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Deutsche Post-DHL has launched its road freight booking platform Saloodo! in South Africa today, claiming it as the first digital platform for the road freight industry in Africa.

Saloodo! debuted in 2017 in Germany and is now also represented in the UK, Italy, Poland and the Middle East.

“After successfully entering the Middle East six months ago, we have taken the decision to continue on our growth path by expanding to the African continent,” said Saloodo! chief executive Thomas Grunau.

“As the world’s youngest continent, with 60% of the population below 25, economic decisions and growth are increasingly driven by a dynamic generation of digitally-minded young adults. These are ideal conditions for offering and further developing our smart solution,” he added.

DHL said Saloodo! would be the first digital platform available in the region that offers “a single, simple and reliable interface” for shippers and transport providers to “best optimise cost, routes, cargo and transit times”.

“With real-time visibility, Saloodo! will inject greater transparency and efficiency to the road network in the region, enabling shippers – from small enterprises and start-ups to large multinational groups – to find trusted and reliable freight carriers in South Africa. This will, in turn, help carriers manage fleets and optimise capacity with full truckload shipments,” said Tobias Maier, chief executive of Saloodo! Middle East and Africa.

DHL estimates the South African road freight market was worth R121.1bn (US$8.1bn) last year, and road freight volumes in South Africa have continued to increase steadily – volumes grew by 5.6% this June, year on year.

Meanwhile, intra-Africa trade accounted for 26% and 12% of South Africa’s 2018 total exports and imports, respectively – almost 50% of which are with neighbouring countries in the landlocked region.

There are some 16 landlocked countries within Sub-Saharan Africa, but DHL explained that “much of the region’s road freight operations remain fragmented and highly traditional, missing out on the visibility, efficiency and security that technology offers”.

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