Value-added services on the rise


While the coronavirus has created an array of unprecedented roadblocks for the freight industry, service providers have risen to the challenge and are adjusting their services to cater for their customers’ changing needs.

“Customers in the bulk sector are increasingly looking for turnkey solutions,” says Dinesh Balgobind of ICA Bulk Logistics.
“High freight rates are causing overall tank rates to increase due to the increased cost of repositioning dedicated empties, which requires flexibility and key relationships.”
Balgobind joined ICA in 2019 to establish the Durban office and grow the chemical and gas sectors in the company with a key focus on chemicals, pressurised gases, and cryogenic gases. He says bulk customers require expertise and experience in the safe global transportation of liquids, chemicals, and gases.

“In recent months, we have seen a huge increase in value-added services, like leasing, static storage, a supervised door-to-door logistics solution, and equipment management as part of the offering. There is also an increased demand for strategic planning and calculation of equipment requirements for new project developments – showing flow charts and utilisation of the product.”

He said the company was currently working on two confidential and innovative projects due to launch over the next few months involving cryogenic gases and a tailormade solution for reducing fuel emissions. “Tank containers offer multimodal and cost benefits, but also a ‘green alternative’, allowing dangerous cargoes to be shipped safely and securely,” said Balgobind. There’s no denying that remaining competitive in the current environment, where

freight rates have skyrocketed and capacity is under pressure, demands a reassessment of traditional thinking. While hopes are high that the current strength in freight rates will see some correction, it is currently one of the biggest challenges facing the industry. “The continuing increase in freight rates is of concern when operating in a global economy,” said managing director Renée Smith “We are seeing some exporters struggling to remain competitive with the higher ocean freight rates on offer.”
The current lack of capacity was unprecedented, she said.

“Despite the availability of good equipment, there are space constraints on outbound vessels. Coupled with dangerous goods acceptance it becomes a challenge,” said Smith.
Dinesh Balgobind

Whilst the past 18 months have been tough for most logistics companies around the world, the ICA team is confident that 2021 will be a better year, bringing new growth.
“We continue to see Africa as a market of remarkable opportunity, and with that in mind, we are constantly increasing our footprint in the industry,” said Smith.

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