Monday, January 19, 2015

Freight Forwarding and Logistics Group Expands in the Dark Continent

Global Operation Increases Presence in North and East Africa
Shipping News Feature

SWITZERLAND – KENYA – MOROCCO – Following last month’s contribution to fight the scourge of Ebola in Africa, Swiss headquartered freight forwarding and logistics outfit Panalpina has continued its development on the Dark Continent with two new bases in Morocco and Kenya. The offices in Casablanca and Nairobi became fully operational in January, and support Panalpina’s growth strategy for the region. In both economies, opportunities for growth exist predominantly in the energy and infrastructure sectors.

Panalpina has established its own offices in Morocco and Kenya, giving customers in these expanding economies a single point of contact, and direct access to the company’s global network and services in air freight, ocean freight and logistics. Peter Triebel, Panalpina’s regional CEO for the Middle East, Africa and CIS (MEAC) believes that global customers, especially those operating in the energy sector, often require a local presence to achieve integrated, end-to-end solutions which the international group feels it has the wherewithal to provide. Peter Triebel explains:

“Expanding our global presence is part of Panalpina’s overall strategy, especially in growth economies such as Morocco and Kenya. With strong prospects in the two countries, especially in the energy and infrastructure sectors, establishing a formal presence is an important part of our long-term market growth and customer satisfaction objectives.”

The two locations have been identified specifically for various reasons. With a population of 33 million, and an ever-strengthening economy, Morocco offers Panalpina several business opportunities in key industries such as energy, automotive, aerospace and healthcare. Morocco has many onshore wind farms and has emerged in recent years as a leader in the region’s wind power generation. Investment in solar power technology, such as the Noor-Ouarzazate Solar Complex, is helping Morocco reduce its dependence on fossil fuels and meet its growing energy demand. In addition, hydro and coal fired power plants are being constructed, expanded or modernised.

Industrial free trade and logistics zones have brought foreign investment and employment to the northern region of Morocco. In particular, car manufacturers and their suppliers have established a significant presence there. Maxime van Geenberghe, Panalpina’s new Managing Director in Morocco, commented:

"Morocco has great business potential; in future the country will serve as a gateway to Mauretania on the West African coast, and to the inland African countries of Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger.”

Meanwhile in Kenya, a 45 million strong population continues to benefit from growth and investment in the oil and gas, telecommunications, perishables, chemical and healthcare sectors. The discovery of major oil resources in northern Kenya has brought a host of leading oil companies into the region. As Panalpina holds service agreements with many of these companies, the Nairobi office will cater to their increasing local requirements.

The construction of a mega-port in the northern coastal city of Lamu also reinforces the need for on-the-ground support, as the building of roads, a rail link and a pipeline will soon be underway. Nairobi’s airport already serves as a regional hub for East Africa. Regional Managing Director Juergen Paliko said:

“Kenya is East Africa’s largest economy and a gateway to the region, especially Uganda and Rwanda. With the Nairobi office in place, Panalpina is now able to take a more focused approach to cultivating local business and also trade lanes from the Middle East and Asia into Kenya.”