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
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
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.”