Panalpina acquires its long-time Egyptian agent Afifi
Switzerland-based supply chain solutions provider Panalpina is to acquire its Egyptian agent Afifi, a highly respected family-owned company specialising in freight forwarding, customs clearance and logistics. The move is an important step in Panalpina’s continued strategic expansion in growth economies, in particular in the Middle East and Africa. Afifi has been Panalpina’s agent in Egypt for the last 20 years.
Peter Triebel, Panalpina’s regional CEO for the Middle East, Africa and CIS said: “Egypt has a lot of potential for us. By uniting with our long-standing partner Afifi, we will increase our foothold in this attractive market and lay a strong foundation for growth. Afifi has a solid customer base in Egypt, as well as a strong track record and reputation in local customs brokerage and projects work.”
Since 1995 Panalpina has counted on Afifi as its agent in Egypt for ocean freight, air freight and projects services.
“After 20 years of successful cooperation, we are excited to become a full member of the Panalpina family and part of a truly global network” added Mohamed Afifi Junior, designated Managing Director for Panalpina in Egypt. He said: “The acquisition will not only allow us to substantially increase business in our home market but also across borders, as we will now be able to offer true end-to-end solutions to our international customers.”
Afifi was established in 1936 in Cairo by Mohamed Afifi, Senior, and today employs around 150 staff in offices in Cairo, Alexandria and Suez. It also operates in Port Said East and West through a long-term subcontractor. Afifi will be fully integrated into Panalpina.
The two companies reached a respective agreement on 28 May 2015, under which Panalpina will acquire 100 percent of Afifi, subject to conditions.
Panalpina’s push in Egypt marks the latest milestone in the company’s strategic expansion in emerging economies. “Egypt has a large population and a sizeable middle class, in addition to being the regional base for numerous international companies. Now political reforms are under way to strengthen the economy and improve the investment climate. Add a freight forwarding market that is very fragmented, and we have ample opportunity for growth.” Concluded Triebel.
While all major industries are represented in the country, Panalpina sees the greatest growth potential in the oil and gas, capital projects, telecom, automotive and healthcare sectors. The government has stepped up efforts to encourage the exploration of oil and gas, in particular in the Nile delta. Egypt, with a population of almost 90 million people, is the largest non-OPEC oil producer in Africa and the second-largest dry natural gas producer on the continent.
Egypt also plans to build an international industrial and logistics hub near the Suez Canal in conjunction with the current scheme to dig a second canal that will facilitate two-way traffic of larger ships.
The Panalpina Group is one of the world's leading providers of supply chain solutions. The company combines its core products of Air Freight, Ocean Freight, and Logistics to deliver globally integrated, tailor-made end-to-end solutions. The group operates a global network with some 500 offices in more than 70 countries, and it works with partner companies in a further 90 countries. Panalpina employs over 16,000 people worldwide who deliver a comprehensive service. Fpr more information, please visit: www.panalpina.com
Cainiao Network Launches Customer-Centric Logistics
As the logistics division of the Alibaba Group, Cainiao Smart Logistics Network has decided to provide its Southeast Asian customers with unsurpassed service during its annual shopping festival. Based on customer feedback surveys, the company will expand its real-time customer service support and speed up delivery times. ‘By expanding and deepening our services, we aim to provide a stronger logistics infrastructure that can bolster the booming eCommerce sector, support merchants’ expansion into new markets and diversify retail options for consumers’, said Chris Fan, Head of Cross-Border, Singapore, Cainiao Network.
Who Is Cainiao?
According to TIME Magazine, Cainiao ‘is far from a typical logistics firm’. The company controls an open platform that allows it to collaborate with 3,000 logistics partners and 3 million couriers. This means that merchants can choose the least expensive and most efficient shipping options, based on Cainiao’s real-time logistics analytics. The company’s goal is to ship packages anywhere in the world in under 72 hours—and for less than US$3.00.
For countless small business owners around the world, from coffee-growers to textile-weavers, this could change everything. Usually, it costs about US$100 to ship a DHL envelope from Shanghai to London in five days. Cainiao aims to change that. Said its CEO Wan Lin: ‘The biggest barrier to globalisation is logistics’.
What’s Part of the Upgrade?
Throughout the Tmall festival, Cainiao’s logistics upgrade will be divided into four critical segments:
- Real-time customer service support. Cainiao has launched a direct WhatsApp channel for customers to receive logistics updates and ask questions.
- Expansion of air freight parcel size and weight limits. Packages can now be up to 30 kilograms or 1-metre x 1.6 meters to help ship large items such as furniture.
- Daily air and sea freight connections. Shipping frequency will almost double to seven times weekly to maintain resilience and efficiency.
- Compensation for lost or damaged packages. Customers will be reimbursed up to RMB 2,000 (US$311).
Where is the Company Headed?
From June 1st to June 20th, the finale of Tmall, Cainiao will ensure that its customers feel confident in the company’s ability to deliver their packages. Despite global shipping delays due to COVID, the show will go on. Said Fan: ‘This series of customer-centric logistics upgrades reaffirms our goal of pursuing value-added services to enhance customers’ shopping experience while mitigating challenges posed by external factors’.
Furthermore, Cainiao has recently expanded its Southeast Asian operations, achieving revenue growth of 68% year-over-year. In Malaysia, the logistics operation has partnered with BEST Inc. and Yunda; in Singapore, the company has partnered with Roadbull, Park & Parcel, and the Singapore Post. And if its recent measures help retain and grow its customer base, the company will be well-poised to lead the industry in resilient and customer-centric global logistics. ‘COVID-19 made everyone realise how important the logistics infrastructure backbone is’, said Wan. ‘And it gave us a peek at what Cainiao should look like in three years’.