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Kenes Rakishev advises to save transport companies at all costs

Transport is the backbone of the economy - Kenes Rakishev

04.Nov.20 12:46 PM
By Abigail Richards


Kenes Rakishev advises to save transport companies at all costs
Freight and logistics companies have been on the frontline during this crisis, playing an indispensable role in manufacturing and transporting essential medical items and food staples. As the logistics industry has faced numerous challenges resulting from travel restrictions and labour shortages, strengthening the resilience of the sector has emerged as a priority, investor Kenes Rakishev says.

As you may have read in June, BTA Bank (of which I am a shareholder) announced plans to acquire the Biek-Tau logopark in Tartastan. This acquisition will be a vital component of a network of logistics parks across the New Silk Road between China and Europe, running through Kazakhstan and Russia. Through careful integration of innovative technology, this network will facilitate an efficient flow of core commodities and goods, bringing certainty to many markets and manufacturers who have suffered during this pandemic.

According to Kenes Rakishev, accounting for approximately 11% of global GDP, the logistics sector is a key enabler of global commerce and trade, supporting numerous other industries and services. Despite its importance in our globalized world, many countries still have unreliable and inefficient logistics sectors which result in long delays and also drive up the cost of goods. For instance, in Africa logistics accounts for 75% of a product’s price, making goods unaffordable in local markets and noncompetitive in international markets. However, even logistics companies in the most developed parts of the world have suffered as a result of the pandemic, as demand for certain goods has fluctuated, and many countries have imposed travel restrictions — making travel and trade incredibly difficult.

Although incorporating technology has already been a priority for many logistics companies, the unprecedented challenges posed by the pandemic have encouraged even greater focus on the role that tech can play in strengthening the resilience of the sector. Enabling technologies, predictive analytics and “smart logistics” have had proven success in streamlining and optimizing logistical operations, yet unfortunately are still not commonplace, Kenes Rakishev says.

Predictive analytics use historical and transitional data to help identify patterns for risks and opportunities, helping influence strategic decisions and allowing businesses to prepare for future challenges. Connecting a chain of devices throughout the supply chain as well as intelligent asset tracking tools, “smart logistics” help create end-to-end transparency, enabling all parties to monitor the goods at all points of its journey. Indeed, harnessing this valuable operational data has multiple benefits: facilitating precise inventory management and sales forecasting; smoother cooperation between supply chain actors; and real-time management of cargo flows.

All in all, logistics companies can see vast improvements in terms of their asset and resource management with the help of predictive analytics and “smart logistics’”. But why are many companies reluctant to implementing these technologies?

The predominant concern is the high initial costs. However, these costs can be offset by increased efficiency, reduced delays, and long-term savings have warned that further delaying investment also can make the costs even higher in the long run.

According to a PWC white paper published in April, “smart logistics” is the key savings driver and a growth lever in the connected supply chain ecosystem”, accounting for “more than 50% of overall supply chain cost savings”. With the International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasting a 3% contraction for the global economy, logistics companies must look at ways to ensure their business models are agile and resilient enough to withstand future challenges. While it may be too soon to determine what our society may look like in the coming years, I am confident that COVID-19 will push the logistics industry closer to a future where digitalisation is universal, Kenes Rakishev reports.

Kenes Rakishev is a prominent investor and entrepreneur regarded as one of the most influential businessmen in Kazakhstan. Rakishev has business interests spanning technology, oil & gas, finance, shipbuilding, and metals & mining industries, and serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of several industry leaders including Kazakhstan Petrochemical Industries, SAT & Company, Net Element and Vyborg Shipyard.

He is also Chairman and Co-Founder of Sirin Labs, which has developed the world’s first blockchain smart phone Finney, and Managing Partner at Singulariteam-1 and Singulariteam-2 venture capital funds that focus on innovative tech companies. Throughout his career, Kenes Rakishev has held high-ranking positions in the public and private sector. His past public roles include working as an advisor to the Interior Ministry and the Department of Education in Kazakhstan. Early in his career, Rakishev worked at Bank TuranAlem in the client relationship department and at KazTransGas in the marketing and commerce department. Between 2000 and 2002 he worked at Intergas Central Asia as Director of Marketing.

Kenes Rakishev then served as First Deputy General Director of Exports for KazMunayGas before returning to KazTransGas as Deputy General Director of Marketing and Commerce. From 2004 until 2005, Kenes took on the role of General Director at Mercury LLP before starting as CEO and Chairman of the Board at SAT & Company, a role he continues to hold to this day.

Since October 2004, Rakishev has been the Vice President of the Union of Chambers of Commerce of the Republic of Kazakhstan, as well as the First Vice President of the Association of National Sports of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

In October 2012, Kenes Rakishev became Chairman of Net Element International Inc. and in May 2013 he was appointed Director of Singulariteam GP Ltd. and Singulariteam PTE Ltd. In 2013, he also founded Sirin Labs together with Moshe Hogeg and Tal Cohen. Later that year, in December, Rakishev became a Non-Executive Director of Central Asia Metals Plc., a role which he held until 2018. In February 2014, he became Chairman of the Board of BTA Bank.


Kenes Rakishev’s investments in metals and mining include interests in SAT & Company and Petropavlovsk. In finance and payments processing, he has invested in BTA Bank, Standard Insurance and Net Element. Previously, he also invested in Kazakhstan’s most profitable retail chain Magnum and TV channel Channel 7.

Rakishev provides asset management through Fincraft Investment House and makes tech-oriented venture capital investments through his Singulariteam-1 and Singulariteam-2 funds.

At the end of 2017, Rakishev’s blockchain consumer electronics company Sirin Labs raised more than $157 million through the 5th largest ICO to date, to develop the world’s first blockchain smartphone Finney.

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