According to logistics company Dachser South Africa, road freight in Africa, can be a challenging undertaking. Therefore, transporting goods and services throughout the continent requires a network of support partners, a team that has up-to-date information on multi-country customs and border control requirements, a strong tracking process, and hands-on knowledge of diverse infrastructures and the corresponding challenges.
“Either goods produced locally or those shipped from other countries which will land at South African ports, must be transported to destinations that often require covering vast distances in short timeframes,” Dachser South Africa MD Detlev Duve says.
“Integrating, coordinating and intricately planning from the outset makes a successful road freight service. Anecdote abounds of poorly planned and ‘cheap’ road freight provision that has resulted in trucks being held at border posts for months at a time owing to a lack of understanding of that country’s particular customs requirements,” explains Duve.
“Companies must build road freight into their supply chain. Selecting the right road freight service could ultimately save money by circumventing issues such as this.”
Duve says Dachser South Africa has been providing a highly competitive dedicated road freight over-border consolidation and full truckload service for more over 20 years. The company provides specialist transport for a variety of items from foodstuffs to chemicals, spares and bulk mining machinery, among other products.
Dachser South Africa’s strategic goal has always been to work closely with its clients to ensure that logistics are tailored to meet their specific requirements. This is no less true of the road freight service. “We have developed an environment where we do not regard ourselves as simply a freight forwarder, but rather a partner who can be relied upon, on a daily basis,” Duve adds.
This commitment is reflected in the long-standing relationship that Dachser South Africa has with a multinational food manufacturing company which imports breakfast cereals and related products from its South African manufacturing plant into countries such as Zambia and Zimbabwe by road freight as well as sea freight to destinations, including Mauritius, Madagascar and Mayotte.
Duve describes the long-standing client relationship as a partnership that works in a coordinated manner to ensure the continued movement of the client’s supply chain. “Given that the client is a fast-moving consumer goods company, the supply chain is continuous. At any given time, we will have multiple vehicles travelling to and from their destinations. Typically, our road freight to a destination such as Lusaka can take, at maximum, 10 days.”
The supply chain is managed using Dachser South Africa’s digital, real-time platform to ensure that both the client and the consignee are able to transparently ascertain where the consignment is en route at any given time.
“Our responsibility begins from the moment that we begin loading the product from the client, through the dispatch process, and clearing. It ends only when the consignment reaches the consignee’s premises,” he says.
Duve adds that their road freight services are not solely aimed at multinationals. Dachser South Africa also offers consolidation – or consol – where multiple consignments for different, medium-sized companies are transported in one truck, or a fleet of trucks.
A number of road freight companies offer this option, but it can be severely impeded by the clearing process and turnaround time of the order from destination to origin. Duve concludes that Dachser South Africa anticipates and pre-empts this by having developed strict protocols and having detailed processes in place, which includes activities such as processing documents at the border prior to loading, and getting all shipments released prior to truck arrival and subsequent departure.