Botswana-based service and supply chain management company Transport Holdings intends on retaining its leading position in the country in 2013 and beyond. This means adapting and supplying customised solutions, enhancing its vehicle capabilities and understanding emerging industry trends. Growing its footprint beyond Botswana is also on the table.

“The combination of a thriving mining industry in Botswana, quality service delivery and ability to deliver in the face of any challenge has seen our business thrive and grow in recent years,” says Rudi Nagel, Transport Holdings business development manager.

Open-ended possibilities in Botswana and beyond

Looking at the possibilities and opportunities in 2013, the company’s key focus remains its customers and their ‘unique’ requirements. “Botswana’s mining sector remains our greatest area of focus, which is seeing the entrance of new mines, while existing operations are working on maximising local resources and extending their lifespans. We are also seeing an increase in demand for abnormal transport and will continue to grow our presence in this specialised field.

“Because the local mining sector continues to expand, I anticipate an increase in the regulation of resources as well as local suppliers servicing those investors, which will ultimately strengthen the local transportation industry. Rail simply cannot cope with the current and near future demand for exports and this trend will not change very soon. Road transporters have for many years provided an alternative to keep up with economic demands such as mineral exports and we will continue to fill that gap for the foreseeable future. We hope to see local companies supporting local industry, which is in line with the objectives of the Botswana government.”

While Transport Holdings remains ideally positioned to continue servicing its home ground so efficiently, its plans for continued growth are seeing it look outside of Botswana for growth opportunities. Nagel identified Mozambique as a “promising region”, with a myriad interesting developments, particularly around the Maputo port, which is proactively increasing capacity and its capability to meet the country’s growing export needs.

Transport Holdings manages a fleet in excess of 200 vehicles and, as part of its local empowerment and social responsibility, ensures the livelihood of some 25 local subcontractors. “We employ close to 170 staff members, more than 60% of which are Botswana citizens. The balance is based in South Africa.

The clientele – and their requirements

The company’s clientele, to name a few, include BCL, African Copper’s Thakadu-Makala project, Debswana’s Orapa and Jwaneng diamond mines and Morupule colliery, Norilsk Nickel‘s Tati mine and Discovery Copper Botswana’s (a Discovery Metals subsidiary) new Boseto copper project. Transport Holdings was recently awarded the tender to service Discovery Metal’s import and export requirements for Boseto.

Regardless of client or country, Nagel says that the industry’s requirements and needs remain the same. As mining costs escalate, so does the demand for more efficient service providers and operational delivery. “Our objective is always to ensure the benefits of efficiencies and well-planned supply chain solutions are passed onto our customers. Our pursuit to improve the status quo is relentless. As in any other industry, our customers continually want more for less. With the ever-rising fuel prices, it forces us to be increasingly innovative in or approach. As such, we are very proud of some innovative alternatives currently under review.”

The company’s involvement in African Copper’s Thakadu-Makala project is a perfect example of its ability to deliver unique and customised solutions. “We are extremely proud of our production and efficiency achievements with regards to this rock ore project between the client’s Thakadu-Makala open pit and the existing Mowana operation. This is an off-road application, which poses a number of uncommon challenges, and we have gone as far as grading roads to ensure downtime and vehicle maintenance is minimised. The side tipper vehicles we use for this project are also unique. They work with cables as opposed to hydraulics, which also reduces maintenance costs and downtime. We currently boast, with record efficiencies, in the region of 76 000 tpm, which equates to 104 t moved every hour, 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Nagel outlines.

The Transport Holdings service

Transport Holdings is passionate about service and supply chain management and provides as much of both as its clients allow. The major requirements for the mining sector, within landlocked countries such as Botswana, include warehousing and consolidation, as well as transportation of equipment to and from the mines, to and from suppliers, and the transportation of the mine’s products to its customers. In addition, the company provides abnormal transport services.

“We offer something we like to call ‘a courier service for mining equipment’ due to the fact that we are able to deliver to our clients within the same time as it would take to courier anything. We are proud of achieving quick turnaround times with general cargo and other commodities,” Nagel explains.

“Our client base and capacity also allows us to respond positively to spikes in short-term demands. We know our customers and their requirements intimately and their challenges are ours.” – Nagel