Monthly Archives: April 2015

ROAD SAFETY KEY FOR SUCCESSFUL TRANSPORT OPERATORS

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African roads have often been seen as death traps due to the high cases of road carnage. Globally, African countries post the highest accident rates with Kenya’s statistics reflecting an annual loss averaging 3000 lives on the Kenyan roads.

In as much as measures have been taken by the Kenya government to reduce road carnage and enforce sanity on the roads, innocent lives continue to be lost on a daily basis. In response to Kenya’s poor road safety record, transporters have taken proactive measures to provide a lasting solution to preserve road safety. These include; full-fledged safety departments, adopting safety technology as well as running various driver wellness and cargo handling programs to safeguard all road users.

Siginon Global Logistics is a source to doorstep logistics provider that has been in the transport sector for 30 years. Today, Siginon’s transport fleet has expanded its Kenya and Tanzania operations to serve regional customers within the Great Lakes region, East and Southern Africa. The growth of the trucking division has been greatly boosted due to the high safety standards adopted in the transportation division. Job Kemboi, the Transport Manager asserts “All new drivers joining the Siginon trucking team must undergo defensive driving training before they are allowed to proceed on any road trip. It is a mandatory requirement. Through this, we are able to minimize and reduce cases of road accidents that cause loss of life, cargo and the vehicle”

The seriousness of road safety in the transport industry has seen some companies go as far as to establish fully fledged Safety and Security department led by a qualified resource at management level mandated to run a rigorous safety program on the ground. Siginon Global Logistics conduct such safety programs that run throughout the year for all drivers. Mathew Kavehere the Siginon Global Logistics Safety Manager adds, “We have regular safety programs that cater for the drivers’ performance while on the road such as; safety, tool box, defensive and fatigue management meetings for all our drivers. These programs run all year coupled with regular refresher meetings.” In addition, the Siginon drivers are equipped with additional information to cater for vehicle inspection compliance as well as accident preventive maintenance. Due to the varied and delicate nature of the cargo that is ferried by road, the Siginon drivers are further trained on handling of various cargo such as dangerous cargo, lashing equipment and the Electronic Cargo Tracking System (ECTS).

Siginon Global Logistics has also adopted various safety systems and technologies to monitor that all drivers observe high standards of safety while on the road.  These systems are able to track the location of the truck in real time; monitor the speed of the vehicle as well as the driver behavior while on the road. Mathew adds; “We are able to monitor the truck speed by installing speed governors which are limited to 75 km/h which in the interest of safety is 5 km/h less than the statutory speed limit requirement. We can also monitor the position of all our trucks within our operations at any time on a need be basis. We are also able to tell any delays of our trucks both during loading and offloading. In addition, the Siginon fleet management systems are able to monitor the trucking fleet to control or minimize idle time by checking on the driver’s position depending on how long they take at a particular place. Mathew concludes “These systems have managed to help us monitor speed, harsh breaking, truck performance and delays. Also there is a reduction in terms of statistics of various violations and accident since the system was installed. Drivers are also more focused because they know their performance is being monitored and are focused on delivering cargo intact and ultimately give our clients peace of mind.”

Job attributes the success of the Siginon’s positive safety record to commitment by the management team to ensure that there is zero fatality within our business units. “Any road accident or incident is taken very seriously in Siginon. Immediately an accident occurs it is reported to the relevant parties and our Managing Director must be informed within the shortest time possible. Three things must be done immediately, establish the state of the driver, client’s cargo and then our asset which is the truck. The accident is reported to the nearest police station and immediate recovery is undertaken to evacuate the victims in the scene of the accident as well as rescue of the client’s cargo and the truck”

Siginon Global Logistics often sponsors annual road shows on the Northern Corridor between Mombasa and Malaba on road safety in partnership with other industry players and stakeholders. Amongst her peers, Siginon continues to take the lead against her peers on ‘mystery user’ road safety audits conducted by a leading multinational cement company based in Mombasa. The Siginon Global Logistics recently received a safety standard sustainability award by one of her commodity customers due to high safety standards maintained while on the road.

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PERISHABLE CARGO REMAINS KENYA’S COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE

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Kenya remains one of the most popular countries in Africa in the export of perishable cargo to international markets. Kenya’s climate favors agricultural activity thus nurtures the horticultural sector as one of Kenya’s key foreign exchange earners.  The Kenya Horticultural Council (KHC) states that the horticultural industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in the agricultural industry with a growth of approximately 20% per annum. Horticulture has greatly contributed to the Kenyan economy through generation of income, creation of employment opportunities for rural people and foreign exchange earnings, in addition to providing raw materials to the agro processing industry. The sub sector employs approximately 4.5 million people countrywide directly in production, processing, and marketing, while another 3.5 million people benefit indirectly through trade and other activities.

Over the years, Kenya’s horticultural produce has gained popularity in the international markets due to the quality and variety that Kenya has to offer. Due to its delicate nature, horticultural products are among the items exported from Kenya to the international markets and are referred to as perishable cargo. The perishable nature is largely because horticultural products are highly sensitive to temperature and time exposure, should there be a failure to meet these conditions, the cargo ‘perishes’ or is seen to deteriorate in quality. Some of the perishables products exported from Kenya include flowers, vegetables, fruits, food stuff such as fish. In Kenya, the European Union (EU) is the principal importer of Kenya’s fresh produce with Netherlands importing the bulk of flowers for sale through the auction system. Other European countries such as Britain, Germany, Netherlands and France are major importers of Kenya’s fruits and vegetables while the Middle East market consumes fruits exported from Kenya.

Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) highlight the critical impact of perishables handling on the total volumes of air cargo handled in Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA). For instance, in July 2014 statistics from the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) highlight that a total of 13.8 million kilos of cargo was exported out of Kenya. Out of this total, perishable cargo comprising of fresh produce, flowers and miscellaneous perishables products account for 11.3 million kilos. This accounts for up to 82% of the total cargo handled in JKIA. In addition, out of the total perishable cargo exported out of Kenya, 90% of perishables are consumed by the European and Middle East at a ratio of 69% and 21% respectively.

Moses Wahome, the Divisional Manager at Siginon Aviation intimates “Kenya’s popularity in the international market for fresh produce arises from the high quality in our produce. In addition, unlike other countries, Kenya’s climate remains favorable and fairly predictable all year”.

To effectively export perishable products, an effective cool chain is a critical success factor. This includes facilities such as; cold rooms, freezers and refrigerated trucks. In line with the industry trends, air cargo industry players continue to align their products and services to ensure that they are able to meet the demands of the global market. Siginon Aviation is one such provider that recently opened at a new air cargo terminal on the airside of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA). The USD 10 million facility was launched to meet customer and market demands for a functional yet convenient air cargo provider. Moses adds; “Excellent cold rooms minimize chances of breaking the cool chain by exposing the perishable cargo to unfavorable conditions for long hours. This ensures that the cargo is delivered in tip top conditions”. In Kenya, perishables handling accounts for over 80% of the air cargo export business. This comprises of about 1000 tonnes ferried daily from JKIA by freighter and passenger operators to the international market. Siginon Aviation handles daily exports comprising mainly of fruits and flowers handled in its air cargo terminal through leading cargo airlines into the European market. Perishables handling is also undertaken in other Kenyan airports such as the Mombasa International Airport with the key cargo comprising of chilled fish and frozen sea food. The Eldoret International Airport, also handles minimal perishables.

Moses asserts; “The outlook for growth in the air cargo business is positive. The potential for handling of perishables in Kenya is set to grow exponentially arising from key initiatives that have been undertaken by industry players as well as the Kenya government. One of the major initiatives is the expansion of JKIA which will attract more and bigger airlines to Kenya. In addition, the conclusion of the thorny issue of the European Union (EU) and East Africa Community (EAC) Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) on Kenya’s horticultural products has given greater impetus to growth in this industry”

As with any industry, the air cargo industry in Kenya faces great competition from international markets such as South America, Ethiopia and Egypt. As such, players within the Kenyan market continue to benchmark their service and efficiency levels to thwart any major attacks on Kenya’s global market share in the perishables scene. Moses adds “In coming up with the Siginon Aviation air cargo terminal, we have offered our customers a modern facility that takes care of the needs of the exporter, agent and the airline”. The airside terminal boasts of modern facilities, spacious cold rooms comprising of an express cool corridor and free storage for up to 8 hours. “Our excellent cold rooms minimize chances of the breaking cool chain with long hours of exposure.” All the Siginon staff in the handling process are trained and certified by international bodies such as IATA to handle perishable as well as general cargo. Siginon Aviation has been in the market since 1997 in Nairobi’s JKIA airport, since then, the company has grown from strength to strength to its current position as a market leader of air cargo and ground handling in Kenya.

 

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