Kashif Zaman

12 mins read

Hotel Insider has a chat with Kashif Zaman who helms the EQ Lines Group, a regional powerhouse in logistics. Now celebrating its 10th Anniversary, his Company works with some of the biggest names here including Lily F&B, Standard and Origin, and Best Buy Maldives.

Presently, the company has offices across South Asia and in Dubai and there is more expansion on the horizon. Kashif tells us about their journey, their strengths and shares some success stories in this edition of Conversation.

Hotel Insider: As the Chief Executive Officer of Equivalent Lines (EQ Lines Group), what strategies did you implement to drive the company’s growth and propel it to new heights?

Kashif Zaman: From the start, I envisioned becoming a key player in the regional Supply Chain Management business. Therefore, we laid a strong foundation by prioritising certain aspects, placing significant emphasis on investing in HR and IT, as I firmly believe that a workforce can either make or break any business. Of course, having a visionary leader to guide and establish a clear command and control structure is crucial. Another vital factor that I always recognized is the role of IT in the ever-developing business landscape. We upheld these two commitments and ensured that we consistently stayed on track and implemented our vision.

Hotel Insider: How has EQ Lines Group developed a diverse portfolio of logistics services under your leadership? Can you provide examples of the industry needs the company caters to?

Kashif Zaman: At EQ Lines, despite modest beginnings, we swiftly evolved into a prominent regional company. Growing consistently, we strategically added supply chain verticals at regular intervals, while closely monitoring the ever-changing demands of our customers. For instance, we foresaw that key players in the Pharma industry, such as STO, Medtech, and AMDC, were progressively shifting towards more specialized Pharma Logistics solutions with global standards. To cater to their needs effectively, we proactively acquired technical expertise and the latest techniques in-house. Moreover, we established partnerships with global Pharma logistics specialized platforms and freight companies, elevating our routine procedures to specialized service scales. This enabled us to provide our customers with international standard solutions, leading to their satisfaction and continued loyalty.

Additionally, the Food Industry has been another sector where EQ Lines has left a profound impact. We have been dedicatedly serving industry giants like SNO, FMS, Lilly F&B, and BBM, meeting all their international freight requirements and contributing value to their businesses through timely sailings and faster transit times. Recognising that the food industry demands unique handling requirements distinct from regular cargoes, we diligently developed in-house capabilities to cater to their specific needs and exacting standards.

Hotel Insider: What were the key factors behind the company consistently achieving growth year after year?

Kashif Zaman: The consistent growth and upward trajectory of our company can be attributed to three major factors that have been instrumental since day one:

Well-Defined Institutional Hierarchy: Our success is rooted in a robust institutional hierarchy, with decisive leadership at the helm. This top-tier leadership has guided the company with a clear vision and strategic direction, driving us towards our goals.

Continuous Investment in Human Resources: We have always recognised the significance of our workforce in shaping the company’s achievements. As a result, we consistently invest in our employees by providing a quality working environment and on-the-job training. Furthermore, we offer better financial incentives to motivate and retain top talent, fostering a highly skilled and dedicated team.

Embracing Advanced IT Solutions: In today’s rapidly evolving world, we firmly believe that freight companies must adopt cutting-edge IT solutions to deliver flawless and efficient services to the market. Hence, we prioritize the gradual and regular transformation of our systems to incorporate sophisticated, high-tech IT solutions. This approach enhances our operational efficiency, streamlines processes, and ensures that we remain at the forefront of the industry.

These three factors together have been the pillars of our success, enabling us to maintain sustained growth and consistently deliver exceptional services to our valued customers.

Hotel Insider: Could you elaborate on the establishment of offices in strategic locations such as Dubai, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan? How do these offices contribute to catering to the growing demands of the logistics industry in their respective regions?

Kashif Zaman: The unique capacities and diverse roles of each of our offices in their respective markets contribute to a consolidated impact, functioning as a cohesive unit. For instance, our EQ Lines Pakistan office excels in handling customers from the textile industry and managing trade lanes such as PAK-EU and PAK-USA. In contrast, the Maldives office focuses on a mix of commodities, ranging from hotel amenities to food items, and serves trade lanes like China-Maldives and Malaysia/Thailand-Maldives. The Dubai office efficiently handles the total Supply Chain Management for high-tech equipment manufacturers like Wavetec and furniture importers. Meanwhile, in Sri Lanka, we cater to customers like JAT Holdings and Epic Lanka, covering a broad spectrum of industries, from paints to technology.

The diversity of our customer base and the varied services we provide are a clear indication of the freight and logistics solutions we offer. By combining the volumes handled by each office, we wield substantial procurement and negotiation power with MLOs (Main Line Operators) or VSL (Vessel) Operators, allowing us to secure competitive rates and ensure ample space for our customers. This advantageous situation greatly supports our headquarters and strengthens our position in the market.

Having multiple offices strategically located in different regions grants us a significant edge in meeting the needs of a wide range of industries and clients. It reinforces our ability to provide tailored solutions and seize opportunities for growth, ultimately bolstering our overall performance as a freight and logistics provider.

Hotel Insider: What is your vision for EQ Lines Group’s global presence? How do you plan to further expand and strengthen the company’s position in the logistics market?

Kashif Zaman: We are determined to pursue expansion plans while maintaining strong existing operations. We have recently opened an office in Dubai, marking our entry into the Middle Eastern market. We are particularly interested in establishing a presence in Saudi Arabia due to its significant investments in tourism infrastructure. EQ Lines aims to leverage its expertise in projects and hospitality logistics to actively participate in these expansions.

The team is fully prepared and committed to setting up offices in key locations such as KSA, Oman, Qatar, and Bahrain before December 2025. Our goal is to become a reliable and capable logistics partner for businesses in these countries, contributing to their growth and development.

EQ Lines believes that this expansion will create new opportunities and enhance its reputation as a trusted logistics provider. We are confident in our ability to establish a strong presence in these dynamic markets while upholding our high standards of service.

Hotel Insider: Are there any specific achievements or success stories you would like to highlight during your time as CEO of EQ Lines Group?

Kashif Zaman: When you establish an enterprise and navigate through its ups and downs over the years, you encounter defining moments during the continuous struggle. Some of these moments leave a lasting impact on the business. One such instance we experienced was during the sudden outbreak of the COVID-19 crisis. This unforeseen event resulted in significant business losses and immense pressure on every aspect of our operations. We faced challenges such as a sudden drop in existing business, some companies closing down, and others going out of business permanently. Even the largest freight companies worldwide were resorting to staff layoffs and temporary shutdowns.

In contrast, we made a bold decision that set us apart from the norm. Instead of downsizing, we chose to hire more staff and extend our working hours. This decision was met with some scepticism within the company, but I strongly believed that by bringing in more talented individuals, our company’s capacities would elevate to new heights. This proved to be the right call, and by the end of 2022, we had experienced remarkable growth of over 88% in just two years.

The credit goes to our management’s timely decision to adapt to the sudden changes in the global business environment. Embracing this proactive approach enabled us to overcome the challenges posed by the pandemic and position ourselves for substantial growth. These defining moments and the strategic decisions we made during the crisis have left a significant and positive impact on our company’s trajectory.

Hotel Insider: Looking forward, what are your goals and aspirations for the future of EQ Lines Group and the broader logistics industry?

Kashif Zaman: We want to be a fully equipped freight and logistics enterprise with strong holds and presence in ISC, ME, ASEAN, Mainland China, by 2030 with 100% own established set-ups.
We have always been keen in playing vital role in international trade and facilitate the processes by continuously evolving economical and efficient freight and logistics solutions for the trade.