Concargo Global Logistics has positioned itself to handle all types of project cargo anywhere in Africa, strategically placing it at the forefront of logistics.

Concargo, the Southern African representative of global project forwarding consortium The Heavy Lift Group, has positioned itself to handle all types of project cargo anywhere in Africa. This strength has strategically placed the company at the forefront of logistics as business on the continent continues to grow.

Concargo MD David Kruyer believes the key to the company’s success in Africa is its business model. Concargo makes use of its global network, proprietary information technology systems, relationships, strategic business partnerships and alliances with transportation service providers, clearing and forwarding, shipping companies and expertise in outsourced logistics services and collateral to deliver a competitive advantage to each of its clients’ global supply chains.

The company’s motto states: “We help our clients save large amounts of money, improve efficiencies and avoid costly errors in their logistics operations.”

The company’s current road freight network offers a direct link from all ports in Africa and South Africa to a vast number of African and central landlocked countries including Angola, Botswana, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. It facilitates interregional transport and cross trade between countries in the rest of the continent through its extensive agents network.

Th e company’s biggest challenge is compensating for a lack of basic infrastructure and services in Africa, resulting in excessively high transport costs, on a globally comparative scale. In most cases, it costs more to deliver a load from the port of arrival to its neighbouring landlocked country than it does to ship the load from anywhere in the world to that port.

Lengthy delays at the borders, inefficient and unreliable service, third-world infrastructure, corruption, poor road conditions and roadblocks cause lengthy time delays when transporting cargo by road. In many countries, the transporter is expected to report to the police upon arrival, creating tedious bureaucracy and the possibility of bribes and extortion. Despite this, Concargo believes that border crossings have become much easier, in some cases drastically so.

This is, however, not true of every border crossing on the continent. The crossing between Ethiopia and Sudan has not changed at all in the past 10 years. The same can be said of the crossing between the DRC and Angola.

A simplification of permissive documentary processes, the eradication of complicated bureaucratic processes, the harmonisation of standards and a reduction of border delays will go a long way in reducing transport costs. There also needs to be an ongoing drive to foster total regional economic integration in Africa.

An imbalance in interregional trade between the different countries impacts negatively on transport costs due to the lack of manufacturing and production facilities.

Concargo says that travel in Africa is not dangerous if hot spots such as Darfur, Niger, Northern Uganda and the borders between South Sudan, Sudan and Somalia are avoided.

Certain areas of the Maghreb, the southern border of the Sahara, Mali and Niger, and the Western Sahara, have been problematic. Travelling to Timbuktu and Niger’s largest city, Agadez, is completely out of bounds. The Tuareg rebellion makes it difficult to service this part of Africa.

An impressive case study

In 2011/12, Concargo was awarded a contract to transport a massive load of project freight consisting of structural steel and bucket reclaimer from China, from the port of Saldanha to a mine in Postmasburg near Sishen in the Northern Cape, 850 km away. Hauling an abnormal load is a massive task. Except for the challenge of successfully getting the heavy loads from point A to B, there is traffic to contend with as the movement of other vehicles can be severely constricted by slow-moving abnormal load-carrying trucks. Principal approval and permits have to be arranged, traffic authorities need to be informed and escort vehicles need to accompany the whole entourage.

The traffic department also has to provide escorts if the load is unusually large. The Sishen South logistics project was the biggest abnormal out-of-gauge, over-dimensional cargo transport job ever hauled by Concargo and its strategic business partners.

The exercise took 142 people to execute, including drivers, assistants, stevedores, riggers, escorts and a full project management team. The loads had to be transported over the 850 km, weighing 840 tonnes and measuring 6 200 m³, requiring approximately 142 000 ℓ of diesel to get it to its final destination. The project entailed a road train of 58 enormous vehicles, of which 37 carried abnormal out-of-gauge cargo, and four ‘Super Loads’, five of them up to 9.45 m wide.

The entourage had to be accompanied by 18 escort vehicles, as well as 36 provincial traffic escorts from each of the two provinces they travelled through. The entire project took six weeks to complete due to the year-end embargo period.

In recognition of the socio-economic environment, and seeking continued sustainability, Shiyimamba Investments, a BEE company owned by Nathi Chonco, acquired shares in the Concargo Group effective 1 January 2013. Th is confirms Concargo’s commitment to transformation as envisaged in its constitution and by its various stakeholders.

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