‘Low air connectivity hampering courier services’

Charles Brewer, MD, DHL Express, SSACharles Brewer, MD, DHL Express, SSAThe low air connectivity in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has led to a rise in the operational costs of courier services in the region while limiting their growth in the long run, the Managing Director of DHL Express for SSA, Mr Charles Brewer, has observed.

The situation, he said, was further compounded by the infrastructure challenges and pockets of insecurity facing most countries in the region.

“Because the roads and railways are not that good, we are forced to take the goods off the road and put them in the air but that is also difficult because not all the cities are connected. It’s a problem for us but we are finding a way through,” Mr Brewer, who was in the country for the Economist Summit, told the GRAPHIC BUSINESS.

About 12 per cent of SSA’s cities are connected through flights, leaving the majority of towns and communities without air connectivity.

That means that goods from courier service providers like DHL meant for such communities would have to be transported by rail or road, two areas that are also suffering from lack of investments.

DHL Express’ SSA MD told the paper on October 29 that the situation had forced the company to fly over 90 per cent of its cargo by air and that had pushed its operational costs up.

“Our operation in SSA is about six to nine times higher than that of Europe and that is because of some of these challenges,” he added.

Air transport is generally estimated to be about five to seven per cent higher than road and rail.

DHL, which has about 85 retail outlets in the country, operates in about 50 SSA countries and territories with some 18 aircraft.

Its turnover in the region was about £300 million in 2012.

By Maxwell Adombila Akalaare/Graphic Business/Ghana


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