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Growth on the Nile

A home for home appliances: in the Mall of Arabia on the outskirts of Cairo, Elaraby operates its most modern store, where ʺlogistics NewsFeedʺ invited Logistics Manager Hend Sobhy Salah and her ʺcounterpartʺ at DB Schenker, Ossama Ellaban, for a photo shoot. Photos: Dana Smillie

In 1964, when the three Elaraby brothers founded their hardware store in Cairo, Egypt’s capital had a good three million inhabitants. Today it is several times that number. And Elaraby Group, having emerged from the three brothers’ tiny business, originally with no other employees, now has 27,000 staff. In North Africa and the Middle East, it is one of the leading manufacturers and providers of household appliances and home electronics. In matters of logistics, the company is increasingly building upon its cooperative venture with DB Schenker.


Home appliances such as refrigerators, vacuum cleaners and washing machines, as well as home electronics such as tablets, notebooks and TVs: Elaraby Group has an extensive product portfolio. The items of equipment are produced in two industrial complexes outside Cairo, among other facilities. “The goods come into the stores under the brand name Tornado,” says Hend Sobhy Salah, the company’s International Logistics General Manager.


Apart from providing a range of in-house products, the group also represents globally leading brands such as Toshiba, Sharp, Seiko and Sony to name but a few. The goods are sold in 15 bricks-and-mortar stores owned by the company, as well as through more than 3,000 retailers and dealers and, increasingly, online. Beyond its core business, Elaraby Group also owns an ultra-modern, well-equipped, 300-bed hospital in Cairo.


“Most of the parts we use originate from abroad. They need to get to the production lines quickly and at reasonable cost”

Hend Sobhy Salah, International Logistics General Manager, Elaraby Group

Across all business areas, the group’s revenue reached more than 20 billion Egyptian pounds in 2018 (a good 1 billion euros or 1.1 billion US dollars). The company is not stopping there, though, as its course is clear for growth. “Right now, we are expanding in Upper Egypt,” Hend Sobhy Salah points out. There, a factory with a logistics center has been opened up recently, with a further industrial facility now being built. “Yet our strategic goal is also to grow exports into our foreign markets.”


All this calls for finely-tuned logistics. For instance, with regard to the imports, as manager Hend Sobhy Salah explains: “Most of the parts and components originate from abroad. They need to get to the production lines quickly and at reasonable cost.” Likewise, the branded goods bought in by Elaraby must be brought into Egypt, the bulk of them from the Far East, but also from Europe and South America.

15 bricks-and-mortar stores, more than 3000 dealers and retailers – and 27,000 staff: from a tiny business run by three brothers, Elaraby Group has developed into a powerful organization that serves markets way beyond its native Egypt. Photo: Dana Smillie

It was primarily to deal with the obligatory customs clearance for imports sent by ocean freight that the company enlisted DB Schenker’s services in 2014. “We were able to help Elaraby by substantially reducing the clearance time, cutting it from nine to three days on average by managing pre-clearance ,” says Ossama Ellaban. As DB Schenker’s Customs Clearance and Branches Manager in Egypt, he is responsible for the customer.


Since 2018, DB Schenker has been more intensively involved in Elaraby Group’s logistics than when the partnership began. First, in customs clearance tasks for airfreight. Second, in the physical transportation of goods: “We manage ocean freight shipments from several European ports such as including Hamburg and Genoa as well as airfreight shipments from China, Thailand, South Korea and Italy,” Ossama Ellaban explains.


We were able to help Elaraby by substantially reducing the time taken by the customs clearance procedures”

Ossama Ellaban, Customs Clearance and Branches Manager, DB Schenker Egypt

Last year, we custom cleared and delivered around 6,800 TEU, and on top of that we transported 22 tons by airfreight on behalf of Elaraby,” the manager points out. There is also a growing amount of shipments done by truck within Egypt. In this context, DB Schenker transports parts and components to the production facilities. Yet the logistics service provider also has its share of the export processes, with these becoming ever more important to Elaraby. This takes place through shipments of finished products heading for the export markets via Port Said, the container port at the mouth of the Suez Canal.


Several factors point to Elaraby’s plan for growth being made a reality – after all, the economic and demographic framework is favorable, not least in the company’s home country. Egypt’s economy has recently shown strong growth; by now, the country has almost 100 million inhabitants, including a growing middle-class; the trends point upwards. “Each year, there’s roughly one million new households in Egypt,” according to Logistics Manager Hend Sobhy Salah. With this, the demand for household appliances and home electronics is set to grow – and so is the need for logistics. Exciting times for providers such as DB Schenker!

Land-based transport, and much more: since 2014, DB Schenker has been logistics partner to Elaraby Group. Initially the cooperative venture was based around customs clearance, but now it also involves more and more transport assignments. Photos: Dana Smillie

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