n a revolutionary development throughout the shipping and logistics sector, the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) finalized its acquisition of Bolloré Africa Logistics in December 2022. This strategic move birthed Africa Global Logistics, which is set to reshape Africa’s trade and transportation.
Rooted in a commitment to fortified connectivity, sustainable expansion, and trade facilitation, Africa Global Logistics embarks on a journey laden with transformative potential.
Through an extensive network around Africa of 21 port concessions,66 dry ports, 2 railway concessions terminals, 247 commodities warehouse sites, and 159 contract logistics sites, the company aims to bridge geographical divides and facilitate the seamless movement of goods across borders.
The unveiling of the new brand, AGL, marked a significant step forward. On May 30, 2023, Bolloré Transport & Logistics Kenya Limited officially transitioned its legal name to AGL Kenya Limited, following the successful registration of the new trade name with the relevant authorities.
Bolloré Africa Logistics (BAL), a multimodal logistics operator in Africa, revealed its new name in March 2023. With an important logistics footprint in Africa, from warehousing and cold storage to other logistics solutions, AGL continues to collaborate with shipping lines to offer terminal, rail, and real door-to-door services to cargo owners.
Addressing common challenges faced by logistics service providers worldwide, such as delivery delays and document processing issues, AGL Kenya is focused on providing reliable, predictable, and cost-effective solutions for its customers.
“Logistics service providers always receive numerous complaints all over the world from general delays in delivery of cargo to not properly processing documents are some of the challenges faced,” Mr. Auni Bhaiji, Regional Director, External Affairs, Development & Operations at AGL said.
He further emphasized, “Our aspiration is to consistently deliver services with unwavering reliability, providing solutions that are highly predictable and cost-effective. We aim to alleviate our customers from the burdens of cargo movement within Kenya and the broader region, ensuring a seamless experience in both directions.”
Looking forward, AGL Kenya envisions playing a pivotal role in the development of proposed Special Economic Zones (SEZs) across the region. By partnering with governments and private sector entities, the company aims to contribute to the implementation of these strategic projects, fostering economic growth and trade enhancement.
“We see a huge potential for us as logistics service providers in partnering with the governments and others in the private sector to implement these projects,” Mr. Bhaiji said.
AGL Kenya’s evolution has been marked by a remarkable journey. Originally known as SDV Transami in the mid-1980s, the company has emerged as a regional leader, driving end-to-end logistics services.
The timing of the rebranding into AGL Kenya aligns perfectly with the East African Community’s efforts to bolster the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Mr. Bhaiji said that the rebranding into AGL Kenya comes at a crucial time when the biggest block in Africa, the East African Community (EAC), is cementing its position in the drive for the AfCFTA that has been rolled out and in the piloting stage.
“We decided the best way to showcase interest in investing in Africa was by rebranding to a new continental identity,” Mr. Bhaiji said. Added the; “We are currently handling cargo for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), South Sudan, Rwanda, and Burundi for the Northern Corridor and Zambia and Malawi in Central Corridor.”
Apart from cargo haulage, AGL Kenya operates CFSs and ICDs in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Rwanda, enjoying a substantial space covering a total of 300,000 square meters, according to Mr. Bhaiji.
The company, which has changed identity in a successful career spanning many years, pioneered CFSs in Mombasa with the establishment of the Mombasa Container Terminal (MCT) that helped Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) in addressing containers stripping, a huge nightmare for shippers whose cargo would take weeks to be stripped in the port not to mention demurrages incurred.
Apart from helping the KPA in addressing congestion, AGL Kenya assisted the facility in loading the first full container when the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) was launched both to Nairobi and Naivasha. The company has also played a significant role in enhancing the port surface and hinterland connectivity.
Since the establishment of the ICD at Naivasha, said Mr. Bhaiji, the company has been able to load full container trains all the way to Malaba’s One Stop Border Post (OSBP), which has now an SGR and Meter Gauge Railway (MGR) connectivity for onward transmission to transit markets of Uganda, South Sudan, DRC, Rwanda, and Burundi.
After having worked closely with the Ministries, Kenya Ports Authority, and Kenya Railways being the first to launch a full block train to Nairobi, AGL has mobilized the licensing of KRC’s Malaba facility.
“The whole idea is to regularly move containers through Malaba in what we now call a rail-road service model. We are innovative as we move on and we have shifted part of our fleet to Malaba for last mile corridor connectivity supporting delivery from the port of Mombasa to the hinterland,” M. Bhaiji said, adding that this has improved predictability as it takes only four days from the time a container is offloaded at the port and shifted to Malaba OSBP- a crucial facility in enhancing the seamless flow of the cargo.
AGL Kenya now boasts a workforce of 1600 employees on its payroll and has an additional 1500 on regular contracts with a multiplier effect of creating 15,000 jobs in the industry. The right training, according to Mr. Bhaiji, has guaranteed success in the logistics industry for the firm in recent years.
The company has various divisions and reliability along with heavy investment in various infrastructural projects in the region which has been a major catalyst for its growth.
“Our focus has been to provide solutions based on the market requirements and customer needs and appropriateness that comes with this in an economy like ours,” Mr. Bhaiji said. The company has a number of awards and accolades to its name from industry stakeholders for its role in addressing logistics industry challenges. It won four pre-COVID-19 Awards from KPA for safety. General operations, reliability, and being the best regional freight and forwarding agency.
The company has also achieved a similar feat after it was awarded as the best customs agent for two years running, enjoying a Regional Economic Operators (AEO) status by the East Africa Customs authorities. According to Mr. Bhaiji, harmonization of regional revenue systems is crucial in addressing Non-Tariff Barriers such as numerous weighbridges, rigorous documentation processes, infrastructure, and bureaucracy “I also think we need to give credit where it deserves. Critical institutions such as KPA, Kenya Railways among others, and Government Ministries have done a lot to address challenges along the corridors,” Mr. Bhaiji said.