The 2018 incepted air cargo management group is still focusing its business on trade lanes between the Far East, namely China, and the African continent, but has also become increasingly active in other markets, predominantly Europe and The Americas, states Juergen Anwander, the group’s General Manager also responsible for media.
CFG: Mr. Anwander, what motivated you personally to join Aero Africa after holding leading executive positions at diverse multinational logistics companies?
JA: Aero Africa was founded by a group of air cargo professionals with vast experience and extensive knowledge in global aviation and the air freight industry. Due to the accelerated economic growth on the African continent and the increase in logistics activities as well as direct trade with the Far East and other parts of the world, it had become critical to provide the logistics sector with a tailor made and simplified air cargo solution, along with a secure financial transaction platform.
For me personally, it was simply the challenge of building up such an innovative product from day one and being part of this journey.
How does Aero Africa earn money and is the company profitable?
To answer your last point first: Please understand that we do not publish financial data.
Today, our gateway program delivers an end-to-end air cargo solution from key markets to more than 80 destinations across Africa. We provide a comprehensive range of destination services including DAP/DDP/ DDU, remote final mile, and cross border movements, all through a seamless single point of management.
As a neutral service provider, we operate weekly scheduled cargo services into Africa from major airports in Asia and The Americas via our EU, UAE, JNB, and NBO gateways on behalf of our airline, consolidator, and freight forwarder partners. Our product range encompasses scheduled consolidations, last mile deliveries and time critical solutions for industries such as pharmaceuticals, oil & gas, as well as marine and aircraft parts.
Our gateways represent the entry points to both emerging and established markets within Africa. To Nairobi and Johannesburg, we offer customers weekly direct main deck services from the Far East, but also increasingly from Europe, North and South America.
Aero Africa claims to run a network in close cooperation with local partners at more than 80 African airports, offering onforwarding, transits, customs clearance, and final mile delivery options. How do you secure the quality of these services?
By official or unofficial audits on site, feedback from customers on the reliability of their services, exchange of experience on quality issues with other members of our network, and their reliability. Each partner we cooperate with, has to sign a code of conduct containing an anti-bribery clause. Violations are not tolerated.
How did you manage to select such a large number of local African partners within a fairly short time?
Our management team has extensive work experience on the African continent since more than 30 years, so selections were made based on personal experience, existing ties, recommendations made by airlines, GSAs, and friendly forwarders, as well as through personal interviews in combination with site visits.
Of all shipments flown on behalf of Aero Africa, what percentage is accounted for by the trade lane China - Africa, and what share is attributable to the other markets you mentioned?
The sector Far East – Africa still accounts for the lion’s share, amounting to about 80%. However, Europe is coming up strong, particularly regarding special industrial goods of high quality sent by air to Africa. It seems that this is a result both of the superior quality of many items, but also a politically driven issue. Meanwhile, some African countries are openly talking about a new kind of economical offensive, which conversely is leading to a return to semi-traditional political and economic ties with Europe.
Which are your strongest regional markets in Africa?
South Africa is badly hit by Covid-19, resulting in an economic downturn, but still remains our number one.
Egypt is going very strong, so are Morocco, Kenya, and Ghana, as gateways for northern, western and eastern Africa.
Does Aero Africa buy capacity ad hoc, or do you sign purchase agreements with airlines running 6 or even more months?
So far, we have opted for fixed space allocation jointly with our CSAs and consolidation partners at origin, and ad-hoc solutions. However, in mid-August, we will agree on a first own global framework contract with an airline.
And this airline is not a Chinese carrier, but Emirates instead?
I can confirm that it will not be a Chinese carrier, but I ask for your understanding that we will only reveal its name once the deal is inked.
Mr. Anwander, thanks for your time and input.
Interview: Heiner Siegmund
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