Freight forwarder growing reach in West Africa

Senior members of deugro's sales and business development team unpack the company's sucess in west Africa

IVAN DE SOUZA & SUNELL VAN DER WALT Senior members of deugro's sales and business development team unpack the company's sucess in west Africa

9th October 2020

By: Halima Frost

Senior Writer


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Following the successful logistics for a mine in Sierra Leone, deugro, a highly specialised expert in freight forwarding and an independent company of the deugro group, intends to further expand its offering in West Africa.

“We are excited and look forward to engaging with more clients in this sector to demonstrate how deugro group can contribute to the success of projects in West Africa and beyond,” says deugro sales and business development corporate VP Ivan de Souza.

He adds that deugro has selected a dedicated task force of “highly specialised project logistics professionals” to develop its project and resupply logistics solutions that are tailored to the mining industry.

The Sierra Leone project entailed the execution of project logistics services for a mine that was expanding by constructing a new processing plant.

The project started in 2016, and the last chartered vessel transportation was completed in December last year.

deugro sales and business development GM Sunell van der Walt explains that deugro oversaw the transportation of more than 28 000 revenue tons of equipment and materials, which included overland project logistics services and customs brokerage, to the mine’s construction site.

“Our scope included booking for adequate tonnages for all proposed freight, collaborating with all appointed vendors, and orchestrating all cargo readiness to attend agreed vessel laycans,” she enthuses.

Additionally, deugro devised “innovative cargo packaging solutions” to facilitate offloading operations and for some purchase orders assisted vendors in containerising, packaging and lashing services.

All materials and equipment bought for the project were shipped in six part-charters. All freight was transferred midstream on the Sherbro river, from the ship onto the client’s barges, which subsequently travelled to the client’s terminal.

Using the client’s barges was a timeous and cost-effective solution, as it averted the need to berth at Sierra Leone’s commercial port, in Freetown, adds Van der Walt.

Further, the client’s terminal draft being only 2.75 m –and as such permitting discharge from barges only during high tide – presented a challenge.

However, this did not detract from the success of the supply, Van der Walt states.

“We successfully executed this project with zero vessel detention costs,” adds De Souza.

He says that deugro, through its agency agreements, can also offer warehousing, inland logistics, ship agency services and stevedoring.

The company’s current West African footprint spans Guinea, Sierra Leone, Ghana and Burkina Faso, but it expects some business to ensue in Mali and Côte d'Ivoire in the near future.

Meanwhile, De Sousa says deugro’s first Guinea project was conducted in 2016 for a bauxite export port facility.


It was subsequently involved in a gold mine expansion project in Ghana, and set up a distribution hub for one of its clients in the country last month.

The company has noted that cargo volume into Burkina Faso has increased over the past few months.

“West Africa continues to be an attractive region, with economic indicators pointing to more increases in precious metal prices, and we certainly see opportunities given the current trend,” concludes Van der Walt.

Edited by Nadine James
Features Deputy Editor




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