RELOAD Logistics and Trading Limited, a wholly-owned Zambian company, has launched a road transport terminal at Kasumbalesa border post in Chililabombwe, at the cost of US$5 million.
The terminal has been constructed to specifically ease transportation and delivery of goods between the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) region and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Reload Logistics specialises in logistics services and trade facilitation at local and international levels.
The company has successfully built the terminal in line with the company's commitment to finding innovative and creative solutions to bridge logistical obstacles and facilitate the trading needs of its customers.
"We bridge the gap between producers and consumers with a range of services that include transportation, warehousing, load management and risk handling of physical products on behalf of our clients according to their precise specifications," the company's managing director, Rubi Sabag says.
The company is focussed on making a difference in areas of customs brokerage, freight management, trade facilitation, warehouse and distribution as evidenced by the investment of $5 million into the Kasumbalesa facility.
This is not all: the company envisages making a further $20 million investment for the construction of similar facilities of strategic importance in the next two years. One of the expected outcomes would be job creation.
Already, the Kasumbalesa terminal which has storage capacity of 40,000 tonnes, has created 140 permanent Jobs and more jobs for Zambians are in the offing with the planned investment.
Addressing journalists on the side-lines of the official launch of the Kasumbalesa terminal recently, Mr Sabag said the facility was designed within the dictates of the London Metal Stock Exchange regarding the storage of metals in transit.
Reload's operations director, Ruud Walgaard commented that the company has identified the health supply chain, agriculture and energy as strategic areas for potential growth for the company. The planned $20 million investment will focus on these areas, he said.
A closer look at the Zambian logistics sector reveals great potential for its capacity to grow and facilitate smooth trade among SADC countries.
Zambia's imports and exports need a well-coordinated logistics system that will handle bulk cargo such as copper which constitutes 80 percent of the country's foreign exchange earnings, as well as cement and sugar.
The rest of the export percentage is shared among agriculture and other non-traditional exports (NTEs).
With Zambia being the main transit point for imports and exports from mainly the Great Lakes region, the recent commissioning of the Reload Logistics Company terminal at Kasumbalesa will play a fundamental role in contributing to the smooth movement of goods within the region.
The trade terminal on the border with Congo DR, with an expected capacity of not less than 500,000 tonnes of cargo per annum, will help to enhance the already booming trade between Zambia and Congo DR.
Congo DR is one of Zambia's largest single trading partners in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) region, commanding not less than $1 billion in trade per annum.
Regarding the SADC regional trade, Zambia has only four percent market share with South Africa taking 72 per cent, Namibia accounts for eight per cent, while the rest share 16 percent.
Government has pledged to support the logistics sector which is also in dire need of better infrastructure to match the country's industrial development agenda.
Copperbelt Minister Mwenya Musenge, who officially opened the Reload Kasumbalesa Terminal, said Government places the logistics sector highly--that was why it has put efforts in the road sector development through financial support to Zambia Railways Limited, the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport and Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport.
"Transport infrastructure capacity must be accompanied with freight logistics reliability, effectiveness and resilience.
The increasingly broad scope of supply chain management and transport now includes warehouse and distribution centre management and transport which should be in place to maintain the efficiency of the production system," he said.
Government understands that an efficient logistics sector will be a significant contributor to the country's gross domestic product (GDP) and Mr Musenge hailed the Reload's vision, especially in engaging Government in the need to set up logistics parks throughout the country.
He said the establishment of the terminal will create jobs for the youths in the region especially with the current obtaining high levels of youth unemployment.
The Chililabombwe terminal is also an important revenue collection point for the Zambian Government and the presence of Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) shows the support such investments require.
Giving highlights of the facility, Reload Logistics finance director Wilfred Mwanza told journalists that the terminal was set up in conjunction with Lafarge which will make extensive use of the terminal.
Lafarge will export a total of 25,000 tonnes of cement per month and will increase the capacity depending on the growing demand.
Mr Mwanza said the terminal, apart from facilitating trade between Zambia and Congo DR, will also help to ease congestion at the border and explained that the more than 250,000 tonnes of cargo to be handled by the terminal does not include cement.
About $5 million has been invested in the terminal and another $20 million will be pumped into the establishment of other terminals at Mpulungu to handle Great Lakes cargo, which includes cement and sugar and Nakonde to cater for the East African bound goods.
"Reload Logistics wants to contribute to the economic development of this country and will remain committed to that fact as this is a Zambian wholly owned company," Mwanza said.
Chairperson of the Board of Directors Chanda Chileshe said Reload Logistics, which is among the top 10 logistics companies in Zambia, will help the country to grow its economy and that, the main aim was to attain the number one logistics company status.
Chileshe said the company has so far created more than 140 permanent jobs and the figure is expected to increase to about 400 in the next two years.
"We want to enhance efficiency and revenue collection for the Government so that we can contribute to the gross domestic product and also improve the livelihood of the Zambian people," Mr Chileshe said.
Lafarge Supply Chain Director Phoebe Musonda said her company will be stocking at least 6,000 tonnes of cement at the terminal at any one time and that Lafarge shall support the operations of the facility. Lafarge cement is already in the terminal at any one time.
"We are going to work with Reload Logistics to deliver cement to DRC and beyond," she said.
Commerce, Trade and Industry Permanent Secretary Siazongo Siakalenge said Reload Logistics has answered the Government call for the private sector to help grow the economy.
"Trade between Zambia and Congo is extremely important because it is the country's single largest trading partner," Mr Siakalenge said.- Feature Courtesy of SUMA SYSTEMS.