Eugene Mayne is the founder and CEO of the Tristar Group and is based in Dubai, UAE.
Under Mr Mayne’s leadership the company has grown from a local transport company in 1998 to a fully diversified and integrated liquid logistics solutions provider that serves the downstream oil and gas industry.
Tristar has since grown to be the Middle East’s largest privately-owned liquid logistics company with operations in 20 countries and territories spread across the Middle East, Africa, Asia, the Pacific and the Americas.
Tristar’s core expertise lies in handling hydrocarbons, lubricants, chemicals and liquid gases with dedicated facilities to manage road transport, specialized warehousing, fuel farms, turnkey fuel supply operations, into plane refueling services, chemicals distribution, and ship owning and chartering for clean petroleum products.
Tristar is a two-time winner of Dubai Government’s Quality Awards, a six-time winner of UK-based RoSPA’s Gold Award on Occupational Health and Safety, and a recipient of the Prince Michael International Award for Road Safety. Recently, Mr. Mayne received the prestigious ‘Golden Peacock Global Award for Corporate Social Responsibility’ from the Institute Of Directors (IOD), in Mumbai, India
Mr. Mayne has consistently been listed among the top 25 most influential logistics executives in the Middle East and Top 100 Indian Leaders in the Arab World.
What are the key opportunities in the future handling of goods?
Various changes in consumer attitudes over the last two to three years means that customers expect real-time information, they expect immediate delivery, and ever increasingly they expect transparency.
Digitization in the supply chain has improved the speed and prosperity of operations. This means greater customer feedback and opportunities for improvement. It is through the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) that transformative improvements have been able to overcome the challenges that faced the logistics industry.
Through the use of Blockchain and the system of decentralized networks, companies are able to monitor inventory, manage stock, optimize fleet routes and increase pay loads.
The logistics industry will drive the ecommerce industry and in the not too distant future digitization will not only strengthen collaboration in the supply chain process but also provide data to identify risks and mitigate the danger of stock outs. Being part of the smart solution is the future of supply chains.
What are the biggest challenges you face as a “liquid logistics specialist”? And how is Tristar meeting those challenges?
There are several challenges that all start with the safety in operations. In the business of handling and distributing flammable petroleum products, a strong safety culture underpins every aspect of our business.
Safety in operations is a team effort and one that is sometimes dictated by external factors over which one may or may not have much control. Therefore, collaboration within and outside the organization is needed and this has to be managed with close oversight, training, and ensuring third parties share our philosophy of safety as the first priority.
Being a liquid logistics specialist does not mean that we are insulated from the technological revolution that is happening all around us and therefore we too need to adopt and implement advanced supply chain solutions to ensure that we are able to offer our customers real time and paper less oversight over the entire supply chain process.
Most of our contract agreements are custom built and priced to meet specific customer requirements. Cross border movements mean adopting different standards and systems because every country has its own regulatory and reporting requirements and noncompliance can have serious and costly implications.
On a geo-political level, the opening of new trade routes, new regulations in particular IMO 2020 and the changing dynamics of the Oil industry will be some of the notable issues that we will need to address and manage going forward.
What are your key strengths in the current market, and what do you offer that is truly unique?
Our business model is to offer a diversified and integrated fuel supply chain service to a wide range of local and international customers in the downstream oil and gas industry.
This means that we have the expertise and capability to safely move fuel by land, sea or air mostly with our own assets and also offer services from into plane refueling, fuel farm management, dangerous goods warehousing, and build and operate remote fuel installations mainly in hostile environments to provide fuel supply to peace keeping and other humanitarian operations.
Our collaborative and partnership approach means that in the current market we are able to readjust and recalibrate our supply chain to address customer expectations of cost optimization, technological advancement or simply extending support in hard times which all go a long way in building customer loyalty.
Our unique strength is our flexible approach in meeting and exceeding customer expectations without compromising standards or values. We will continue to adopt to the changes our customers demand and equally import the changes that their customers demand.
Where do you see the biggest future opportunities for your company in the UAE and global markets?
If one thing is certain going forward, it is uncertainty. The biggest opportunities are to those who can adopt to the uncertainty and to those who can be part of their customers’ solutions to adopt.
Material technologies will change energy storage, car makers will move towards more hybrid models, plastics towards a higher level of recycling, and energy sources towards different source. Petrochemical logistics demand will be around for a while.
Over the next few years, we are in a strong position to support the changing demands of our customers and to support them in their new approach to technologies and the changing demographics of the supply and demand markets.
As I mentioned, our key strength is our independence and our ability to align with our customers’ needs. Our biggest opportunity is to be part of our customers’ changing supply chains and expectations.
We’ve seen a lot of technological disruption in the movement of global trade in recent years, how is this affecting the movement of liquid goods?
The difference today versus yesterday is that there is much more visibility in end to end activities and interactions. Wherever one operates in the world, no matter how remote the location, the ability to see the movement and handling of liquid products is now real time.
While this was unimaginable only a few years ago, the reality is that logistics players should be driven by the need to collect more data in order to make better decisions that benefit all stakeholders. The more intelligence and information gathered, the better the results.
As technology increases the visibility in the supply chain, the volume of data increases, this data can be used to streamline supply chain processes. It can be used to connect a company with existing customers and to find new customers. We are moving towards a cycle where logistics budgets and decisions will be driven by data gathered, and data projected.
We see these visibility changes in the increased use of IoT type devices to monitor supply chains. These devices have become more prevalent, so that a real time dashboard display of volumes within static tanks, volumes within mobile tanks, liquids and gases transferred, and in some cases also the quality of products in the chain are expected as part of the service.
They are no longer added value services, but rather standard expectations. For example, facial recognition technology tests if drivers are fatigued during a journey using infra-red cameras in daylight or darkness.
Drivers might feel that this is intrusive technology, but we believe that, as long as it enables them to complete their journey safely and come back to base in the same condition as they left, it is worth it.
How is Tristar managing to keep in step with the ongoing digitization of the logistics industry?
It has been some years since we started to introduce technology in our business to adopt within the changing market dynamics and to improve safety performance.
More recently we have piloted a Blockchain project to provide full visibility over the supply chain process to our customers on a real time basis and to give our customers the comfort that the right product goes to their right customer within the desired window and at optimum cost.
Our next project will be a fully automated warehousing facility using Artificial Intelligence or AI and robotics to ensure cost effectiveness, eliminate human error, predictive inventory management and to provide a seamless service.