Panalpina goes into Africa again

20 / 01 / 2015

Freight forwarder Panalpina has opened new bases in Morocco and Kenya as part of a drive to expand its presence in Africa, a continent in which it was once a dominant player in the oil and gas project sector.

Offices in Casablanca in Morocco and Nairobi, Kenya, and will spearhead a drive for energy and infrastructure business.

Regional chief executive for the Middle East, Africa (MEAC) and CIS, Peter Triebel, said: “Expanding our global presence is part of Panalpina’s overall strategy, especially in growth economies such as Morocco and Kenya. With strong prospects in the two countries, especially in the energy and infrastructure sectors, establishing a formal presence is an important part of our long-term market growth and customer satisfaction objectives.”

However, a Panalpina spokesman ruled out an early return to the important Nigerian market, although there could well be expansion elsewhere. The global forwarder was once a major operator in the country’s oil and gas industry, before it was forced out after becoming enmeshed in a corruption scandal.

He said: “We do not plan a return to Nigeria, but we are indeed looking into opening more offices in countries where we have no own presence so far, especially in the MEAC and APAC regions.”

The new locations will give local customers direct access to Panalpina’s air, ocean and logistics services. Global customers, especially those operating in the energy sector, often require a local presence to achieve integrated, end-to-end solutions.

In Morocco, Panalpina sees opportunities in industries such as energy, automotive, aerospace and healthcare. The country is a local leader in wind power generation and is also investing heavily in solar power, as well as hydro and coal fired power plants. Industrial free trade and logistics zones have brought foreign investment and employment to the north of the country, particularly car manufacturers and their suppliers.

Panalpina’s new managing director in Morocco, Maxime van Geenberghe, also sees Morocco as a springboard for the wider region: “In future the country will serve as a gateway to Mauretania on the West African coast, and to the inland African countries of Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger.”

Meanwhile, the discovery of major oil resources in northern Kenya has brought leading energy companies to the region - Panalpina holds service agreements with many of them - and the new Nairobi office will cater to their growing local requirements.

Managing director for Kenya, Juergen Paliko, says: “Kenya is East Africa’s largest economy and a gateway to the region, especially Uganda and Rwanda. With the Nairobi office in place, Panalpina is now able to take a more focused approach to cultivating local business and also trade lanes from the Middle East and Asia into Kenya.”

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