Friday, May 29, 2015

Swiss Freight Forwarder and Third Party Logistics Supplier Acquires Long Term Partner

Egyptian Forwarding and Customs Group Snapped Up by Panalpina
Shipping News Feature

SWITZERLAND – EGYPT – Panalpina the Swiss based freight forwarding and logistics company, is to acquire family owned partner Afifi, its partner in Egypt since 1995. Established in 1936 in Cairo by Mohamed Afifi senior, the Egyptian forwarder and customs specialist today employs around 150 staff in offices in Cairo, Alexandria and Suez / Sokhna. It also operates in Port Said East and West through a long-term subcontractor.

The deal will see Afifi fully integrated into Panalpina under an agreement reached this week in which Panalpina will acquire 100% of Afifi stock. Panalpina says the move is important step in the company’s continued strategic expansion in growth economies, in particular in the Middle East and Africa. Peter Triebel, Panalpina’s regional CEO for the Middle East, Africa and CIS commented:

“Egypt has a lot of potential for us. By uniting with our long-standing partner Afifi, we will increase our foothold in this attractive market and lay a strong foundation for growth. Afifi has a solid customer base in Egypt, as well as a strong track record and reputation in local customs brokerage and projects work.

“Egypt has a large population and a sizeable middle class, in addition to being the regional base for numerous international companies. Now political reforms are under way to strengthen the economy and improve the investment climate. Add a freight forwarding market that is very fragmented, and we have ample opportunity for growth.”

While all major industries are represented in the country, Panalpina sees the greatest growth potential in the oil and gas, capital projects, telecom, automotive and healthcare sectors. The government has stepped up efforts to encourage the exploration of oil and gas, in particular in the Nile delta. Egypt, with a population of almost 90 million people, is the largest non-OPEC oil producer in Africa and the second-largest dry natural gas producer on the continent.

Plans to build an international industrial and logistics hub near the Suez Canal in conjunction with the current scheme to dig a second canal that will facilitate two-way traffic of larger ships has also influenced the Swiss group’s decision to act at this time.

Photo: A container ship passes under the Suez Canal Bridge.