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Logistics market grows tremendously

 Manica Group Namibia provides key cargo-handling services and has established itself as one of the leaders in the logistics market. (Photograph contributed)Competition within the logistics market has grown tremendously with many small operators opening up shop. The increase in the number of small businesses in this market is seen as a result of the good cargo import and export volumes of late.
“Having been in the business since 1924 we know that imports and exports also fluctuate apart from other adverse effects like fuel and current exchange rates. We are not concerned about the competition as such, as we have proved ourselves capable of weathering the toughest storm. On the other hand, competition is always welcome as it keeps us on our toes,” Nolito Marques, communication coordinator at the Manica Group says.
According to Marques, the group has done exceptionally well during the 2011 financial year.
“We exceeded our forecast revenue despite the effects of the world economic recession, higher fuel prices and oil rig business that did not pan out in 2011. For this year, we expect to achieve similar results,” he told the Economist.
Manica Group Namibia consists of a number of companies, including Woker Freight Services, Rennies Consolidated, Walvis Bay Stevedoring, Walvis Bay Airport Services, Ocean Liner Services, Mitsui Osk Lines, GAL, MACS Agency, Lüderitz Bay Shipping & Forwarding, Manica Logistics Services and Manica Oil & Gas Services.
The group’s current target market is southern Africa, especially landlocked SADC countries such as Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana. It also provides services to a large number of clients in Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique and Malawi, due to the fact that the Walvis Bay Port is strategically located and it is much more cost effective to transport cargo through this port than through the ports of Cape Town, Durban, Maputo and Luanda.
“The mining sector remains our strong suite, as we provide logistic services to various mines in SADC. We would definitely like to expand more in this sector as we have proven ourselves capable of handling the most unusual, sensitive and hazardous material for mines. We have also gone back to basics as it were and have refocused on providing logistics services and especially our oil and lubricants products to the local markets, especially in retail, government development and other local industries,” said Marques.
He added that the group currently has a number of projects on its plate, and that Manica’s Oil & Gas division has been hard at work to provide shore based logistics support to a number of oil and gas companies that are currently doing exploration drilling and seismic tests.
“This involves importing and transporting heavy equipment and material to rigs, seeking skilled Namibians to be employed on these vessels, setting up offices and providing suitable storage areas and facilities. Manica is also in the final stages of implementing a state-of-the-art track and trace system that will allow clients to know exactly where and what the situation of their cargo is at any given moment,” Marques further said.
Manica is also investigating an onshore bunkering service for passing vessels which will provide specialised fuel for ships. The group’s oil and lubricants business is also supplying hi-tech automated greasing technology to mining clients, and has acquired products that assist with oil spill clean-ups.
“At the moment, we are focused on further integrating our services to provide more enhanced and streamlined logistics (one-stop-shop). The logistics industry is changing rapidly and we need to keep up and do some of the innovative stuff ourselves. We are also looking at diversifying our service to cater for the type of logistics needs that is often performed by outside contractors (bunkering, outside port storage),” Marques concluded.

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