Today, Kenya’s import-export ratio is about 75/25 percent. Export figures might be upped a bit if plans of Nairobi-headquartered agent Transonic Logistics Limited are put into practice to launch dedicated express services for the Indian communities living in Kenya and the UK. This ambitious and unparalleled project is expected to commence in the course of this year.
Albanous Nzomo is anything but a loudspeaker. Instead, the Operations Director of agent Transonic prefers to deliver factual information when giving CargoForwarder Global first and exclusive
insights into his company’s project.
All figures are based on a thorough market survey conducted among members of Kenya’s Indian community and business men that revealed an astonishing result: there is a constant and high flow of smaller shipments from the East African State to the UK, predominantly London and the city’s suburban region. The analysis also shows that it’s mainly small items weighing seldom more than 100 kilograms that are sent both - north and southbound. However, handing them over to one of the major globally acting integrators for express delivery is extremely expensive. Sending the shipments as standard air freight is far cheaper but a much slower solution.
Beating the integrator’s product offerings
These were the core market parameters displayed by the analysis Transonic received as a result. “By facing these findings we thought we ought to come up with a special product that’s less expensive compared to the integrator’s charges, but as fast or even faster in terms of running times as their individual express products, absolutely reliable, and tailored to the demand of this specific group of customers,” explains Albanous.
In other words - the focal points of a highly ambitious project were determined.
Although it is still in its initial phase, with a lot of work having to be finalized, the main structure of the upcoming express solution is gaining shape.
Good business for Kenya Airways
These are the core points:
Transonic Logistics will establish drop-off points at Nairobi’s biggest shopping malls where the local Indian community - but other interested clients as well - can deposit their individual shipments bound for London that will be collected by a courier in the late afternoon or early evening. The goods will then be handed over to Kenya Airways that has a 10 p.m. flight each evening leaving to Heathrow. “Even in case some of the goods might miss this specific flight there is a KLM link via Amsterdam early in the morning which we could alternatively utilize,” Albanous notes. “Courier shipments always have priority status,” he emphasizes.
With Kenya Airways negotiations are under way to secure sufficient capacity in the holds of their passenger aircraft. “We are talking of more than one ton per day only on the northbound route,” states the manager, as the survey has shown.
Looking beyond the horizon
Transonic’s plans are even further reaching. “As a matter of fact we plan to purchase motorbikes to pick up smaller consignments at private homes or at specific business locations,” the manager indicates as other tailored solutions.
To guarantee the timely distribution to the consignees in London Transonic intends partnering with local agent Stanford Freight that has an office near Heathrow airport. Both companies belong to the Worldwide Cargo Marketing group (WCM) of mostly middle-sized and family-owned forwarding agents, which was established to form a world spanning network to enable their clients global transport solutions.
Nairobi - London will be the first trade lane for flying consignments from members of Kenya’s large Indian community to their friends, biz partners or relatives living in Britain’s capital. Nairobi - Manchester or Mombasa - London might follow, if all goes well, says Albanous.
Transonic is eager to deepen its European footprint
Without doubt, these courier services will remain being a niche product but could develop into a unique selling point for Transonic Logistics.
So far, the agent’s main fields of biz are customs brokerage, managing transshipments from Kenya to neighboring African states such as Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan, Rwanda or Burundi. Air freight, ocean freight, and customs clearance account for about 30 percent each of the firm’s annual turnover. Most imports managed by Albonous and his team stem from Germany, accounting for 50 percent of all goods handled by the agent. “We get a lot of machines, technical equipment for East African breweries, automotive parts or pharmaceuticals from German enterprises for customs clearance and further domestic or regional distribution,” he states. Even the large Coca Cola plant in Nairobi is equipped with machines coming from German suppliers, he adds. “It’s simply that why we intend to deepen our business relations with their industry,” Mr Nzomo concludes.