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From Crop To Cup: How Logistics Can Unlock Growth Opportunities For Coffee Entrepreneurs In Saudi Arabia By leveraging customized logistics solutions, SMEs can ensure the delivery of fresh and well-preserved coffee to coffee enthusiasts around the world.

By Taarek Hinedi Edited by Aby Thomas

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Coffee has had deep roots in Saudi Arabian society for centuries, where traditional coffee ceremonies symbolize hospitality and friendship. This cultural heritage, known as qahwa, not only represents the country's diverse traditions, but also holds great potential for economic growth.

The recent approval for Saudi Arabia to join the International Coffee Agreement amplifies this ambition, marking a strategic move towards enhancing the Kingdom's economic diversification. To fully realize this potential, targeted investments and support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are crucial, as they can stimulate growth within the coffee industry and create a nurturing environment for entrepreneurs and businesses. By seizing the lucrative opportunities within the European coffee import market, which accounted for a substantial 57.6% of the global total of US$36.05 billion in 2021, SMEs can pave their way to success on a global scale.

For SMEs in the coffee industry, logistics providers can be invaluable support in streamlining the entire process, from sourcing raw materials, to delivering the final product to international markets. By leveraging customized logistics solutions, which include temperature-controlled and flexible shipping options, consolidation services for smaller shipments, and packaging solutions that comply with international standards, SMEs can ensure the delivery of fresh and well-preserved coffee to coffee enthusiasts around the world.

Related: 2022, The Year That Was: Kim Thompson, Co-Owner And Managing Director, RAW Coffee Company

Moreover, the logistics sector can contribute significantly to the global expansion of Saudi SMEs in the coffee industry by providing access to new trade routes, and reaching untapped markets and customers. Saudi Arabia's strategic location between Europe, Asia, and Africa positions the Kingdom ideally for exporting coffee to these regions. However, existing trade routes often present challenges in terms of navigation, logistics coordination, supply chain disruptions, and limited market access. A reliable logistics company with well-established global air and ground networks, that has a bird's eye view of global supply chains and trends, can connect SMEs to new possibilities, without requiring substantial investment in logistics infrastructure.

Additionally, the digital platforms provided by logistics providers offer end-to-end visibility of shipments, real-time tracking and monitoring, and online trade-document management, ensuring the integrity of the coffee beans. Simultaneously, these platforms help SMEs in the coffee industry save time and money on shipping, through optimal route planning, shipment consolidation, efficiency gains, and transparent cost management. Logistics providers also offer value-added services such as product labelling, packaging, and quality control. These services help SMEs in the coffee industry enhance the overall quality and presentation of their products.

By strengthening their brand image and meeting international quality standards, SMEs can differentiate themselves from competitors, and capture the attention of consumers. Additionally, logistics providers can support capacity building by offering training and assistance in logistics and supply chain management, equipping SMEs with the necessary expertise to navigate the complexities of global trade successfully. This solid foundation then sets the stage for their market expansion.

As Saudi Arabia's coffee industry gears up to go global through its inclusion in the International Coffee Agreement, logistics providers are set to play a critical role in helping SMEs scale up and unlock new business opportunities. By empowering SMEs in the coffee industry through efficient supply chain management, customized solutions, and market access, logistics providers enable these entrepreneurs to capitalize on the growing demand for Saudi coffee and compete effectively in new markets. Through their value-added services, technology-enabled solutions, and capacity-building support, logistics providers thus become indispensable partners in the journey towards success in the global coffee industry.

Related: "We Got Funded!" UAE-Headquartered COFE Raises US$15 Million In A Series B Funding Round Led By Saudi Aramco's VC Arm Wa'ed Ventures

Taarek Hinedi

Vice President of Middle East and Africa Operations at FedEx Express

Taarek Hinedi is the Vice President of Middle East and Africa Operations at FedEx Express.

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