General News of Monday, 7 December 2015
Struggles have a way of nurturing and preparing people for great exploits, and for the Chairman of the Global Haulage Group Limited (GHGL), Dr Adamu Iddrisu, difficult situations always come with equal opportunities.
Global Haulage is a household name today, but its history dates back to as far back as 1953 in the precincts of a timber market in Accra central that does not exist anymore.
Through perseverance, hard work and focus, and most importantly the grace of God, GHGL is today recognised as a company to reckon with in not just the transport industry but also in many other businesses that are thriving, and as such providing job opportunities for about 12,000 people in direct and indirect labour.
In a space of six decades, the GHGL has metamorphosed from A. A. Iddrisu Company, to Great Grushi Company, and currently, the GHGL. “It was only in 1992 that we changed the name to GHGL”, Dr Adamu stated in an interview.
The Great Grushi Farms, according to him, still exists and it is into pineapple, maize and other cash crops.
How it started
At age 72, Dr Adamu’s memory is very sharp, recalling and recounting in detail how his small- scale sawn timber enterprise in Accra started in the early 1950s. He operated the sawn timber business as a teenager at that time. “If I have to tell you everything, we will not finish today”, he said.
Providence brought him into contact with A.G. Leventis, the predecessor of GNTC, to supply sawn timber products to the multinational company.
He said by dint of hard work and honesty, he sustained that company and managed to win additional contracts to cart goods for A.G. Leventis, cocoa for Ghana Cocoa Marketing Board and fertiliser for the then Ministry of Agriculture.
At this point, Dr Adamu said he started nursing the idea to develop a transport business alongside that of the timber business to provide a holistic service to his clients, which became a reality in 1966 when the A. A. Iddrisu Transport was established.
The Daily Graphic sought to find out more about Dr Adamu after the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) conferred an Honorary Doctorate on him last week Friday at a ceremony at the university’s campus in Kumasi.
“Our rise to the top has been gradual but steady, and we are reaping the benefits.
There has been no turning back ever since”, he stated.
From a modest fleet of 15 vehicles in 1971, the company now owns and runs over 230 trucks daily.
GHGL trucks transport goods from the Tema and Takoradi port to northern Ghana, Mali, Niger and other countries in the West African sub-region.
“When many transport companies left Ghana in 1980 to seek greener pastures in other African countries, we stayed in Ghana to build this brand”, Dr Adamu recalled.
Eleven companies currently form the GHGL and these are the Global Haulage Company Limited, the Royal Bank, Imperial General Insurance, Federated Commodities, Trans Royal Ltd, Cocoa Merchant, Royal Commodities, Isudam Construction and more recently, Global Automobile Limited.
GHGL also has the GG Farms and Global Haulage Real Estate, which is into the construction of warehouses and residential properties.
The Global Haulage Foundation is supporting education, health and sanitation.
“We normally reach out to people who need help, and have been for instance supporting the National Cardiothoracic Centre at Korle-Bu”, Dr Adamu stated.
Meanwhile, the Royal Bank Foundation has also a project running to sink six boreholes in each of the 10 regions this year.
So far, the foundation, according to the Senior Vice-President, Marketing, Research and Corporate Affairs of the Royal Bank, Dr Kwame Baah-Nuakoh, has sunk 42.
“What we have decided to do is to sink the remaining 18 in the Upper East Region this year”, he stated.
Dr Adamu has 23 children, 15 men and eight women. He was born at Old Fadama, a suburb of Accra, near the bubbling Agbogbloshie foodstuff market.
The most recent of his awards was from the KNUST, which conferred an honorary doctorate on him in recognition of his contribution to society. He also received a national award as a member of the Order of the Volta, which is conferred on people who have made significant contribution towards the socio-economic development of the country.
Dr Adamu also received the Millennium Excellence Awards. He was the Greater Accra District Best Farmer in 1986 and the Greater Accra Regional Best Farmer in 1987.
Also to his credit is two awards he received during the Africa International Awards in Tunisia in 1992, and two European Awards- Brussels in 1999 and Spain in 2003.
Dr Adamu observed that for indigenous companies to grow and compete favourably with international ones, the old habit of ‘pull him down’ must give way to that of supporting one another.
“If we don’t stop the habit, we cannot grow.
“I have been growing this business for 62 years. I didn’t get here by accident but people are in a hurry to pull you down so they can rise. It does not work that way. We must support one another”, he stated.