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Distribution web boosting Angola

Article - August 1, 2014
Through an integrated and diversified logistics platform, Multiterminais and Multiparques offer comprehensive handling, storage and delivery solutions
The Multiterminais and Multiparques groups are used to facing and solving challenges that others would find daunting.

Only seven years ago the groups were granted the concession to operate the 19.8-acre general cargo terminal at the Port of Luanda.

In those seven years, the volume of container traffic and bulk cargo through the port has tripled yet the average waiting time has been brought down to three days. Previously, from anecdotal reports, vessels could be waiting for up to a mAonth to be unloaded.

All this has been achieved in a port with only vAery limited room for physical expansion and in a country where the logistical infrastructure had been badly damaged in a long and bitter civil war, thus making easy improvements in performance through exploiting obvious synergies with other and related existing activities rather difficult.

The groups therefore had to go out and largely create their own synergies through clever and innovative solutions to the demanding structural environment it was operating in.

Investments have been made in port handling equipment, in building a series of 30,000 tonne silos for bulk grain, flour and rice imports, and in bringing first-world tracking technology to its operations in Luanda.

These investments, together with the setting up of a pre-clearance system for shipments, have created what is very much a win-win synergy with the shipping companies and, of course, with the Angolan distributors, consumers and end-customers whose import clearance times and costs are thereby greatly reduced.

In turn, this success has created a series of wider synergies in a country still highly dependent on imports for construction and industrial materials to power its now booming economy, as well as for its crucial food supplies.

The next synergy created by the groups was in setting up the dry port with warehouses in Viana, about 15 miles from Luanda, allowing for warehousing, bulk-breaking and consolidation of customers’ cargoes in a safe and secure environment away from the port area but still close by.

Investments have been made in port handling equipment, in building a series of 30,000-tonnes silos for bulk grain, flour and rice imports, and in bringing in first-world tracking technology.
At a stroke, this dealt another body-blow to the congestion at the port since containers were, from then on, transported to the dry port on the groups’ fleet of trailers, thus enabling containers to be unloaded and returned very quickly, within two to five days, and reducing handling costs from $1,000 to $300 per container.

The groups have now even gone one better since containers are now shipped direct to the dry port by a newly-built rail link, through this seamless service providing yet one more synergy, with the country’s growing rail network.

The dry port at Viana covers 60 hectares and consists of 2.6 acres of space for general goods, comprising 15 warehouses, each of 7,500 square feet, together with 21,500 square feet of cold storage space, principally for frozen food products and complemented by an investment in cold storage trailers.

This investment of $70 million in turn created more synergies within the logistics sector since customers could collect their consignments from the dry port rather than having to become embroiled in Luanda’s notorious traffic jams.

Locally-produced goods may also be stored at the dry port for later distribution to customers around Luanda. This investment ahas been so successful that the group is now looking to replicate the experience elsewhere in the country.

The investment in the dry port at Viana has, more than creating efficient and cost-saving synergies, caused a transformation of the logistics sector in Angola. The groups are now developing the next logical step, one of building a national distribution network of dry ports situated close to railway lines now that the country’s investments in the rail system are beginning to materialize.

This will complete its own transformation into an integrated national logistics solutions provider, covering the whole gamut of activities in the sector from port of entry through to warehousing and distribution.

The Director-General of the groups, Mr. Leonel da Rocha Pinto sees unlimited potential, saying, “I want to attract big players like Coca-Cola and offer them a complete service, from bringing their products from abroad right through to delivery to the final destination”.

The Multiterminais and Multiparques groups are thus heavily committed to Angola’s national logistics concept, that of an intermodal system covering the whole country.

Mr. da Rocha Pinto says “we are already working with the Transport Ministry and railway management and with other key sector players in order to promote a fully intermodal system”. He added that “railways tend to be a much better means of transport for cargo, as rail is cheaper and complements our own strategy based on integrating ports and railways, something we consider key for our success...and which will also lead to reduced prices for the consumer”.

The ambitions of the groups are not limited to Angola as it recognizes there is one final synergy to be explored and developed – for now at least.

Multiterminais and Multiparques are keen on extending its activities to countries in the immediate region and building on its success in Angola to create regional supply chains, attracting goods and traffic destined for neighboring landlocked countries, as well as channeling exports from those countries through its logistics network in Angola.