At first glance, it looked like two companies closing a business deal in Africa. But when Agility, a global logistics provider, announced that it has leased warehouse space in its newly-built Agility Warehouse Park in Ghana to a large international corporation, it was nothing less than a breakthrough. Landing a large client for the Ghana property is a big step forward in the roll-out of Agility’s pan-African network of logistics centres.
The company that is Agility’s new client for the Ghana property is Cummins, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of diesel engines, generators, filtration and associated engine components. The US-based company (58,600 employees and customers in 190 countries) will use the facility as a regional distribution centre to stock and distribute a range of over 10,000 spare parts for Cummins operations across West Africa.
Agility (22,000+ employees, 550 offices worldwide, in over 100 countries and 21 million sqm of warehouse parks) already has other multinationals and small and medium-sized Ghanaian companies as tenants for its Agility Warehouse Park at Tema, Ghana. By choosing Agility’s warehouse solution, Cummins acknowledges the biggest need of businesses that want to do business in Africa: strong, stable, professional and well-organised warehouses in key African regions, with high levels of security.
Network of warehouse parks
That is exactly what Agility is currently building on several locations on the continent. The Agility Warehouse Park in Ghana is part of a network of international standard warehouse parks that Agility is funding and developing to support the development of domestic and regional trade. Geoffrey White, Agility Africa’s CEO: “Currently we are open in Ghana, an important centre for West Africa. We have further projects under development in Cote D’Ivoire, Mozambique and Nigeria. We are focusing on adding further projects this year in Kenya, Angola, Tanzania and Ethiopia.”
A corner stone as well as a stepping stone for companies like Cummins. The Agility park is eight kilometres from Ghana’s main seaport and is adjacent to the Aflao highway connecting Ghana to Ivory Coast, Togo, Benin, and Nigeria. As Felix Bani, Cummins’ Operations Manager explains: “Product distribution can be fast-tracked, either by road, sea or air. By choosing the Agility Warehouse Park, Cummins has addressed one of the biggest constraints to companies doing business in West Africa – the lack of quality infrastructure.”
Agility is focusing on a fairly aggressive roll-out strategy for Africa, as the continent’s economies show healthy growth numbers. White: “We believe that the provision of international standard warehouses in Africa for storage, distribution and light manufacturing is one of the fundamental building blocks necessary for economic growth. The Agility Warehouse Parks enable big, medium and small companies to access quality infrastructure easily, quickly and cost effectively.”
In its warehouse parks, Agility is offering solutions for distribution, storage, assembly, processing and light manufacturing. “Just what companies need to access the burgeoning African market. Our services support imports and exports as well as the development of trade internationally, domestically and regionally”, says White, adding that each warehouse park provides modern infrastructure and property management services in a secure environment where the power is consistent and the IT connectivity is fast and reliable.
Avoid capital investment
Geoffrey White is convinced the Agility warehouse parks are going to be successful, as they “are a way for multinational and local companies to avoid capital investment in non-core assets and benefit from the synergies of a modern distribution park.” With that proposition, Agility caters for multinationals, as it reduces the capital costs of working in Africa and shortens the lead-time to be operational. The solution also de-risks entering the African market, offering a ‘safe pair of hands’, with local knowledge and market understanding.
The proposition is also attractive to local SMEs, as it removes the capital costs of accessing quality infrastructure. White: “Our solution only requires an entry cost of three months’ rent, with no financial guarantees required for standard units. We believe our warehouse centres offer SMEs credible working environment that enables local companies to develop and grow their business.”