The African Energy Week 2023 conference featured a discussion on the fundamental role of logistics in Africa’s energy industry.
Logistics providers play a central role in distributing energy, a role which is poised to strengthen as new developments come online in Africa. During the African Energy Week (AEW) 2023 conference – organized by the African Energy Chamber – Africa Global Logistics (AGL), a logistics company operating in Africa, sponsored a session on the fundamental role of logistics in strengthening supply chains across the continent.
Koen Rombouts, Managing Director of AGL, outlined the company’s vision ahead of the panel.
“Africa is at the heart of our business. AGL is dedicated to transforming Africa to the next level through strategic investments in ports, railways, and innovative tracking solutions,” stated Rombouts. “Our goal is to connect Africa to the world, embedding ourselves in local economies and promoting skills development and job creation.”
AGL’s recent accomplishments include the inauguration of the Port of Zanzibar and investments in supply bases on the continent.
During the panel discussion, the challenges that logistics companies experience in providing efficient services to the energy sector were highlighted, with Dennis Malkoc, Business Development Manager at Universal Africa Lines, noting that bureaucratic red tape, administrative hurdles, and inefficient corridors were hampering economic growth in Africa.
“Planning and efficiency are key. By working closely with partners and authorities, we aim to reduce costs and ensure smoother logistics operations. Africa is going to experience significant growth in these sectors, and the more exploration takes place, the easier our job becomes to connect the different countries through transport,” Malkoc stated.
Filippo Bof, Head of Business Development in Africa and the Mediterranean at Shell Trading and Shipping Company, further emphasized the importance of collaboration with local producers. “We support local energy companies by providing efficient logistics solutions. We focus on less capital-intensive methods, helping local businesses reduce credit exposure and enhance their cash flow. This approach fosters sustainable economic development,” he commented.
Asked whether free trade agreements on the continent would ease the logistical challenges, Rombouts concluded that while companies were seeing efforts for these agreements falling in place, many countries still had a long way to go.
“We are optimistic that with the right commitment, Africa’s interconnectivity will significantly improve. It is important to support it, support the authorities to make it happen. Africa is not one country, the regulations change rapidly, and as the economies are developing, the regulations need to be adjusted. If we don’t invest in the right infrastructure, then we will not be able to develop trade. All this will connect Africa, this is the only thing that will ensure economic growth,” stated Rombouts.
He concluded that the continent was heading for exciting times. “From an energy point of view, there is a lot of things happening on the continent, so we will invest further, strengthen our position and relationships with local partners and our employees to grow with the energy sector.”