Fast Plane to Africa

November 11th, 2013 - How to access the Continent’s growth without delay

New ways to send urgent deliveries to Africa.

European companies are increasingly looking to tap into Africa’s impressive five percent annual growth. But in a continent where transport can take weeks and is fraught with delays, many are looking for a more reliable and speedier supply chain.

In particular, companies with operations in Africa can run into trouble when they urgently need to repair an assembly line in Burundi, fix an aircraft on the ground in Ghana or replenish vital medical supplies in Angola, hundreds of kilometres from the nearest airport.

“It’s not always easy to access these countries and any delays in sending parts or supplies can be extremely costly,” warns Henri Le Gouis, SDV’s CEO for western and central Europe. Poor infrastructure, landlocked countries, vast distances and complex customs formalities are just some of the challenges that importers face.

To meet the increasing demand for urgent deliveries, SDV launched its “Speed to Africa” service at the beginning of November. The service guarantees the fastest possible door-to-door delivery of goods from Europe to 28 destinations in sub-Saharan Africa, including Niger, Tanzania, Zambia and Mauritania. Other countries could be added to the list as opportunities arise. 

Companies including energy groups and drinks manufacturers are just some of the SDV clients interested in speedy deliveries to the African continent, Le Gouis says. The advantages are clear. In particular, it costs less to send parts and supplies from Europe to Africa by urgent delivery than it does to stock spare parts in different warehouses across the continent, says Lorraine Cauquil, Speed to Africa project manager. Speed to Africa aims to deliver goods to most African countries within two days from the arrival at the airport. In one recent operation, for example, it took less than 48 hours to deliver a vital part from the west of France to a sugar factory in Cameroun, 335 kilometers from the airport at Douala.

Some destinations take longer, however. Goods can reach Rwanda from Paris within four days, for example. Under normal conditions, that same journey could take 8 days or more, Cauquil adds.

Urgent deliveries get priority treatment, starting with a space on the first available aircraft, says Frédéric Halgand, SDV express product manager. SDV staff accompany the goods to the aircraft to ensure they are loaded and customs formalities are completed in advance to avoid lengthy delays. In Africa, the goods are met and sent by the fastest and most reliable method.

Crucially, companies receive regular updates on the status of their shipments, something that can be hard to obtain in Africa, Halgand adds.

SDV soon plans to extend Speed to Africa to departures from other European capitals such as London, Frankfurt and Brussels. Then it could reach to other world cities such as Singapore. “We can capitalize on our expertise in Africa,” says Le Gouis. “Urgent deliveries will be increasingly in demand.

Key Figures
  • 20%

    More fuel-efficient for the Boeing 787 and the Airbus A350

  • 70%

    of Urbanisation is expected by 2050

  • 27

    mega-cities are expected by 2050, with at least 10 million people, compared to 1...

  • +18,4%

    of growth for E-commerce retail market in Europe in 2015

  • 82%

    of goods are moved by road

  • 1 billion

    Population in Africa

  • 60%

    of Africa’s population will be urbanized by 2050

  • 7,5%

    of growth for Indian GDP in 2014

  • 4,9%

    of growth for African GDP in 2016

  • 6,1%

    of growth for East Asian GDP in 2015, the world’s fastest-growing region

  • 19 224 teus

    transported by the MSC Oscar, the largest container ship in the world

  • 396 m

    is the size of the MSC Oscar ship

  • 120 h

    is the Non-Stop Flight Record done by Solar Impulse

  • 4,5%

    of growth in 2015 for Global Airfreight demand