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How logistics firm survived Covid-19

By Wainaina Wambu | June 10th 2021

Heavy machinery loads one of the fourteen containers loaded with primary school laptops at the Siginon yard in Miritini.[Gideon Maundu,Standard]

Logistics and warehousing businesses have emerged as some of the biggest winners during the pandemic.

As businesses move online, those who have logistics networks to deliver goods and services for these businesses stand to reap big. And for a country heavily reliant on imports such as Kenya, a seamless logistics network is integral.

It not only helps all sectors of the economy thrive but ensures the population obtains goods timely and even cheaply.

The string of global lockdowns mostly observed last year to contain the spread of Covid-19 disrupted supply chains leading to a scarcity of goods in Kenya.

Meshack Kipturgo, the Siginon Group managing director notes that Kenya is a net importer which relies heavily on logistics to access global markets in sourcing raw materials and key inputs for their plants.

“When there is a disruption or inefficiencies in cargo movement through our ports, the population bears the costs of these inconveniences through higher cost of goods or shortages of essential items,” he told Shipping and Logistics.

His firm has been expanding to take advantage of the market opportunities with the pandemic providing a glimpse of how businesses will be powered in the future.

How has the pandemic changed the logistics business? Kipturgo notes that digital processes are now more preferred over some of the processes that required the physical movement of documents from point A to B.

“We are investing more in ensuring the safety of our teams, the cargo we handle as well as the vehicle or premises we operate in,” Kipturgo says.

Siginon Group recently expanded its fleet by acquiring 40 additional trucks to meet the growing demand for cargo transportation by road within Kenya and across borders.

They have also relaunched their ramp operations at JKIA. “Our airline partners continue to benefit from having a single service provider catering for their needs on the ramp and in the warehouse,” he said.

The firm offers warehousing services under the Siginon Global Logistics brand. They have floor space of 500,000 square feet in Nairobi, Mombasa and Eldoret. The warehouses are made to offer our customers storage for general, transit, cold and bonded cargo.

“In Mombasa, we offer tea handling services for tea producers across East and Central Africa who auction their tea for onward export. We also provide value addition services such as blending and packaging as services,” Kipturgo says.

He adds that Covid-19 has caused supply chain disruptions but opportunities also lie within these challenges.

Siginon had invested Sh1.1 billion in a cargo terminal at JKIA.

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