Bridging the burgeoning trade between the mainland and East Africa, AMI Middle East is a medium-sized player that is big enough to matter but small enough to care. Established in the United Arab Emirates as a freight forwarder with reach into Pakistan and India, AMI grew fast with Dubai's boom as a transshipment hub. It has also become a total solutions logistics provider in the Gulf Co-operation Council market, the Middle East and East Africa. High-profile clients such as Carrefour and Sony count on AMI's integrated systems, which are customised to their local distribution needs. The company's state-of-the-art warehouses are also conveniently located at the Jebel Ali Free Zone. With its deeply rooted history in Africa, AMI understands "the African way" of business. Expanding its network to Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Congo, Tanzania, Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia, the company has full coverage of the East African market. It has operated there as International Maritime Agency or IMA since 2005. AMI's key to success is its excellent and personalised customer service. "We maintain close touch with our customers," says Vincent Hachez, AMI managing director. "We understand that people want to be served." From four personnel in 1997, AMI Middle East has grown to 152 employees, with sister companies all over East Africa employing another 54 employees. Catering to the growing number of East African traders procuring competitively-priced goods from the mainland, AMI opened a small office and warehouse in Guangzhou and will put up a procurement office in Ningbo in September. AMI is looking for reliable partners on the mainland, specifically freight forwarders with good coverage, who are keen on benefiting from growth in East Africa and the UAE. With its East African know-how and solid footing in Dubai, AMI endeavours to boost the trade lane with the mainland. "The key is attracting potential partners to come and see what is happening there," Hachez says.