write this, my kingdom has the biggest opportunity in my opinion that makes me feel proud. Winning the bid to host Expo 2030 in Riyadh presents a significant opportunity for the Kingdom to showcase its capabilities and potential to the world, providing a platform for collaborations and partnerships. The logistical and transportation sectors will be at the center of these developments, as thousands of exhibitors and visitors will require seamless logistics support. This presents both an opportunity and a challenge that is not hard for us to achieve.
Business APAC: Can you elaborate on the common challenges faced by individuals and corporations in the shipping process that Baredex aims to address? How does your model specifically tackle issues related to communication, operational support, and resource knowledge?
Areen: Baredex is redefining shipping and logistics in the Kingdom with the customer at the center of the model. Our clients are individuals and corporations who face common challenges in the shipping process, such as a lack of effective communication, operational support, and inexperience with the regulatory and operational processes for Saudi Arabia.
We aim to solve these problems by providing physical stores across the Kingdom that allow customers to ship, collect, and shop at their convenience, with longer opening hours, digital technology at their fingertips, and on-demand deliveries. We want to eliminate the issues of missing deliveries and damaged parcels.
Moreover, Baredex will be launching over 200 new locations in the next 18 months and hundreds of new, state-of-the-art delivery vehicles that will cover the Kingdom, from the megacities of Riyadh through to the small communities in rural areas. We believe that our customers should be free to send and receive shipments from anywhere in the world, delivered right to their doorstep at a time convenient to them.
Business APAC: You have achieved the remarkable feat of becoming the face of the company in a very short period. How do you manage your daily responsibilities at the workplace? What are some of the notable achievements that you are proud of?
Areen: As the Head of Commercial at Baredex, my key responsibility is to make Baredex accessible to every person in Saudi Arabia, wherever they may be. To achieve this ambitious vision, I lead the sales and customer care teams, secure governmental deals, and drive both internal and external strategies to continuously improve the logistics experience for our clients.
This involves identifying areas for improvement, implementing innovative technologies, and optimizing processes to streamline our operations and maximize efficiency.
Furthermore, I also focus on developing external strategies for our clients by closely collaborating with them, understanding their unique shipping requirements, and providing solutions.
When I look back on my achievements, I think the most significant one is the ability to reach such a position at a young age. I also take immense pride in securing the most substantial deals within the company and being the go-to person for extensive knowledge across various domains.
Business APAC: Being a young leader is not easy, especially in a competitive industry. What were the challenges that you faced in your role and how did you overcome them?
Areen: As a young leader, I faced various challenges that tested my professionalism and skills. One of the hardest hurdles and most common for young leaders to face is people doubting their skills and capabilities, especially when they lack the experience traditionally associated with leadership roles. I admit that I faced setbacks and made mistakes along the way. However, these challenges were essential for my personal growth and development.
To overcome this challenge, I relied heavily on the support and guidance of my network. Having a supportive family was a crucial factor in boosting my confidence and helping me stay focused during difficult times. Moreover, with the support of my family, and the trust and guidance from the Founder and CEO, I was able to overcome these obstacles.
Business APAC: No one can love everything about their workplace. What is one thing that you love the most and one thing that you hate the most?
Areen: I love how the logistics sector is continuously evolving, presenting exciting challenges and opportunities for growth. It keeps me engaged and motivated to find innovative solutions and deliver exceptional results to our clients.
However, if I have to say something that I hate, it would be the difficulty of dealing with extensive paperwork, regulatory compliance, and various approval processes that can be time-consuming.
Business APAC: Balancing professional and personal life can be challenging, especially for young leaders. How do you manage to achieve this balance?
Areen: To achieve a healthy work-life balance, I make sure to separate my work life and personal time. While there are occasions when I may need to bring work home, I ensure that I take a few hours to relax with my family. Spending quality time with my loved ones gives me the mental refreshment and focus I need to handle any work-related tasks at home or the office.
Apart from my work life, I have some hobbies that bring me joy. Whenever I feel stressed, I find solace in going to the gym, playing paddle with friends, or going to the beach. These activities help me relieve tension and clear my mind.
Business APAC: Many young readers aspire to have a career in the logistics industry. What advice would you give to upcoming leaders like you?
Areen: My message to young leaders is to have faith in their skills and be confident in facing exciting challenges. Logistics is a dynamic field that requires you to deal with various components and to stay up to date with technological advancements shaping logistics.
“One should have faith in what they do and be ready to stand firm in any situation.”