Interview of Dr Wolfgang Hoppmann, CEO, Schmidt ME

Interview wwith Dr Wolfgang Hoppmann, CEO, Schmidt Middle East Logistics.

Dr Wolfgang Hoppmann, CEO, Schmidt Middle East Logistics.
Dr Wolfgang Hoppmann, CEO, Schmidt Middle East Logistics.

RPME interviews Dr Wolfgang Hoppmann, CEO, Schmidt Middle East Logistics...

What are your logistics solutions for the downstream industry?

Schmidt Middle East Logistics provides its customers with a full range of logistics solutions through transport, storage and product handling to the chemical and petrochemical industry. Solutions provided are focused on dry bulk products. Schmidt provides its services either on client sites through on-site logistics contracts or at Schmidt multi-user hubs. Currently, Schmidt operates two facilities in the GCC and 43 in Europe. Within the GCC, Schmidt recently launched its facility and new headquarters in KIZAD, Abu Dhabi, and another multi-user hub in Bahrain Logistics Zone in Al Hidd in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The facilities include temperature-controlled warehouses, bulk silo storage, and tilting frames to transfer bulk products of sea containers to silo trailers. Schmidt also provides specialised equipment like silo trailers for the transportation of bulk products by road across the GCC.

What are the major challenges while offering logistics support to the downstream industry?

In specialty logistics for the petrochemical industry, our clients are looking for a service provider who gives them the best quality and flexibility at a reasonable price. The challenge here is to provide an ad hoc solution, while maintaining all the expectations. Schmidt specialises in bulk logistics, which is still being considered a new trend within the GCC. Challenge to introduce this solution in the market, with it being the most efficient in time and cost, has been faced due to the lack of communication between suppliers, producers, converters and clients. The full supply chain players are yet to come together to identify advantages of this solution.

Another challenge that we face here is matching the safety and quality assessment system (SQAS) and quality standards of Europe to the Middle East. With Schmidt maintaining a very high standard of safety, translating this to the GCC has been a difficult task due to different regional expectations and requirements.

What is the uniqueness of your solutions compared to the solutions from the competitors?

Schmidt provides a customised door-to-door logistics solution to clients, starting with engineering, consulting and conceptualisation to the execution and operation, ending with delivery at the customer facility. One of the unique solutions Schmidt provides in the Middle East is the build-up and finance of mobile silo storage units. These solutions work to service the client for its bulk requirements without having to invest large capital and reengineer the current process flow. Within our multi-user facilities in Abu Dhabi and Bahrain, Schmidt provides an all-in solution for all containers (transport, tilting and material handling). Bulk deliveries can be done in standard containers, optimising the payload.

There is an overall cost reduction in indirect costs like packaging material, material handling equipment and personnel, and a significant reduction in contamination risk since there is no manual material handling, for example bag slitting. We can do deliveries on demand, avoiding onsite stock. Other advantages of using our logistics services are safe and fast material flow directly into the production or storage silo; environmental benefits (less waste); and carbon footprint reduction.

Which are your main clients in the Middle East?

In Saudi Arabia, Schmidt handles the on-site logistics for Kemya – the joint venture of SABIC and ExxonMobil. Schmidt has contracts with Grace in Kuwait and Oman. Our company provides specialised services to Agility in Abu Dhabi. As part of a 3PL and 4PL model, Schmidt also provides its expertise and services to major polymer producers within the GCC as well as their suppliers.

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