The economy in Bangladesh is booming: Growing population figures, a rising GDP and a record level of exports are providing a strong economic upswing. Today, Bangladesh is one of the emerging “Next Eleven” markets. We spoke with Mr. Zahedi, Managing Director FML Bangladesh at Hermes International, a division of Hermes Germany, about the current situation, future challenges and the potential of the market.
Mr. Zahedi, how long has Hermes International been active in Bangladesh? Which services do you provide to support your customers on site?
Hermes International has been active in the Bengali market for 10 years now and serves several world-renowned clients. We provide our customers with individual full-service logistics solutions: From picking up the goods from the retailer or producer, to warehousing solutions including pick-pack or scan-pack, quality ensuring services, to the final delivery of the goods in the destination country. Our goal is to support our customers in making their logistics more efficient, as well as improving their supply chain performance – and therefore operating in a cost-sensitive manner.
Can you provide us with an insight into your daily business? What are your responsibilities as Managing Director in Bangladesh?
We offer our customers high-quality 3PL services – therefore we`re meeting the challenges of international goods traffic in a customer-oriented and innovative way.
In my day-to-day business, I rely on my many years of experience for the needs of the customer, in order to be able to respond to them in the most suitable way. Furthermore, it is my responsibility, together with my team here in Bangladesh, to identify and implement the best possible logistics processes for each customer. We always strive to provide our customers with a first-class service so that they can successfully operate on the global market and benefit from the international trade of goods.
The corona virus has a huge impact on the economy and supply chains worldwide. What is the situation in Bangladesh? What consequences do you experience and what are the challenges you are currently facing? How do you respond to them?
At present, all companies worldwide are in the situation that they have to adapt to changing circumstances and requirements as quickly as possible – innovative solutions are often required.
Here in Bangladesh, too, the pandemic has led to production shortfalls and, as a result, to delays or even cancellations in delivery.
It is our priority, of course, to maintain our customers’ ability to deliver and to secure their inventories. Due to the cancellation of commercial flights for the transport of goods, it is a challenge to maintain sufficient air and sea freight capacity. Thanks to the good cooperation of the team here on site, our extensive know-how and our many years of experience, we have been able to master this challenge with confidence over the past few months.
Last year, Bangladesh exported goods with a total value of 37.94 billion U.S. dollars – the highest export volume within the last ten years. Which are the main export countries for Bengali goods?
That’s right, 2019 was a very successful year. The pandemic will certainly have an impact on last year’s key figures, but nevertheless we expect encouraging figures for 2020 as well as for 2021.
In 2019, the most important export countries were the USA and Germany, followed by the United Kingdom and Spain.
What about the import? Which segments experience particularly strong demand in Bangladesh?
According to Statista, Bangladesh imported goods worth around 60.14 billion U.S. in 2019 – tendency rising. Bangladesh therefore currently ranks #50 of trade destinations in the world. At the moment, mainly production goods such as cotton or yarns are imported. Especially for the textile industry, which is very dominant here in Bangladesh. Further, also bitumen and oils are in great demand here.
Besides production materials, computers and other electronics were increasingly imported within the last years. Likewise, with a growth rate of 14 percent, sugar and confectionery were a big growth market in 2019.
Let’s take a look into the future: As already indicated, the Bengali market has grown rapidly in recent years. What plans do you, at Hermes International, have to further unlock the resulting potential – and to provide your customers with maximum support in the future?
In the Bengali market, we would like to further establish Hermes International as an experienced and reliable logistics partner and provide our customers with the best possible support in their trade with Bangladesh and Europe. To this end, our customers have access to a comprehensive network of experts at home and abroad. We also support companies who want to enter the international market with our industry knowledge and market information.