Already in the 1980s, the Bolloré Group made a long-term commitment to Africa. The company believes in the continent, and at an early stage recognised its geographical potential relative to key partners of African economies such as Brazil, India and China. Bolloré Africa Logistics provides transportation and logistics solutions in 45 countries in the continent.
“As a company that is 90 per cent family-owned, we enjoy a number of benefits that drive long-term vision and commitment”, David Morel, Head of Sales at Bolloré Africa Logistics in Paris, France, told Club Africa. “Bolloré Group can pursue its own, long-term sustainable growth goals, without the quarterly pressures exerted by external shareholders.”
Specific demands of the African context
The conglomerate is among the 500 largest companies in the world. Bolloré Africa Logistics, a subsidiary of the Bolloré Group, is concerned with freight forwarding and logistics services, and management of port and railway concessions. At its core, the company provides comprehensive multimodal international transportation and land-based logistics, which includes customs clearance, warehousing, value added services and local distribution. Most of the company’s activities are business to business, even though e-retailers requiring deliveries to end consumers make up a growing share in business.
David: “At Bolloré Africa Logistics, we provide our clients with end-to-end transportation and logistics solutions in 45 countries in Africa, and our African network is tightly linked up with our worldwide logistics network. Our asset-based presence allows us to accompany the growth of foreign and African companies alike, in a knowledgeable and agile way, taking into account the specific demands of the African context.”
Committed to Africa
David: “Historically, the larger share of our clients have been involved in extractive industries, like Mining, Oil & Gas and Soft Commodities. Today, we see the fruits of the development of our logistics offer to consumer-facing industries like Telecom, Fast-Moving Consumer Goods, Retail, Healthcare and Automotive. We have also strengthened our offer to Peace Keeping, Relief and International Aid players.”
Bolloré Africa Logistics’ commitment to Africa is exemplified by its response to the recent Ebola outbreak: “As usual, when we face a difficult operating context, we take the appropriate safety and security measures, and implement business continuity plans. Closing our offices, even temporarily, is not an option.”
Strengthening its global network
Bolloré Africa Logistics annually invests between €250 and €300 million in Africa, and employs 23,500 staff on the continent. It has offices in virtually any significant African city and relies on owned assets, including warehouses, yards, trucks, handling and heavy lift equipment. David is responsible for a sales team of about 400, scattered across the continent.
“Over the years”, says David, “Bolloré has substantially strengthened its global network, in particular in countries like China, India, Brazil, Turkey and Dubai, in order to handle the increase in cargo flows between Africa and these key partners of African economies. Accordingly, in every country we operate in, we have special teams dedicated to these markets. Our business flows focus on imports of finished goods and raw materials on the one hand, and on exports of commodities and reuse of equipment on the other hand.