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After ports and free zones, Dubai’s DP World wants to be a global name in ecommerce

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20210601 Mahmood Al Bastaki
Mahmood Al Bastaki is Chief Operating Officer at DT World, part of the DP World family. “Dubuy.com has plans to expand to seven neighbouring countries in the short to medium term, and then right across Africa…”
Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: For Dubai’s DP World, becoming one of the global giants in managing ports and logistics supply chains was never going to be enough. In what can only be described as a high-stakes move, the company wants to try its hand at being an ecommerce player… and winning at it too.

This is where Dubuy.com, the recently launched online marketplace that debuted in Rwanda and will soon spread its reach to other markets within Africa. The initial plan is to cover seven countries – but it won’t end with that.

Because with Dubuy.com, DP World wants to spread the portal’s reach to as many global markets as possible. Or at least in those territories where DP World is already well entrenched on the ports and logistics side. Because the way it sees ecommerce, this is as much about having the right merchandise to attract buyers as getting it delivered to them. And DP World sure knows a thing or two about delivery.

“Unlike other e-commerce platforms, Dubuy.com provides end-to-end logistics for goods bought or sold,” said Mahmood Al Bastaki, Chief Operating Officer and Director at DT World, a subsidiary of DP World. “If businesses prefer, they also have the choice and tools to organise elements of the delivery journey independently.

“The Dubuy.com platform enables cargo owners and consumers to move any amount of goods, by sea, land or air, from anywhere to anywhere at the click of a mouse. Potential buyers and sellers benefit from Dubuy.com as a one-stop-shop.”

In Rwanda, it’s integrated with the payment service provider DPO and Rosoom in the UAE.

tech_maritime
Ports and free zones are what DP World built itself on… And that specialised knowledge will come in handy as the Dubai company makes an audacious push into ecommerce.
Image Credit: Supplied

Africa push

Concentrating the rollout in and from Africa is what’s unique about the new portal launch. Rather than getting up to speed in its home territory, DP World made a conscious decision to try and break into a market where ecommerce is building up the volumes.

“DP World knows from experience that ports and free zones are vital to turbocharge the growth of emerging economies,” said Al Bastaki. “Huge opportunities are waiting to be unlocked in Africa – we also believe that trade with Africa must go beyond extracting commodities from the continent and selling finished goods in return.

“For Africa to flourish, foreign investors must help home-grown businesses to become manufacturers and exporters themselves. Rwanda was carefully selected by DP World – among all African countries – for the launch of Dubuy.com due to its favourable investment climate and determination to lead Africa in job creation and industrial advancement through technology.”

Tied to logistics

In all of this, there is the logistics element, which plays to DP World’s strengths. “Africa is missing the benefits global trade can bring,” the official added. “The continent needs a network of logistics infrastructure to drive intra-continental trade.

The continent needs corridors that connect landlocked regions with the coast and beyond, bolstered by world-class digital and physical infrastructure.”

Unlike other e-commerce platforms, Dubuy.com provides end to end logistics for goods bought or sold

– Mahmood Al Bastaki of DT World

Two-way movement

The new ecommerce platform shouldn’t be seen as helping African companies find a wider audience outside of their home base. “One of the key objectives behind launching Dubuy.com is to empower global companies in finding and doing business with local partners in Africa,” said Al Bastaki. “Think of it as a facilitator of global trade.

“Right now, we are focusing on vendors in the UAE, Kenya and Rwanda who are looking to buy and sell goods. Dubuy.com is digitising an established and historic trade route. We are also leveraging our Kigali Logistics Platform, which serves as a gateway to the heart of Africa, connecting Rwanda to Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya.

“But that doesn’t mean Dubuy.com will stop there – the goal is expansion throughout the entire continent. DP World’s facilities in Rwanda make it a great starting point, but the physical trade corridors opened up by DP World ports are only the beginning. Dubuy.com will create, in essence, digital trade corridors even where there aren’t port facilities, for example.”

Clearly, DP World wants to have the best of both worlds – physical and digital.

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