Can you provide an overview of Impala Terminals and its presence in Africa?

Impala Terminals, established in 2010 as part of the Trafigura Group, is a global company specializing in multimodal warehouse and logistics services. With a presence in 20 countries and 28 operational sites, Impala Terminals serves both Trafigura and third-party clients. In Africa, we operate warehouses and port terminals in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Zambia, and Tanzania. Our services include handling, storage, and related services for bonded and non-bonded cargoes. We also offer end-to-end delivery and supply chain solutions through our road and rail networks, complemented by ocean container freight forwarding services.

How significant is the mining industry for Impala Terminals in Africa, and what are some emerging demands from the sector?

Approximately 85 to 90% of Impala Terminal’s business in Africa is connected to the mining industry. One notable trend is the adoption of the EPCM (engineering, procurement, and construction management) delivery model in many mines in the Copper Belt. This has led to a shift in logistics procurement. With materials required from different parts of the world for each mine build, there are project cargo opportunities for Impala Terminals to balance import and export flows. Once a mine is operational, we provide import logistics solutions for infrastructure maintenance materials, chemicals used in production, and export services for the mined products. In summary, our services cover the transportation of metals, minerals, chemicals, project cargo, and general cargo using our rail and road-connected terminals and infrastructure located on key trade route intersections.

Initially, our focus in Africa was bridging the logistical gap between smelters, cathode production plants, and the market while providing secure warehouse storage. Our role in the mining industry has evolved in line with its growth. We now handle an influx of capex and project cargo, as well as demand for maintenance products and general equipment. The increase in exports has also created a greater need for our services.

What are the major challenges in freight forwarding operations in Africa?

Regulatory and political uncertainty disrupt the flow of logistics and increase operational risk. Volatile or unclear taxation systems can cause border delays for imports and exports. Additionally, the limited number of entry and exit points into the DRC, in particular, creates bottlenecks in the logistics chain.

Security threats along the supply chain, from the mines to the market, pose ongoing challenges and additional costs to our operations. To effectively manage and mitigate these risks, we continuously adapt and evolve our business practices within the operating environment.

Are there any transnational corridors being developed or improved in Africa?

Over the next year and the following five years, the historic trade export corridor from the DRC through Angola to the port of Lobito will be re-established. Impala Terminals is already transporting cargo along this corridor and has a strong presence in Angola. We are excited about this development as it leverages existing national rail infrastructure, reduces road traffic, and provides an alternative route to market.

What does the future hold for Impala Terminals in Africa?

Our goal is to increase the volume of import tons, aligning our imports with our exports volume. We have the necessary infrastructure, technology, and processes in place to support this goal while maintaining the highest standards of safety and security to remain market leaders.

Impala Terminals has a unique footprint in Africa and is at the forefront of leveraging rail infrastructure. This becomes crucial as export tons from the Copperbelt region increase, exerting pressure on the already burdened road infrastructure. Within the next five years, we aim to diversify our services and cargo types while expanding our geographical footprint. We believe we are on the right track to achieve these objectives.

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