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Massive growth in Copperbelt volumes

Freight volumes to and from the Copperbelt are growing almost three times faster than those within South Africa – pointing to stronger growth in Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, says Dhiren Krishna, managing director of Durban-based GSF Trucking.

“As a result, we have allocated 40% of fleet expansion (through new fleet acquisition) over the next three years to Zambia/DRC. We foresee these two countries (particularly the Copperbelt region) making up about 30%-35% of our cross-border capacity,” he told FTW.

There is growth in both export and import volumes to the DRC and Zambia. “We attribute this to economic growth in both countries, with mining and resources driving exports and consumer demand driving imports.”

GSF Trucking currently hauls an average of 1 000 tons per month to Zambia and 450 tons per month to DRC.

 

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The company is investing in the Copperbelt in order to support the growth.

“We now have two designated operations personnel (apart from fleet control) who ensure smooth transit of cargo, including driver rest and fuel stops, border crossings, customer liaison, fleet support (tyres/breakdowns), documentation and the other aspects of multi-country, multiborder operations,” says Krishna.

The company is able to balance its loads. “Our first foray into Zambia was imports of containerised and breakbulk cargo to Lusaka and then to the Zambian Copperbelt, with an unprofitable empty leg back to Zimbabwe, where we already had an established client base, to load back to SA.

“Once we demonstrated our capacity and commitment to the Zambian run to our customers, volumes grew and we began handling exports from Zambia as well.

GSF Trucking is in the process of leasing offices and workshop/ yard space in Zambia, and expects to increase its team to around eight people.

“We have committed R2 million to expansion into the sub-region. We are investing in personnel, two new fleet support vehicles, and tyres and spares stores on our premises, which will include a full administration office,” he says.

This article first appeared in Freight & Trading Weekly magazine in the August 2018 Zambia edition. 

“With an established presence in Zambia and the southern DRC, we are now looking forward to increasing service range by offering refrigerated cargo services, abnormal cargo services and turnkey project management services (vessel to door) to these countries as well,” he says.