Viewpoint - Bolloré Highlights African Warehouse Shortage

From Lloyds Loading List 14 February 2017: Bolloré Logistics has highlighted an urgent demand for international-standard warehousing capacity to accommodate Africa’s booming consumer goods sector.

The swift emergence of a vast African middle class is radically altering the volume and composition of the continent’s import and export flows, the French logistics services provider (LSP) and forwarder underlined, adding that the continent’s supply chains have long been used to outbound commodities like coffee, cocoa, lumber and minerals, and to inbounds largely composed of industrial machinery and full container loads delivered straight to their final destinations.

This scenario began to change a few years ago with the delivery of sophisticated telecom systems into Africa for new mobile networks – and requiring more careful treatment in transport but also in storage.

“The increased diversity of goods and the evolution of distribution networks have naturally driven us to expand capacities and services to match more advanced requirements from industrials in terms of contract logistics,” said Bolloré Logistics’ head of supply chain and logistics for Africa, Thierry Retourné.

“Clients are asking specialists to upgrade African supply chains so they reflect the value and demands of the expanding consumer goods market,” he added. “So in contrast to earlier periods, we are now breaking containers down in warehouses, preparing goods there, proposing a wide range of value-added services and organizing delivery to avoid retailing shelves from ever being empty.”

During the course of last year, Bollore Logistics opened hubs in Lagos and Accra, Ghana, joining existing African hubs in Abidjan (Ivory Coast), Johannesburg, and Nairobi. It said these hubs were “strategically located in proximity to regions where economic growth potential is strongest”.  

After Europe, Africa is Bolloré Logistics’ main geographical region for business and a “key differentiator” in relation to its rivals, representing around 25% of its turnover and 10,000 of its staff.

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