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Ceva Logistics has taken another step forward in its aim to give rival Bolloré a run for its money in Africa, with a new acquisition and strategy for growth.
It has acquired a 70% stake AMI Worldwide, which operates as AMI and Manica, a company with particular focus on eastern and southern Africa, and offices in Africa-focused China and the Middle East.
The deal, noted in Ceva’s first-quarter results, was expected to close in July, with AMI’s 1,000 staff joining Ceva. It will combine the networks from 1 July.
Ceva said its Africa plan was three-fold, with the second development the integration of three of owner CMA CGM’s inland service facilities into Ceva’s network, in Mali, Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast.
“These intermodal sites provide a launch platform for the company’s freight management ambitions,” said Ceva.
“They offer freight forwarding services in addition to a full range of inland solutions related to container fleet management, and ocean freight value-added services, such as reefer management, stuffing and de-stuffing of containers, dry port and container depot functions.”
Ceva has also set up a joint-venture in Ethiopia with forwarder MACFAA, a CMA CGM agent, and has expanded in Mauritania, setting up a ‘direct presence’ operating transit corridors.
Loadstar Premium reported in March that CMA CGM had “very ambitious plans in Africa to take on Bolloré via its 3PL arm, Ceva Logistics”, while Ceva noted that CMA CGM Group, “enjoys an historically strong continental presence” in Africa.
It is well known that operating in Africa can be tough. Corruption is rife, infrastructure poor and prices very high; it’s not a market for the faint-hearted.
As Transport Intelligence (Ti) noted in its Global Logistics 2020 report: “Despite being resource rich, Africa’s logistics sector will only take off when African industry moves up the value chain and manufacturing becomes more important.”
Nigeria is the second-largest market – but, like in up-and-coming Ghana, Ceva has no network there. Other “promising markets” include Kenya and Ethiopia, while Ti added: “South Africa remains the undisputed leader when it comes to growth opportunities for LSPs.”
Ethiopia is regarded as one of the markets with the most opportunities, as it aims to become a low-cost manufacturing hub, in particular in fashion and textiles, aiming to take market share from Bangladesh and Vietnam. It is also a major hub for flowers.
Key verticals in Africa are oil and gas, with retail and consumer “becoming more popular, pointing to the changing landscape in West and East Africa, where the middle class and spending power are expanding rapidly”, said Ti.
Ceva said it was looking to meet retail and consumer demand, and would be present in 41 countries, with 1,300 staff, 19 full service warehouses and 1,500 trucks,.
“Businesses across the African continent enjoy significant growth prospects and logistics solutions are crucial to materialising these opportunities, by ensuring supply chains work well and trade flows run smoothly, “ said CEO Mathieu Friedberg.
“With our strategic, continental expansion plan, Ceva will play an integral part in supporting the continent’s socio-economic emergence, offering our customers our full range of tailored, innovative solutions along with our recognised expertise and our operational excellence.”