Rohan Mehta, Business Development Director at Petrochem Middle East, returned to his native city of Dubai in 2014 to join his father at the helm of what is a billion-dollar enterprise and one of the leading chemical distribution companies in the world.
The Zone: How did you get into petrochemicals?
Rohan: I was exposed to petrochemicals from a very young age; my father and my grandfather have always been in petrochemicals. My parents moved to Dubai about 30 years ago, I was born and raised here. Before returning, I was in the US for eight years where, upon graduation, I worked for a petrochemical manufacturing plant for three years in Texas.
The Zone: How did you know it was the industry for you?
Rohan: My dad never forced anything on me; he told me to figure it out myself and decide what I wanted to do. I chose to get into petrochemicals because I am familiar with it. I knew there was always space for me in Petrochem, and I wanted to be a part PANORAMIC VIEW OF PETROCHEM’S TERMINAL IN JAFZA of my father’s story because he has always been an inspiration and a role model to me.
The Zone: What is the genesis of Petrochem?
Rohan: Petrochem was founded 24 years ago by my father, Yogesh Mehta and his business partner at the time. It began at home part-time, but after only a year it all started to come together and my father decided to go full-time in 1995. We built Petrochem’s distribution terminal in Jafza in 1999 and that’s when the business really took off, thanks largely to the strength and support of the storage terminal at Jafza and the infrastructure. Now, we have distribution terminals worldwide including Saudi Arabia, UAE and Egypt, and offices in Singapore, Taiwan, China, the UK, Netherlands and India.
The Zone: How has Jafza helped in distribution and logistics?
Rohan: Jafza has been a key and integral part of our growth. They have been our partners and a vital part of our journey. They have enabled us to reach our potential and have given us a platform to grow, innovate and structure our business in a seamless way. It’s been a great help to move products from the UAE all around the world with ease.
The Zone: What do you think other free zones can learn from Jafza?
Rohan: Flexibility. I feel like Jafza is extremely flexible. They really want to support business in the region. They don’t work with us as an authority, but as a partner. Jafza is very easy to communicate with and is very approachable.
The Zone: Have the challenges changed since Petrochem’s inception?
Rohan: The challenges have changed tremendously over time due to economic cycles, political landscapes and the overall global economy. Naturally, this has influenced our business. It’s constantly moving, which means there is a continuous requirement to innovate and adapt to change.
The Zone: What are your future plans?
Rohan: To grow exponentially within the region and look at expansion within Jafza. We have just inaugurated a distribution terminal in Jubail in Saudi Arabia, and look forward to expanding in Egypt next year, in Port Said. In the long-term, we want to continue to grow and build a stronger team, taking our offer all over the world.
The Zone: How would you describe your time so far at Petrochem in one word?