Logistics services provider DHL launched two new facilities in Plumbago Business Park, east of Johannesburg, for its Supply Chain and Global Forwarding divisions last month.
The investment, valued at €30.5-million, underscores its long-term growth plans for the Southern Africa region, says DHL Global Forwarding, freight CEO Roger Crook, adding that the investment is key in developing South Africa as a logistics hub for the region, as it adds to state-of-the-art infrastructure, information technology systems and world-class services to support businesses operating in Africa.
Crook says part of the company’s global three-pillar Strategy 2020 is to focus on further expanding logistics services in the world’s emerging markets, thereby reinforcing the importance of Africa and the emerging economies for the group’s future.
Currently, emerging market revenues contribute about 20% of the group’s revenues, notes Crook. By 2020, the group expects this figure to rise to 30%.
The new facilities collectively boast 37 000 m2 of warehouse space and 5 500 m2 of office space.
The efficient layout of the new facilities greatly improves cargo handling, with an enhanced flow of goods in and out of the facilities.
They also increase the company’s ability to offer customers a full range of value-added services, such as bonded storage and repacking, and to further develop the export handling capabilities of its Airfreight and Ocean Freight divisions, says DHL Global Forwarding Southern Africa CEO Lubabalo Mtya.
“We have seen particular growth in our robust intermodal road network, spanning 12 African countries,” he says, adding that road freight volumes have more than doubled in the past year, spurred on by increasing demand and economic growth on the continent.
DHL Supply Chain’s 25 000 m² multiuser warehouse facility will be used to consolidate its technology clients’ portfolio and some key fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) clients.
The facility has been purpose-built for the technology and consumer industries, including speciality designs such as high-density storage up to 16 m high for FMCG companies and a super flat floor necessary for such high-level storage and retrieval, enhanced operational flows and the latest technology on reach trucks.
“We are implementing international best practices at Plumbago and this will become the model for other facilities across the country. Our long-term strategy is to develop warehouses in prime locations. With our well-established networks, we provide daily deliveries for almost all retailers across South Africa, with 99.8% on-time efficiency,” says DHL Supply Chain Middle East and Africa CEO Craig Roberts.
The new facilities provide clients with the advantage of a better location and warehouse design, planned by the best logistics specialists, as well as increased automated throughput.
It will offer market-leading warehousing management systems and boast ecofriendly features, including an energy efficient lighting system and rainwater harvesting for vehicle washing.
“DHL expects to reduce its carbon footprint by 30% through the use of solar power energy, and savings on petrol through more efficient and effective materials handling at the warehouses,” says Mtya.
Further, DHL expects to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions through the consolidation of its Johannesburg operations into one facility, by in excess of 700 000 kg/y, he adds.