Delivering your tomorrow, today
Freightworx have risen from one man with a vision, to a multi-national logistics powerhouse
Writer Matt Bone
Project manager Stuart Shirra
Freightworx was established in 1999 in South Africa, when a demand arose for airfreight cargo to the north of Tanzania. Having serviced the majority of other freight markets as well as numerous mines in the area, the company decided to increase its options and began to incorporate alternative means of transporting freight. Since then Freightworx has grown considerably to a stage where they now employ in excess of 100 people. Throughout the organisation, revenue has grown from US$1million to US$12 million. Freightworx specialises in the field of international freight, project freight and logistics on a global scale. Freightworx offers a door to door service into Africa and 450 cities in 130 countries worldwide.
Raj Maharaj, the CEO of Freightworx, has seen his company grow from just one man with a vision, into one of the largest logistics companies in Sub Saharan Africa. "We are a leading logistics company that has set the standard as a supply chain and logistical solutions provider to various industries. From our humble beginnings as a one man operation, I have seen the company evolve into a one stop solution by providing export and import services, air, sea and road freight as well as offering handling, storage and packaging services as well."
Global Trade is a complex and challenging business where success depends on specialised knowledge and personal contact. Freightworx have implemented key strategies and networking relationships in order to utilise local knowledge and international contacts to offer their customers such a service. Although a global logistics company, Maharaj is quick to point out that the work they do in Africa is just as important as in other continents: "We work with many countries across Africa ranging from South Africa, Burundi to Uganda and beyond. We are an African company and proud of that fact."
The company pride themselves on having the dedication to provide the right solution at competitive prices. This is what distinguishes us from our competitors. We have our own offices which are strategically situated at all the major trade hubs in Sub Saharan Africa.
Freightworx have the use of offices and various Global Logistics Network (GLN) agents throughout the world, which enables them to guarantee safe cargo handling and time sensitive freight solutions for their clients. With such an expansive and extensive global structure, Maharaj ensures the greater satisfaction of his customers. "For me, our clients are the most important aspect of our business. If our clients think we have done a bad job or have not actioned their requests, they will not work with us again. I personally ensure that our client's requests and needs are always met and often exceeded when they use our company."
A Good Year
Freightworx have enjoyed a busy 2103, which has given them a solid platform to push onwards in 2104 and they have done just that. Maharaj gives an example of just one of the various projects that they have worked on over the last 12 months: "we were asked to handle 12 000 tons of Bitumen for one of our clients. This was a very delicate job as even a single container spillage would result in a massive environmental disaster. The scope of that project also included a sea freight to Durban, Customs and Port clearance, transport to our Johannesburg warehouse, de-stuffing of the containers within a set time, storage and finally, the distribution to various construction sites."
Freightworx have increased their fleet of trucks from 15 to 30 during the last 12 months. Maharaj has played an instrumental part in expanding the company's footprint in Africa by establishing owned and operated offices in Mozambique, Mauritius and Zimbabwe. Currently, Freightworx have offices in South Africa (Durban and Johannesburg), Kenya (Mombasa and Nairobi), Tanzania (Dar Es Salaam and Tanzania). Maharaj is currently leading the development of a state of the art 10,000 square meter warehouse with bonded facilities close to O.R. Tambo airport, Johannesburg.
The Challenges Arising
As with many companies, the economic downturn has played a big factor in recent financial problems for Africa. However, this is only one of the challenges facing Freightworx. Mining strikes and fluctuation of the local currency against the US dollar have proved to be challenges that Maharaj has had to circumvent. Maharaj states: "A big problem has been in securing contracts to move cargo into Africa. We would like to decrease our standing time at the various borders which can end up being over 5 hours in some cases which is detrimental to our company and our clients business." Due to the above becoming more prevalent in recent months, Maharaj has seen a rise in clients moving from air freight to road freight to reduce cost and time in airports. whilst the BRICS and the EU have still not recovered from the economic slowdown, the developed nations have turned their attentions to begin strongly focusing on Africa's natural resources and growth opportunities in mining, infrastructure and telecoms, in the hope of kick-starting their sales and revenue streams.
Planning for Further Expansion
There has been lateral movement with regards to growth in the last year for Freightworx. Maharaj is confident this growth will form the basis for a strong year ahead. "We are now experiencing a slight upward trend in terms of revenue and sales. Companies have been utilising our logistical expertise in strong numbers and we are hoping this will continue for the rest of the year."
One sector Freightworx are keen to build up this year is investing in the development of Human Resources. Maharaj wants all his employees to be trained at the same level so that if one is required to begin work in a different faculty of the company, the transition will be minimal. "I believe that workforces who are multi-disciplined and can work across a variety of different departments are invaluable assets to any company."
Expansion is definitely on the cards for Maharaj, as he looks to expand Freightworx's African operations into the rest of Africa by means of mergers and acquisitions. The main projects currently being worked on for expansion are a new 10,000sqm warehouse, the new acquisition of a fleet of vehicles and new container handling equipment, which will help to provide new options to clients. Maharaj is also pleased to announce a string of projects Freightworx has been awarded: "we have tendered and been shortlisted for five new mining and construction projects in Africa. The project life is between 15 and 20 years, which is good news for the longevity of our company and the logistics market in general."
The next twelve months will be a strong indicator of just how far Freightworx have come in a short space of time. Maharaj is confident that a year from now the company will be market leaders who are second to none. "Our mission is to be the best freight and logistics service provider in Africa. We will strive to provide exceptional value to our customers without compromising our ethics or integrity in the pursuit of profits," he cites, giving a clear indication of just what a personal touch means in the logistics world.