Local ambition: Muscat's Mahmoud Al Darii and his Iveco fleet

Local ambition: Muscat's Mahmoud Al Darii and his Iveco fleet
Published: 11 June 2017 - 7:14 a.m.
By: John Bambridge

Dant Najd was established as a company in 2008 after Mahmoud Al Darii, its managing director and founder, saw an opportunity to provide transport services in support of the ongoing oilfield developments in Oman along the border with Saudi Arabia. Today, his operations involve a fleet of more than 30 light and heavy trucks and other equipment items.

A local success story, Al Darii hails from a small, originally Bedouin community that resides in the vicinity of the areas currently being developed by the Government of Oman and the state’s oil and gas interests.

To ensure that the local population reaps a share of the reward from these projects, certain dispensations are given to companies established by members of such communities. In addition, the 60% state owned Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) is required to sub-contract a certain proportion of its work to small- and medium-sized enterprises.

But to get in on the game, Al Darii first had to get established, and so he explains: “I finished my studies in commerce and operations, and immediately afterwards I started my business, in January 2008.

“It was difficult at first: finding the finance and funds to start. But I started with one truck — to try to enter the market — because at that time the market was good in transportation.

“Unfortunately, the market came down in 2008 because of the crisis, and after that it was slow going. But in 2009/2010 the market slowly came back up and I tried to expand.”

“But even with my bank history, there was no support, and I couldn’t secure any funds, and you need a facility to buy trucks.”

It was at this point, in 2010, that Al Darii approached the local representative for Iveco Trucks. He recalls: “I told him: ‘I want to buy one truck’, and he said: “Just bring the finance and the truck is ready. I then went off and tried to secure finance here and there, to no avail.

“So personally he went to meet these people, and he convinced them to take it as a challenge to cooperate with me — because I was a young guy, starting a new business, and the market was slowly going up at that time, and the approval came. From then on, by looking at the market, new jobs and new chances came to me, and now I have more than 10 trucks.”

Al Darii has stuck with Iveco since, and he notes: “The Trakker is a good truck and Iveco support us. When I required a second truck, my first priority was to call them. Even in 2012, I wanted one truck urgently, and even though MAN and Volvo trucks were available here, and the Iveco price was higher, I still took it.”

Al Darii then began coming back to Iveco for a new truck every 1.5 years, and, as his business escalated, every four months.

Even his peers were surprised, and he notes: “At that time, Iveco was not that present in Oman. Everybody was buying and talking about MAN and Volvo, but I told myself, why not try this truck? What’s wrong with trying?

 

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