By Alexander Cornwell
DUBAI, April 29 (Reuters) – DP World, best known for operating ports around the world, has launched a wholesale e-commerce website that it hopes will become the global platform for businesses to buy and sell goods.
The platform, Dubuy, aims to connect buyers and sellers around the world with goods offered for delivery via the supply chain of DP World and its logistics partners.
Dubuy is already live in Rwanda and will soon be expanded to some east African countries including Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda, before being rolled out across the continent.
It will also be launched in markets outside Africa.
“We are multimodal. We are not only a port terminal operator. We are a global trade enabler. That’s our vision,” said Mahmood Al Bastaki, chief operating officer of DT World, a wholly-owned DP World subsidiary.
“We want to be in anything that has to do with the movement of cargo.”
Dubuy expects to cover half of Africa in the next two and a half years and the entire continent within four years. The platform is already linked to sellers in Dubai, the emirate that owns DP World and where it is headquartered.
Dubuy is partnering with mobile providers to facilitate digital wallet payments and is separately looking at how sellers can ship their own goods if they choose to.
Al Bastaki declined to disclose how much money DP World had so far put into Dubuy. He said 25 DP World employees were working full-time on the platform, in addition to many more contractors.
DP World wants Dubuy to be the world’s biggest business-to-business e-commerce platform but has no plans to compete with Amazon or other business-to-consumer platforms, Al Bastaki said.
“Once it succeeds, the money will come from the platform itself. Not from the ports. So it can sustain itself by itself.”
Dubuy is targeting to have one million individual products available on Dubuy by next year, and DP World is offering guaranteed shipping dates to encourage users to sign up.
DP World is also developing other platforms, including offering trade finance to exporters, importers and others, and a freight booking platform that shows different company rates.
“We want the importer to import more, to continue importing, and the exporter to export more and to continue exporting. We want the flow of goods to continue,” Al Bastaki said. (Reporting by Alexander Cornwell. Editing by Mark Potter)
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