In a little more than 30 years, Aramex has gone from a small express delivery operator handling deliveries for US companies like Fed Ex and Airborne Express, to a publicly traded company with over 300 locations worldwide. Aramex has traveled along the ultimate journey: coming from nothing and gaining great success, achieving many milestones along the way.
In the early 80s, the company’s goal was to fill the void in the Middle East of a reliable express courier service. Back then, founder Fadi Ghandour worked every position he could to make Aramex succeed – from impromptu delivery man to salesman. In 1984, Ghandour along with partner Bill Kingson endeavored to sell half of Aramex to US-based Airborne Express.
Kingson and Ghandour got to meet with Airborne Express’s COO and CEO, but they didn’t get the deal they wanted. Airborne Express wasn’t willing to purchase Aramex as it occupied a small, volatile market at the time i.e. the Middle East. But Kingson and Ghandour did not leave that meeting empty-handed; they secured an important business opportunity.
Airborne Express didn’t buy a 50% stake in Aramex for $100,000 as Ghandour and Kingson had hoped, but they did offer Aramex a business opportunity. Some customers requested that Airborne Express deliver parcels to the Middle East. The problem was, Airborne Express didn’t operate in the Middle East. Thus, Airborne Express would have turn to another company, sometimes a rival, to fulfill customers’ needs.
These Middle Eastern requests were an insignificant part of business for Airborne Express, and partnering with Aramex was a riskless move, plus Airborne Express avoided having to rely on competitor businesses to make deliveries in the Middle East. This opportunity provided a huge account for Aramex, a business whose founders valued it at a mere $200,000, and which hadn’t even yet reeled in $1,000,000 in revenue.
A Versatile Solution
After partnering with Airborne Express, Aramex not only began gathering revenue from its new account, but also it began garnering priceless business insight from one of the courier leaders in the industry. Aramex took this insight and began molding their business model to pitch their services to others in the business. Aramex gained clients like Emory, and Fed Ex and began building up its reputation and profits.
Aramex could approach industry leaders in express delivery and logistics as a neutral partner. They could offer their delivery services for a Middle East market, a place where most courier companies lacked a real presence. Aramex had offices all over the place, many of which were set up as Airborne Express, Emory, or Fed Ex offices. Aramex brought in clients by representing itself as these larger companies, which had established reputations in customers’ minds. Aramex wore many hats in the express delivery industry.
A Burst of Success
Aramex was able to serve larger companies and used technological advances like email and package tracking to provide premier services to customers. By 1997, Aramex was the first publicly traded Arab company on the NASDAQ, but this only lasted until 2002 when Abraaj Capital purchased Aramex. In 2003, after DHL acquired Airborne Express, Aramex helped found the Global Distribution Alliance and the World Freight Alliance, boosting services, sales, and scope worldwide. Aramex is here for the long haul. They continuously submit sustainability reports, charting the company’s potential to perform in the future. And the tides are looking up for this premier Arab delivery service.