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Africa Outlook

Volcan Holdings
Volcan Holdings Africa
shipping & logistics
shipping & logistics Africa
logistics Africa
refrigerated cargo
refrigerated cargo Africa

VOLCAN HOLDINGS

Delivering Tomorrow’s Cargo Today

Since fruition Volcan Holdings has kept a close eye on the developments both in the industry and in the requirements of its customers, now 11 years later the Company is going from strength to strength 

Writer: Phoebe Calver

Project Manager: Vivek Valmiki

Volcan Holdings has developed an extensive fleet of cargo over the years that is trusted and respected by many, with trucks specially designed to carry out project cargo and expertise that is second to none.

When it was established in 2007, the Company started as a local transporter within Mombasa where it had seven trucks with which to begin its mission.

“By 2010 we began our work in transit loading and that is when we started to heavily invest in trucks,” explains Farhan Molu, General Manager at Volcan Holdings. “Now eight years later we can proudly state that we have a total of 120 trucks, steadily increasing our fleet by between 10-20 vehicles every year.

“Our staff numbers have also developed dramatically over the years, starting with just 10 to the now impressive 250 team members. This is split between management, drivers, back-up drivers, in-house accounting and the in-house workshop department that ensures all trucks are up to standard to avoid breakdowns.”

Another important aspect for the Company’s development has been the development of its human resources department, investing in the safety training required to provide a safe and efficiency conducive environment for its staff.

Molu adds: “This is all as well as ensuring that our drivers are well trained when it comes to etiquette and people skills, making the experience of interacting with out team enjoyable from start to finish.”

Industry success

In order to reach the point of success within the industry that it has done, the Company has worked hard to acquire a team of individuals that come from a good educational background. For example, the Company’s General Manager himself studied in the UK for many years, gaining a Masters in Logistics and Supply Management that enabled him to streamline the organisation upon returning.

“One of the main things we are investing in with our staff is the ability to show that we have the right people to handle to jobs,” continues Molu. “Secondary to that factor, we need to have the right software systems in place that allow us to control and monitor our 120 trucks.

“We have now created a management system that is tailor-made for our Company and that is something that keeps on evolving with time, allowing us time to grow and find the areas that have room for improvement.”

With thanks to its excellent team and the procedures that back them up, Volcan is then able to take the feedback of its staff and customers and use it to develop the brand.

Molu describes: “We are a hands-on management team and know every member of staff, while also remaining thoroughly involved in the day to day running of the business.

“From the Directors all the ways across the chain, we treat each other like family through the utilisation of an open-door policy and I believe that is how we manage to work differently as an organisation.”

Complex projects

At present Volcan Holdings is working on a selection of tenders in Uganda, however, perhaps one of the most important projects that the Company has handled was for SGR.

“During that time we had to carry machinery and equipment, dedicating approximately 50 percent of our fleet to the project,” explains Molu. “We have also handled mining tenders in the DRC and although we were not provided with the project directly, we were one of the preferred transporters for the mine.”

The Company is increasingly aware of its need to stay ahead of the competition within the market and has subsequently moved its focus into refrigerated cargo, with one of the preferred products being avocados.

Molu adds: “Right now we are very busy in this market, however, it takes a lot of expertise to master refrigerated cargo and so we have had to ensure that we keep up with the requirements of our clients.

“We recently worked on a project where we carried avocados over a 2,000km expanse, providing a huge milestone for us as prior to that point in time we had only travelled across short distances. The road infrastructure does make travelling such long distances a little more difficult for us, and is the reason a lot of companies in the sector shy away from refrigerated projects.”  

Now that the Company is taking on these more complex projects, it needs to ensure that a certain level of expertise and service is being provided.

“We are now able to send reports via email and are working towards achieving a system that means we are able to send emails twice a day to clients with a tracking number,” explains Molu. “We want to make the entire system automated, which we hope inevitably will mean we are able to be far more hands-on with our clients to ensure that they are getting what they want.”

Brand awareness

At Volcan Holdings it is all about unity and subsequently the brand image has become a pivotal part of the Company’s growth, particularly when it comes to its fleet.

“All of our trucks are branded in the same way in order to look identical on route,” continues Molu. “We don’t have driver uniforms, however, we ensure that our drivers have high-vis jackets on and are therefore recognisable and more importantly visible and in keeping with safety standards wherever they go.

“As part of our mission for quality standards within the transport of provide intensive training and investment in our staff, recognising the importance of aspects such as defensive driver training within the organisation.”

As well as implementing these core training aspects into the Company’s psyche, Volcan has also invested in a new headquarters to enable and strengthen its future growth within the industry.

“During the past eight years in particular, we have closely looked at the aspects that we needed to change and develop in order to perfectly tailor the new facility to meet with those requirements,” concludes Molu. “I hope that in the future our efficiency levels in terms of technology will be completely up to speed, while also helping us to minimise breakdowns to zero percent through the investment in specialised equipment to replace and refresh our older vehicles.”